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Ryvin Summary


We are on a mission to unlock the potential of young adults who can positively impact the world.
We are doing this by creating a supportive residency program, in-real-life (IRL) on a college campus.

Our Target Audience

18-22 year olds who are curious, self-aware, and ambitious.

What they have done

taught themselves a skill they desired (ex: coding at 12, reading every book on entrepreneurship)

What they want

to grow their network
develop their skills
build a legacy

Their Current Best Option

The self motivated learners are currently working online in digital communities where they find their peers. They don’t have a strong IRL, community of friends.
To get that IRL community, many turn to college. It provides status, learning opportunities, and a network of great connections.

The Problems with College

We’ll spare you the time by only highlighting 3 of college’s problems. See more of the problems with college and other alternatives in .
Students spend 4 of their most creative and energetic years learning information that may never be useful and solving problems whose solution has no real world value.
Students go to college in hopes of getting a high paying job, yet almost half of college graduates end up in jobs that DO NOT REQUIRE their degree. []
When someone enters college, their chances of experiencing depression increase by a factor of 5! [,
College has a cost that the majority of its user’s cannot afford []. We are reimagining the college experience, because we know we can do better for young adults.

Possible Solutions

Many recognize the problems with college education and have created alternative experiences.
The Thiel Fellowship which provides young adults status and access to a great network, but it fails to provide an enjoyable experience with a community. Belonging is lost.
Bloom Institute of Technology (formerly Lambda Schools) guarantees a job or else the education is free, but fails to provide freedom for exploration and an IRL community.
See more that aim to disrupt college.

The Solution

We are creating the Ryvin Residency.
The Ryvin Residency offers up to 4 years of support to ambitious young adults who have the potential to positively impact the world.
We remove financial concerns and strict requirements that hinder curiosity.
We leverage online educational content, peers, and mentors for residents to learn.
We provide community, mentors, and a structure to learn ANYTHING efficiently.
We leverage online educational content and learning frameworks produced by experts to guide residents. And we leverage college campuses to provide our residents with an amazing experience and network.
Our goal is for our graduates to be able to accomplish any goal that they set for themselves. To achieve this, we focus on teaching residents how to learn anything.

How residents learn

We believe that education should be personalized, not one to many. We believe learning should be driven by excitement, not grades. We achieve these by allowing residents to set their own goals (ex: learning physics, or building a website with react).
We believe that learning is best done when working on real world problems, not through lectures. We achieve this by requiring that resident’s goals have a “tangible outcome” (ex: a written blog, or a published website). experiential learning.
something about peer learning / no teachers / mentors. / no money

To hold residents accountable

Residents have weekly check-ins with their coach who can drop them from the program at any time if they are not making meaningful progress on their goals. A coach is also used to help residents self reflect and make better decisions.

To credential residents

All residents are required to have an online portfolio. This is where they display progress on their goals. A portfolio is a stronger signal of the abilities of an individual compared to a GPA. This is a new trend [].

Our first year

So with Ryvin, we are leveraging the college community by providing our residents with housing on a college campus. Specifically on UC Berkley’s campus for our first cohort in fall 2023. Eventually, we will have houses on every major college campus in the world!
Venture Years is the startup that will finally disrupt college education. We are starting by creating a university for aspiring founders. You can imagine it as a 4 year-long, travel-based version of Y-Combinator.
To make a huge return on our investments, we must attract, select, and grow the most talented high school graduates.
We are attractive for 3 primary reasons. 1) Our fellows get paid for 4 years 💸 2) they spend one year traveling the world and 3 years living on a college campus 🌏 and 3) they get to enjoy the experience with at least 23 likeminded peers 🤝.
We select the most talented by evaluating applicants on their potential, not their pitch. We look for people who are driven, curious, and collaborative. See for more traits that demonstrate potential.
We will grow the most talented into exceptional founders using weekly 1-1 coaching sessions. A coach's job is to fill knowledge gaps, provide a structure for decision making, and to hold individuals accountable.

