Menlo Fellowship

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Where great minds come together to start great companies.

Menlo Fellows are a group of the best and brightest leaders from across the nation—all unified by a common goal: to be a driving force of change in the world. New companies are uniquely suited to effect change at scale, and our Menlo Fellowship provides multiple formats—in-person meet-ups, virtual forums, and office hours—for dreamers and doers to connect and cultivate the next generation of industry-shaping ventures.

Menlo Fellows can stay involved for up to one year. During that time, some Fellows will start new companies, some will join forces with other Fellows or startups in our Menlo portfolio, and others will pursue entirely different opportunities.

The Menlo Fellowship also offers a path into our Menlo Labs program to be considered for full Pre-Seed funding (averaging $2.25M).

The only requirement: Be ALL IN.

At Menlo, we go ALL IN for our founders and fellows. This means supporting you and standing by you through breakthroughs and dead-ends, highs and lows, questions and concerns.

We ask—and expect—Menlo Fellows to be ALL IN with us and support each other from every angle. This means participating in meetups, engaging on Slack, sharing knowledge in your specialized fields, and drawing on the expertise of your peers and the broader Menlo team as you refine your thinking on a new venture.

There are no strings attached. We designed the Menlo Fellowship to provide top talent with the unique ability to explore breakthrough ideas without needing to make any commitments or quit their day job. But we look for leaders who are serious about starting, advancing, or joining a new venture.

Fellow Spotlights

  • Tamara Berg spent 10+ years as a tenured AI professor focused on computer vision and NLP. She founded a company developing AI for online shopping that was acquired by Meta in 2019. At Meta, Tamara started, grew, and led the AI for Commerce pillar.
  • Jason Symons is on the engineering leadership team at Samsara. He is a 2x founder (PerkSpy, Therachat). His experience spans across EdTech, Healthcare, IOT, Mobile/Consumer Platforms, and AdTech.
  • Milan Thakor has co-founded two businesses in the health and wellness spaces: Jasper Health, a digital care navigation platform, and Unwind, a marketplace for home wellness practitioners backed by YC and acquired in 2015.
  • Emuye Reynolds began her career at Apple and led product and engineering organizations at companies ranging from early to growth stages. Most recently, she was the Head of Engineering at Superhuman.
  • James Cross was most recently VP of Product Strategy at Workday. Prior to this, he was a founding team member at MediaCore, a video-learning startup that was acquired by Workday in 2015.

Fellowship Benefits

Explore startup opportunities, meet potential co-founders, and build relationships with fellow entrepreneurs, experienced builders, industry experts, and top VCs.

The Fellowship provides:

  • Networking: connections to seasoned founders, experienced builders, subject matter experts, and the broader Menlo network
  • Meetups: quarterly gatherings, including at our SF and Menlo Park offices
  • Virtual forums: community-led small group discussions to explore topics of interest and foster support and accountability
  • Office hours: feedback on early ideas, approach, business model and competitive landscape
  • Webinars: invitations to Menlo’s portfolio programming to learn from domain experts
  • Path to funding: opportunity for full pre-seed funding on backable ideas

This Fellowship is overseen by Michelle Aguinis and the team at Menlo Labs.
 

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About Menlo Labs

Menlo Labs is a startup studio within Menlo Ventures that works directly with high-potential founders to incubate startups and position them to be scalable, profitable businesses.

Select Fellows have the opportunity to enter the Menlo Labs program and go through a bespoke process that gives both the founder(s) and Menlo team strong conviction that there is a big opportunity worthy of pursuit. Menlo Labs provides an upfront investment along with the Labs team’s hands-on support to identify, define, vet and begin to execute against an opportunity for full Pre-Seed funding (averaging $2.25M).
 

Menlo Labs process

FAQ

  1. Who should apply to the Menlo Fellowship?

    Those who are ready and eager to explore new, breakthrough company opportunities—a leader who can make valuable contributions to a founding team and who will actively engage over the next 12 months. Our Fellows are star performers with an average of 10 years of operational experience in a technical, product, business, or domain expert role.

  2. What is the application process?

    All candidates must submit an online application and go through two to three interviews with the Menlo team to be considered for the Fellowship. Applications are accepted and reviewed on a rolling basis throughout the year.

  3. What is the time commitment?

    Up to five hours per month. Everything is optional, and you don’t need to quit your day job or studies, but we look for founders who are serious about engaging with the group and willing to commit a few hours of their time per month.

  4. Can I apply if I don’t have an idea?

    Yes!

  5. Can I apply if I already have a company?

    You likely won’t be a good fit for the Fellowship. If you have a company but still consider yourself in the early exploration stage, feel free to apply.

  6. Is there a path to getting funded through the Fellowship?

    Yes. We fund Fellows who bring forward opportunities that fit within our areas of expertise as a firm and that have the potential to be category leaders.

  7. Do I need to be in person for the Fellowship?

    No. Our offices are located in the Bay Area, but our Fellows are based nationwide and are mostly remote. Virtual coffee chats are common among Fellows, and we offer online programming throughout the year. Once a quarter, we host in-person gatherings in major U.S. cities for those who can make it, and Fellows will often organize their own local meetups.

  8. What is the difference between the Menlo Fellowship program and the Menlo Labs EIR program?

    Each program caters to different stages and needs for entrepreneurs. The Menlo Labs EIR program is geared towards individuals who are ready to start building a new business, offering more direct and intensive support, including capital, to develop their ideas into scalable businesses. The Menlo Fellowship is a more exploratory and networking-oriented program, designed for individuals who are contemplating starting or joining a new company but are not yet ready to commit fully. If you’re interested in learning more about the Menlo Labs EIR program, you can find information here: https://menlovc.com/menlo-labs-entrepreneur-in-residence/

Are you ready to be a Menlo Fellow?

Apply now