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Seneca Advance: Call for Startups

Written by Melissa Moore of Seneca VC

Over the weekend I re-read my friend Samala’s fantastic blog post,“Distance-Traveled: a New Diligence Framework for Entrepreneurs and Their Phenomenal Capacity”.

TLDR; Talent is universal, but opportunity is not.

In the post, Samala and her co-founder talk about measuring a founder’s potential not only by how much they’ve achieved, but how far they’ve traveled to get there. They recommend starting with three questions:

  • What has the founder earned and built, beyond what they inherited?

  • What challenges and circumstances have they overcome?

  • What net value have they produced?

They say: The larger the distance traveled, the larger the grit, persistence, leadership, empathy, stress tolerance and resourcefulness that’s expected of top performing founders. These are the ingredients every VC wants to see when they ask, “Does this founder have the extraordinary capacity to execute?”

Seneca Advance

At Seneca VC, we want to identify founders who have traveled great distances and equip them with the resources they need to take their dreams even further.

We’re pleased to announce the launch of Seneca Advance, an all-remote, 8-week training program that takes on some of the hardest questions early stage entrepreneurs face — like how to build enduring products, evaluate the addressable market, and sell your vision. The program leverages our team's incredible network and unique experience in teaching and practicing Lean Startup.

Last week, we announced our first round of speakers at Founders + Funders and our mission at Seneca VC. The positive response from the community blew us away. We heard you loud and clear, and we’re more inspired than ever to provide hands-on support to the next generation of changemakers.

Led by Seneca VC’s Janice Fraser, we’re offering Seneca Advance to all qualifying founders by application basis for a small fee. The program is different from other accelerators in that it is purposefully designed for inclusion and equity. We’re committed to at least 50% women in our cohort and guest speakers.

The curriculum tackles not only the lessons needed for product building, but also the interpersonal work needed to become a great founder:

  • Lean Startup Basics: Assumptions & Experiments

  • The Psychology of Confidence

  • Influence Mapping

  • Persuasive Communication

  • Market Sizing

  • Momentum & Traction

This is a remote class, and we accept founders from all locations. However, note that classes will be held Fridays 10-11:30am PT via Zoom, starting on Friday, May 3. Applications are due at midnight on Monday, April 29, and the cohort will be announced on May 1.

As an added bonus, founders in our pilot cohort get the unique opportunity to present to a roomful of investors and fellow founders during our Startup Showcase at Founders + Funders in San Francisco.

We encourage you to apply if you’re:

  • Preseed or seed stage

  • Working on your startup full-time and have at least one full-time co-founder or teammate.

  • Committed to showing up, with video turned on, for 90 minutes per week, Fridays from 10-11:30am PST, May 3-June 28. Total time commitment per week is ~4 hours for 8 weeks.

  • A woman, person of color, LGBTQI+, or identify as part of another historically marginalized community (straight, white men also accepted, of course).


We will select six startup teams, and we’d like to hear from you. Apply here by midnight Monday, April 29: https://senecavc.typeform.com/to/KSSK9l

Seneca VC