More Detail

Next we will go into more detail about why we pay our students, how we get our students work on real world problems day 1, and how we’ve designed our program so that the most self sufficient and adventurous individuals choose us over college.

Paid Experience

We pay our students to partake in our program. To understand why, we must talk about our business model. We take a portion of our student’s future wealth. Bloom Institute (formerly Lambda Schools) targets individuals who are likely to end up with high paying tech jobs. We are first targeting individuals who are likely to build billion dollar companies. Just a few successful students will pay for the program for hundreds. To build a billion dollar company, our students need capital, hence we pay for our students’ food, housing, and travel, in addition to a yearly salary. Once we have enough successful entrepreneurs go through Venture Years, we will begin serving all types of motivated individuals.
With this business model, our incentives are aligned with our students. We make money when they make money.
We have 10% equity in any company they start.

Solving Real World Problems

Our students begin working on real world problems day 1.
If the student has a startup idea, they work on that immediately.
If the student does not have an idea, they work on one of our ideas. Much like a venture studio.
If the student does not feel they have enough experience to start a company, we match them with a
that is working on a topic of interest to the student.
The prominence of DAOs has created a HUGE NEW OPPORTUNITY for work and education. An opportunity that will easily allow us to educate thousands! To work for many DAOs, one does not need a degree nor do they even need to APPLY. For many DAOs, anyone in the world can start working for them. Most DAOs even have an “onboarding team” whose job is to help new members learn how to contribute value. This essentially allows us to market that we have GUARANTEED JOB PLACEMENT. We believe that project based learning is the most effective form of learning. Thanks to companies like Coursera, Kahn academy, and Youtube. Students can learn anything from the world’s best teachers when the student needs to use that knowledge.

Desirable Experience

Bloom Institute, Coursera, and the Thiel Fellowship have all tried to disrupt college education, yet still 16 million students a year attend college in the US alone. These “college alternatives” are missing an obvious element. College is a fun experience they are all missing is an obvious element. People go to school not just to learn and work on interesting problems, but to have fun!
To make the experience fun, we piggyback on the college experience. We provide free housing for our students on a college campus with other students in our program. They still get the college experience.
To make our program more enticing than college we offer travel experiences. Our user interviews have confirmed that virtually all young adults REALLY want to travel!
In the first 3 years of Venture Years we provide 3 international trips that last 2 weeks long. Each trip is centered around a conference or hackathon so that they can network and build while experiencing a new culture.
In the 4th year, students live in 3 different countries for 3 months at a time.
Why travel the world?
Because the most ambitious high school graduates that we have talked to want to travel the world. We think that offering travel gives us a competitive advantage in attracting the best talent.
By only attracting individuals that are excited about travel, we are excluding those who are fearful of something that has a low percentage of risk, for those who have no desire to experience something beyond their current culture, and for those who have an ideal life already and probably would not be internally motivated enough to create a significant impact on changing the world.
We think living in other cultures makes you a better communicator, and it widens your perspective making you more creative and empathetic. All great skills for anyone to develop. Plus international travel has proven health benefits [].
Having a global perspective will make it easier for them to scale their companies globally.

Why Now

There are 3 major trends that make now the perfect time for Venture Years.
Web3 is giving everyone the ability to easily work for companies and build their own company.
Social media has made everyone want to travel. Now more than ever, young people want what we are offering.
Covid has made everyone question the value of college. Now is the perfect time for an alternative to take its place.

Screen Shot 2022-07-27 at 11.09.40 AM.png

Portfolios replacing resumes & degrees, DAOs replacing traditional companies, and free online classes at the college level are making now the perfect time for something to disrupt higher education.
A 4 year long accelerator is an inevitable future because people want it, and it will be profitable. We want to be the ones to create that future and with your investment, we will be the first to make it happen. We see no blocker to scaling Venture Years to serve millions. We have experiences and business models in mind to serve all types of high school students, not just the talented and entrepreneurially minded.

