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Gap Year 2020

Jul 14, 2020

This morning, we launched our gap year investment program, which was covered by Protocol, Forbes, Business Insider, and The New York Times.

Apply here to get up to $100,000 to take a gap year and start a company instead.


The founding principle of Contrary is that most important technology companies — from Google to Snapchat to StitchFix — were started at universities.

However, this year’s pandemic has significantly impacted founders and their ability to raise capital, find collaborators, and access mentorship. This presents the problem: if you can't meet people on campus, how are you supposed to find a brilliant co-founder, access capital and mentorship, or spend time heads-down building?

65% of students we surveyed are either considering a leave of absence or have already committed to taking a gap year. Yet the unfortunate reality is that most people can't afford to just take a year off and sit this out.

That's why we’ve decided to invest up to $100,000* in up to 5 companies who choose to build rather than pay high prices for online classes.

Contrary's gap year investment program will support members like any other portfolio company: with connections to operators who have scaled companies from zero to thousands of employees, a diverse network of potential hires, and tactical advice from our investment team.

We have no industry preferences and are also interested in funding international students, irrespective of visa status. A large portion of our portfolio companies were started by immigrants, and we don’t want physical location to get in the way of a startup.

The only requirements are that teams commit to working on their company full-time from September through spring of 2021, and that at least one member of the team is taking a gap year to build the company (undergrad/grad students and dropouts are welcome).

Teams can apply by filling out the application here.

All applications are due by 8/31, and are considered on a rolling basis. If you have any other questions, don't hesitate to reach out at [email protected].


* We’ll invest in companies through a standard SAFE (no discount, no MFN clauses), on a generous valuation depending on your level of progress such as number of users or technical milestones achieved.