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Discipulus Ventures guides young founders to revitalize Norman Rockwell’s vision for America

Dozens of accelerator programs are run every year with the goal of identifying and nurturing founders at the earliest stages of building a company. Only a small minority looks for founders who clearly align with certain values—let alone traditional conservative values ​​like family, patriotism, and faith.

Discipulus Ventures launched its first 10-person team yesterday, is a special exception. Mentorship programs for young founders are interested in bringing together a rather special group of people, at least in the tech world: people with a Platonic idealism and an Aristotelian rationalism, and a strong drive to revive the Norman Rockwellian Americana.

The team will no longer be building B2B SaaS companies, but instead will be working on solving problems related to hard technology, defense or industry – sometimes broadly referred to as “American Vitality”.

The program’s website makes this clear, calling on student founders to have a “rigorous commitment to truth and goodness” and a vision for the future that combines “their entrepreneurial spirit, personal virtue and obligation to our country.” The emphasis on values ​​stems from the belief among the program’s three founders that young people are not committed to solving some of the toughest problems facing the country—reshoring manufacturing or providing sufficient clean energy to the grid—because their Values ​​are worth mentioning. Push them toward a mission-driven company for longer.

In a recent interview, Discipulus co-founder Jakob Diepenbrock noted Recent poll conducted by The Wall Street Journal and NORC, a nonpartisan research organization The study found that Americans’ values ​​such as patriotism, religion and procreation have declined sharply since the late 1990s. While these priorities have declined, making money has increased.

He and his two co-founders, Discipulus Chief Operating Officer Isaac Yi and Entrepreneur-in-Residence William Pan, said they have seen these values ​​firsthand on some of China’s top university campuses Reflected in , students are flocking to entrepreneurship as a means to realize their dreams. Purpose: Make a lot of money quickly or integrate into your peers. (According to Diepenbrock’s LinkedIn information, he will graduate from high school in 2022.)

“A lot of people were starting companies; we realized it wasn’t for the right reasons,” he said. “It’s a popular thing today. You go to school and start some social media company or some ‘Uber for X’ type company because that’s what’s popular and what everyone else is doing.”

He said the problem is compounded by widespread restrictions on the types of thinking and speech on college campuses: In essence, students are increasingly afraid to speak their minds, let alone speak out what matters most to them. Important things.

“You can’t say what’s important, you can’t say what you think is right, and that’s obviously not going to be beneficial if you want to address these issues,” he said. “You can’t solve them if you can’t even talk about them.”

And so, a year ago, Discipulus was born. The cohort runs from March 25 to 29, with an average day combining community building, lectures, and opportunities to work with mentors. Workout in the gym at 6am each day, followed by time with mentors including a16z’s Katherine Boyle; Josh Manchester, GP at Champion Hill; Michael Gibson, 1517 Fund General Partner; and Augustus Doricko, founder of terraforming company Rainmaker, and plenty of work hours. The week will end with a demo day in front of a group of investors.

“mean or median [age] Probably 21, 22 years old, no real network, know something about financing, something about going into the market – very sharp, but certainly haven’t done it before, and there’s a lot they can do in Manchester in recent times “We learn from each other as much as from the consultants who are helping,” said in an interview. “They gain a network and a deeper understanding of their project and whether they should continue to pursue it or move on to something else. .”

The program takes place in El Segundo, California, a city southwest of Los Angeles that is home to major aerospace companies such as Boeing and Northrop Grumman. The city has gained a reputation in recent months as a breeding ground for a new breed of hard tech founders, the kind that are very similar to the type Discipulus is trying to attract. Much of the “Gundo” scenario was clarified (at least on the Internet) in February, when the seven-member team — Peter Bowman-Davis, Anish Goel, Simon Pastor, Michael Gutierrez, Tommy Tietjen, Nathaniel Salander and Rasmus Dey Meyer — A defense technology hackathon was organized there. At least for a while, social media site🇺🇸/acc” takes its place.

Discipulus was born long before the Gundo scene came alive online, and the program seems to be tapping into the energy there – or rather, aiming to cultivate it.

In some ways, Discipulus looks no different than other hard tech events. On the one hand, it’s very masculine, with a larger-than-life American flag hanging from the ceiling to remove any confusion about what country you might be in. But looking closer, one can see striking differences: Perhaps most of the attention was paid to mentors, like Galvanick co-founder Joshua Steinman, who brought their young children to the talk ( Valar Atomics founder Isaiah Taylor, a Discipulus instructor, did the same thing when speaking) He took his daughter to a hackathon in February).

It’s a small thing, but it’s walking the pro-birth path, so to speak. And it doesn’t apologize for it.

This story has been updated to include the names of seven people who organized a defense technology hackathon in El Segundo in February.

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