Cleo Capital’s Sarah Kunst launches a fellowship for laid-off workers

Sarah Kunst graduated from college in 2008 and went straight into the luxury marketing world with a job at Chanel. Then, the stock market collapsed and Kunst was laid off. It was that layoff, Kunst says, that brought her to the world of startups and eventually to founding her own firm, Cleo Capital, to invest…

Cleo Capital’s Sarah Kunst launches a fellowship for laid-off workers

Sarah Kunst graduated from college in 2008 and went straight into the luxury marketing world with a job at Chanel.
Then, the stock market collapsed and Kunst was laid off. It was that layoff, Kunst says, that brought her to the world of startups and eventually to founding her own firm, Cleo Capital, to invest in diverse founders.
“Without the recession, I would probably still be at Chanel,” Kunst said. “Cleo wouldn’t exist.”
Silver linings amid a layoff is exactly the thesis of Kunst’s newest effort: a six-week fellowship, called Chrysalis, for anyone who has faced job cuts as a result of COVID-19. Kunst wants to bring together smart people that have been laid off from top companies.
The program will include a speaker series on topics like how to pitch, structure a cap table and plan for a fundraise. Participants will be put into a Slack group to communicate between each other across disciplines, there will be video chat sessions and the program will end with a peer presentation day.
And maybe by the end, the next big recession-born company will be born as a result.
“It’s time to build [but] you’re not giving me tools to build,” Kunst said, referring to famed investor Marc Andressen’s recent blog post.
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