Where We are Now

We started June 1st 2022 (almost full time by June 16th), and so far have been designing the program specifics, talking with users, and forming the team. From our user research so far, we are confident we will be able to attract talented individuals. We are continuing user research to ensure that the first iteration of Venture Years is exactly what today's 18 year old wants. We are raising $850k so that we can sign up 24 talented individuals who will start their venture years next fall (2023). We could bootstrap this, but with VC money, potential students have more confidence in joining our brand new program. The money will be spent on traveling to hackathons where we plan to meet our first 24 individuals and to pay our team (2 founders + part time designer & legal advisor). Next year, we will raise $6.4 million to run Venture Years for 24 fellows. $200k of the $850k we are raising this year allows us to pilot a smaller version of the program in case we are unable to raise the $6.4 million. YC has significantly more than 10x-ed their investments (~30x by 2015, and ~50x by 2021)[,
]. I see no reason why we cannot achieve comparable returns. We want you as an investor because with your credibility, it will make it significantly easier to convince potential students to trust us and join our program.

Your Questions Answered

Why this team?
Currently it is just me, Nick Linck, working full time on this project. I am actively recruiting a friend to join who makes up for my lack of story telling and persuasion abilities. To see other roles and who I am looking to fill them with, look here →.
I’m obsessed with this idea.
I have a lot of ideas that I want to work on and not enough time or resources to actually do it. I see creating venture years as the most efficient way to bring these ideas to life. At Venture Years we will have a “new company ideas” list for fellows to view for inspiration. I’m populating this list with my favorite ideas, and with ideas from anyone else involved in this project if the ideas are well thought out. I think our fellows will assemble teams to bring, at least some of these ideas, to life.
I think Venture Years will be the number one life path choice for a large percentage of high school graduates. We will have the power to shape the way a large percentage of society grows! I am personally excited to shape people to becoming more openminded, curious, and patient. This would be a mark that I’d be super happy to leave on the world.
I am so confident that this company will be successful, bringing me wealth and influence, which I both strongly desire for the following reasons.
I want to be wealthy because I have two sisters and money is their number one problem. I dream of the day of being able to buy both of them the house of their dreams and setting aside enough money for their retirement.
I want to have influence because I have two loving parents whose biggest complaints in life are always about politics, they can’t change it to their liking. I do not want to experience this same pain. If I believe in something that I think should change, I want the people who can change it to hear it without me needing to put in any more effort than sending out a tweet.
My overarching life goal is to make people happy. Our target market experiences depression 4-6 times more frequently than the average person!! I know our program will create a less stressful path for anyone to achieve their dreams so I cannot wait to bring it to so many of them.
I love entrepreneurship.
And have for a long time: I remember being in 4th grade, sitting at the dinning room table with my dad and asking “did you want to be a billionaire when you were little?”. I was shocked when he responded no. How could anyone not want to be like Steve Jobs or Bill Gates?
In college I started off freshman year helping teach entrepreneurs how to do customer discovery effectively. For all 4 years I was active in an entrepreneurship club and took several entrepreneurship classes.
I cofounded a company during college and worked part time at a startup after college.
I am friends with at least one VC in San Francisco, New York, Miami, and LA which I can leverage to give our fellows intros to investors.
In college, starting a company was never the focus for me, I wish it had been though. Giving others the ability to focus on starting a company during the years they would normally spend sitting in lectures is part of what motivates me to create Venture Years.
I love to travel and co-live.
Adventure and new things have always excited me. I have been to over 20 countries, have participated in a study abroad experience through my college, a “Remote Year” work experience with 30+ strangers, and for the last two years I have been living as a digital nomad. I know how to avoid bad travel experiences and make great one. Creating an amazing travel experience that our fellows will tell everyone they know about, is second nature for me. I have co-lived many times and I know what needs to go right to make it and enjoyable experience for all, and yes, a weekly maid is ESSENTIAL to happy housemates!
I love machines.
I studied computer science in college so that I would have the skills required to build a web app for whatever company I’d one day start. Rather than building web apps in school, I fell in love with machine learning. Machine learning made me realize that AGI will exist one day, which fascinates me for 2 reasons. 1) Understanding why we humans do what we do has always captured so much of my attention. Now whenever I think of how to create AGI, I have interesting revelations about human thought and behavior which brings me joy. 2) I believe AGI will make the world so much better in so many ways so I cannot wait till it exists. This love for machines has given me the technical know-how to build every piece of software required for this project. More interestingly, it has given me the mindset to design a framework that will automate away most of the work required to run Venture Years and that will allow our fellow’s to automate away most of the work required to run their future businesses.
I know coaching.
I took a several month program on “how to coach” where I took classes, read a book, watched coaching sessions, and actually coached individuals. The coaching mentality sticks with me when helping friends work through issues because I know how powerful it can be to get individuals to solve their own problems. Understanding this method of “teaching” is essential in order to provide our fellows with a learning experience that is arguably a better than the learning experience in college.
I regret my time spent at college.
I lived with 7 of my closest friends in college. We could have built an amazing company in college if that was a priority for all of us, but it wasn’t, getting a degree was. I feel like my years of studying in college could have been much more efficiently used to get me to “better spot” in my career. I know that we can make the “college years” a much more efficient time in life to get people to where they want to go.

