Applications for the Summer 2021 Founder Fellowship cohort are closed. Follow us on Medium and on Twitter @southpkcommons for details on future cohort applications!

South Park Commons is a self-organizing community of tinkerers and technologists united around a shared ethos of intentional exploration since 2015. At the beginning of 2021, we began an experiment that grew out of what we’ve learned together: what if we invested in startup founders before they’d settled on an idea? We’d find a cohort of promising soon-to-be founders, give them $400k in funding and the mentorship they need to validate a market and iterate on…

Last month we were lucky enough to sit down with civic hacker and Taiwan’s Digital Minister Audrey Tang to talk about her career in government and about using tech, communication, and governance innovations to improve democracy. Audrey is Taiwan’s youngest cabinet minister and the first openly transgender minister in the world and has led large open source projects and consulted for organizations including Apple and the Wikimedia Foundation.

In the spirit of transparency we are posting the full transcript of the conversation below. The overarching topics are (a system that has been used by Taiwan through Tang’s ministry to…

Submitted by Ashlee Flagg

As Women’s History Month comes to a close, we would like to take a moment to reflect on the women who have influenced South Park Commons, and how the women in our community are shaping the world.

For background, SPC was started by Ruchi Sanghvi, the first female engineer at Facebook. After co-founding a startup, and then leading operations at Dropbox, she decided to spend some time exploring what to do next. In search of camaraderie, she convened a group of peers known informally as “Ruchi’s Kitchen” (named after the place where they’d meet). …

Submitted by Noah MacCallum

Gloria Lin is the CEO of Siteline, was previously head of product at Flipboard and a product manager at Stripe, and is an alumnus of South Park Commons. In the process of starting her company, she developed and hardened a set of best practices to find the right cofounder. They’re detailed in this article on First Round, and it’s a must-read for any future entrepreneurs who might be looking for cofounders. She kindly joined a roundtable with the SPC community to take us through her own process finding “the one” and answer some of our questions.

Before Cofounder Dating

Submitted by Rachel Morelli

Last month, South Park Commons community hosted Figma CEO and cofounder Dylan Field for a virtual fireside chat. In this conversation, Dylan walked us through Figma’s inception, building into a growing design market, and what it was like staying in stealth for years. Read on for snippets from the fireside chat at South Park Commons.

Dylan Field is the CEO / Co-founder of Figma, a design and prototyping platform for teams who build products together. With the support of the Thiel Fellowship, Dylan dropped out of Brown University to start Figma with his TA Evan Wallace…

Submitted by Noah MacCallum

The following post is a summary of the key points from the talk, and has been edited for brevity and clarity.


Dr. Sue Desmond-Hellmann has had a spectacular career impacting human health. Previously she was the CEO of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the (first female) Chancellor of UCSF, and President of product development at Genentech. She completed her training as an oncologist at UCSF, and aspires to decrease suffering and enhance people’s ability to enjoy their life. …

To help founders during the -1 to 0 phase of building a company, we announced the South Park Commons Founder Fellowship program in December 2020. Today we are proud to announce our inaugural class of 16 Fellows.

SPC Fellows receive $400K upfront in exchange for 7% of their company. Teams will take 6–18 months to pick ideas, validate them and raise an institutional seed round. While this is the first SPC Fellowship batch, we have worked with hundreds of founders as part of South Park Commons.

Nearly 1,000 founders applied from over 20 countries. We were amazed and humbled by…

Submitted by Caroline Ingeborn

Many members at SPC are in the midst of starting something new. It is a daunting and exhilarating experience. It is also a lonely experience, which is where the SPC community comes in. Last month’s fireside chat was special as our guest is not only a successful startup founder but also a SPC alum. Ben Brook is the co-founder of Transcend. Founded in 2016 Transcend helps companies give their users control over their data. Their infrastructure allows companies to automatically fulfill access and consent changes across every data system and vendor.

What followed was an intimate…

Submitted by Julian Gay and Ashlee Flagg

Simon describes himself as a “jack of all trades, master of none”. As a co-creator of the Django web framework, Simon has a long history of open source projects with frequent forays into side projects that are both fun and inspiring.

After his company, Lanyrd (YC W11), was acquired in 2013, he served a six year term at Eventbrite in engineering management. Although he remained “hands-on”, his leadership responsibilities precluded him being on the critical path of getting anything shipped, so he channelled his creative energies into side projects. The first notable project…

Submitted by The SPC Founder Fellowship Team

Applications for the SPC Founder Fellowship are currently closed. Follow us on Medium and on Twitter @southpkcommons for details on future cohort applications!

South Park Commons is a community of builders and tinkerers that encourage each other to embrace the unknown and experiment with new ideas. In the spirit of experimenting with new ideas, the SPC Fund team collaborated with current SPC members Avichal Garg and Curtis Spencer on a new way to help founders navigate the -1 to 0 stage of building a venture-backed company. This culminated in Avichal creating the “Startup…

South Park Commons

A learning community that helps technical people share ideas and explore new directions.

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