What do used clothes and floundering start-ups have in common? Two Silicon Valley entrepreneurs believe they both deserve a second chance.
Twice, an online marketplace to buy and sell secondhand clothing, announced Monday that it plans to launch Restart Fund-–a $1 million fund that will be used to acquire a promising Y Combinator, 500 Startups, or TechStars team (or a “similary well-qualified team”).
Co-founders Calvin Young and Noah Ready-Campbell started Twice after leaving Google, but not before experiencing a start-up failure--specifically with their micropayment business. They had burned through their initial capital and were accepted into Y Combinator but decided instead to consult their investors. They went on to start Twice, which closed a $4 million Series A round in August led by IA Ventures.
The duo knows what it’s like to have a promising idea that doesn’t come to fruition after receiving initial funding. They say Restart Fund is meant to celebrate the talented men and women they’ve seen go through top-tier start-up incubators, yet fail to receive substantial funding later on.
“We’ve already been contacted by three or four companies that are doing similar things to Twice and want to get involved,” Ready-Campbell told Inc. “The main goal is to get great designers and engineers to join our team.”
The name of Restart Fund is admittedly a play on Start Fund--the fund that provides every Y Combinator start-up $150,000 in capital upon graduation. Ready-Campball says the name is “more of a joke” than a stab at Y Combinator. He says that the best of the best attend the program, which might explain why Twice is using its fund as more of a recruiting strategy.
“Given the current state of Silicon Valley’s hiring environment, it’s a super smart move for Twice to acquire a talented team with proven execution ability but whose own products haven't found traction,” Elad Gil, founder of Mixer Labs, former Twitter VP, and Twice investor said in a release.
While certain specifics on the fund are still being ironed out, the Restart Fund site says that the $1 million will be awarded to the chosen team as a mix of cash and equity. The site assures “you’ll be able to buy a car on day one.”
Hopefully it won’t be a used one.