How we got here
Hello! Currently it is just me, Nick Linck who is brining Venture Years to life. I DO want a cofounder but I haven’t found the right one yet. Here is the story that lead me to building Venture Years.
After 3 great years at IBM Research, I decided to go on my own so that I could stop building for storage administrators and start building for people I could relate to.
On my own, I set out to build a startup that would fight against disinformation. There were 3 significant events that shifted my focus to building Venture Years, a company to disrupt college education.
I learned about DAOs. Decentralized Autonomous Organizations have the potential to redefine company structures and to facilitate online collaboration in novel ways. Specific to education, I learned DAOs could be used to teach people from real world experience. In many DAOs I joined, anyone can participate and there is an onboarding team dedicated to teaching new members. This got me thinking about creating a startup that would provide a new online curriculum for college education that leverages DAOs to offer interesting real world work experience right after college.
I experienced firsthand the highs and lows of a founder. At a low I reflected on what my ideal environment is to startup a company. I realized it was living and building with my friends. In college I was living with my friends, but we were never building together. I became angry that my college environment made it difficult for me and my friends to spend time build together. Almost useless classes consumed our time. This got me thinking about a new startup that would create a “Gap Year” program where college students live and build together while traveling the world.
I learned how valuable it is to invest in others. Late May 2022, a friend told me he wants to start a new form of education by giving 18 year olds a $250k salary for 10-20 years. He would make a return by investing in startups they build. Curiosity led me to spend two days doing financial modeling and thinking about the feasibility of what he described. I was convinced it could work. This transformed the way I thought about the business model for my ideas related to higher education. This made me realize that aspiring founders should be the first students to target.
June 1st 2022 is when all of the ideas started to come together into what we are calling Venture Years.
June 10th I stopped building 1 startup, June 16th I stopped helping out another. I still work part time at a third startup exploring ways for researchers to collaborate more effectively using web3 technology. This experience is important because DeSci () poses to disrupt the academic research industry, an industry essential to higher education.
Since June 16th my primary focus has been Venture years. I have spent conducting user research, brainstorming, making business model decisions, working with potential cofounders, designing the brand, and putting together the pitch to raise funds.

What are our users saying?
They hate college and LOVE this idea. See

Why now?

Who are our competitors?
Universities, accelerators, and employment, see for specific instances of each.
See for why each of these alternatives are flawed.

