Twice, a secondhand clothing marketplace with $4 million in funding, has come up with a creative way to hire new talent. The company is now putting up $1 million to acquire any Y Combinator, 500 Startups or TechStars company, or any similarly qualified team. Twice is calling this hiring initiative the “Restart Fund,” a tongue-in-cheek play on “Start Fund,” the joint venture that currently provides $150,000 to every graduating YC startup.
The $1 million is coming out of the $4 million Twice raised in August, but will be a mixture of cash and equity, explains CEO Noah Ready-Campbell.
With this initiative, the company is hoping to capitalize on what’s known as the Series A crunch – that is, because of the glut of startups raising seed and angel funding, some are now struggling to raise a Series A round. But Twice is also hoping to take advantage of a more common problem startups face: the majority of these companies simply fail. Failing doesn’t mean that the founders weren’t talented. However, it does mean there are many folks out there who may need to gain some additional experience before trying again.
“The best way to learn about starting a company is starting one yourself, but that will only take you so far if things don’t work out,” says Ready-Campbell. “The second best way, or maybe even the best way, is to join a company and have a very hands-on role. I think the people we see who are interested in [Restart Fund] will come at it from that perspective,” he adds.
In terms of the candidates themselves, while those from YC, TechStars and 500 Startups are specifically being sought after, that’s not to say that Twice won’t consider founders who didn’t participate in these accelerator programs. “We’re looking for very strong technical founders, that’s the main thing,” explains Ready-Campbell. “People who have executed well, shipped an impressive product, but for whatever reason haven’t been able to take their company in the direction they initially wanted to.” Interest in e-commerce and transactional businesses is also of interest, and he notes that Twice is a Python shop. This doesn’t necessarily disqualify candidates, though – it’s probably more of a wish list for the ideal team.
Ready-Campbell also says he realizes that by hiring entrepreneurs, there’s a good chance that the new hires will eventually want to go out again on their own at some point – and that’s OK. But the mechanics of the deal, while not exactly set in stone yet, will see the options vesting over some number of years, as is standard, in order to keep the hires around for at least a little while.
So why entrepreneurs, given their itch to leave? “We’ve seen a pattern in the people that we’ve found who were really good – a lot of time they have an entrepreneurial background,” says Ready-Campbell. He says he expects to hire at least three, probably two engineers and a designer through Restart Fund. The offer will only be available until year-end, or until the hires are made, whichever comes first.
“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,” said Elad Gil, founder of Mixer Labs, former Twitter VP, and Twice investor, in a statement released today.
Twice has set up a special email for the candidates, firstname.lastname@example.org, which is live now.