We believe there are thousands (maybe millions!) of potentially great founders around the world who don't have the resources or opportunities to take the leap to start companies. We scour the Internet to find those people, bring them into our community of 150+ founders, help them incorporate, put them through a 1-month accelerator program, introduce them to experts in their field, and much more.
To become a Pioneer, applicants must win the Pioneer Tournament, an ongoing competition where participants submit progress updates every Sunday, exchange feedback, and vote on each other's progress. The top scorers are reviewed by a Pioneer Expert every week, and a select few are chosen to become Pioneers.
First 2 photos below are from the last time we flew 25 Pioneers to SF!
In less than 2 years since launching, we've funded 150+ founders from 40+ countries. Our Pioneers have gone on to raise from Y Combinator, General Catalyst, Village Global, and many more VCs & angel investors.
Our founder Daniel Gross was a director at Apple via the acquisition of his previous company Cue, and a partner at Y Combinator. We're a small team of 3 full-time, supported by an amazing team of part-time contributors and experts.
We're funded by Stripe & Marc Andreessen, and plan to fundraise more as we grow.
Our engineering team is just one person so far! Our other 2 teammates are also technical, and we plan to maintain a strong engineering culture as we grow.
Our most important technical challenge is figuring out how great an early founder may go on to be, with very little human input. This isn't just for evaluating players in the Pioneer Tournament — it's for scouring the Internet, attempting to find interesting projects.
Another technical challenge is figuring out how to match people that might have a strong connection. We've introduced co-founders, friends, even folks who've gone on to invest in each other's companies. How can we do this at scale?
That said, the most important problems for us right now aren't purely technical. We're looking for an engineer who's excited to think through product & growth problems as well. How do you find brilliant people who aren't in any mainstream network? How do you help motivate them to become the best version of themselves? How do you balance the tradeoff between lower retention and asking people to give us more information so we can make better decisions?
Make the Pioneer Tournament as motivating and engaging as possible. We view Pioneer not just as a startup accelerator, but as a startup generator, and the Pioneer Tournament is a big part of that. It's helped thousands of people outside of places like SF & NYC take their crazy ideas a bit more seriously.
Figure out how to turn Frontier (https://frontier.pioneer.app/) into a vibrant discussion forum for people making progress on ambitious projects anywhere in the world. If successful, it'll be both a powerful growth channel to find new Pioneers, as well as an engaging forum for participants in the Pioneer Tournament.
Build an engine that automatically finds interesting projects on the Internet and invites them to the Pioneer Tournament.
We value autonomy over consensus, speed over correctness, and being different & experimental. If given the choice between a known good and a project that has a small chance of being wildly successful, we'll pick the latter. We're data-driven on our high-level numbers, but trust our instincts. We care more about output than setting rules.
Interested in this company?
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