What do we know that no one else seems to?
High school graduates can be capable founders, especially when given time, money, and guidance.

What is the market size?
Total Addressable Market: In the US, 4 million students per year go to college [].
Serviceable Available Market: 2.4 million US college students per year who want to be entrepreneurs [].
Serviceable Obtainable Market: 240k per year if we get 10% of the market.

How does this scale?
Our 3 primary bottle necks are: capital, real estate, and coaches. Plenty of capital should be flowing after our investments have liquidated. Beautiful real estate beautiful properties are simple to find thanks to sites like Airbnb and apartments.com. Quality coaches are easy to train using the GROW coaching framework.
We aim to automate anything that doesn’t require a human connection. See for more details.

How do we know our fellows will build hugely successful companies?
We don’t. But we share with all students our list of “new company ideas” which is currently curated by us. Once we have investors and advisors, they too can add ideas to the list that they want to bring to life but do not currently have the time for. The list will be ranked by highest potential valuation and lowest risk during execution. We also think that including the next 3-10 steps on what should be done next in order to execute on that idea would be useful to helping the fellows get started testing the biggest assumptions and figuring out the hardest problems of the startup first. This would also likely result in a lower chance of failure.
The “new company ideas” list motivates us to work on Venture Years because we have a lot of ideas and not enough time to bring them all to life.
We will collect their productivity data so that we can better identify habits and working styles that lead to more productive individuals.
We provide them with a coach who brings experience and who’s goal is to teach the students how to learn and overcome anything.

Why 4 years?
It is important that the program is more than 1 year, because then we get applicants who are serious about devoting their life to entrepreneurship.
The more time we have with students, the more time they have to build, fail, learn, and be developed into successful founders.
5 years or more is psychologically a long commitment which some talented individuals would not commit to.

Why 18-22 year olds?
It will be easier to convince the most talented individuals to join our program if we reach them before they have a degree. Talented individuals without a degree have fewer options than talented individuals with a degree.
Talented people can create value at any age. Proof: the creators of Facebook, Dell Computers, and Firefox were all teenagers.

Why 5-15% equity per company?
Our business model is to take 5% of our fellow’s future worth since we are investing ~500k over 5 years into them. Additionally we invest 1 million a year for 10% equity into our top performers. This is why we have a range of equity. After some user research, even 15% is okay with users. We want to be on the low end for equity so that we are the most desirable option to aspiring founders.

What is our moat?
Many can win at this game, but we will be the most sought after program and therefore get our choosing of the most talented individuals. Why will our brand will reign supreme?
Prestige: We will be known as the most selective, meaning we have the best talent. Our audience wants to be surrounded by the best talent so they will pick us over competitors if we can deliver on this message.
Trust: We will be the first with this model which allows us to advertise that we are the most experienced and can therefore offer program that delivers.
Quality: The detail we will put into our experiences will be superb. As Airbnb’s clone : quality matters. I am VERY particular about what is needed in a space for people to be comfortable, especially when traveling. Most Airbnbs have several inconveniences. Every Venture Year house will be perfectly fitted. Having nomaded, co-lived, and experienced the life of luxury (ex: yacht in St. Tropez, estate in Hawaii, events in NY, ...), I have learned what a top notch experience feels like. I will iterate on details that create the most optimal experience for our fellows. 99% of competitors will fail to match the detail we put into our program.
Community: That includes alumni, coaches, advisors, and investors. We need to get the best talent first so that any other competitor seems of low quality compared to us.
Real Estate: We will be scooping up the most desirable properties on the most prestigious college campuses before competitors can get to them.
We will make it easy and desirable for competitors to join us rather than compete with us. We see no problem in scaling Venture Years if we have more capital, real estate, and coaches. If someone wants to mimic our program, they will need these three resources. On our website, we will make it easy for individuals to give us these three things in exchange for a portion of the equity in the students they are able to help support.

Who can I talk to about this??
Nick Linck → | | |

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