Special Projects


We are seeking motivated and skilled individuals to work with us on special projects during Spring 2014. You'll work closely with us (Chris, Stanford CS, and Matt, Founder of Totality Corporation).

About Matt

Matt Mochary, the founding partner of Focus.vc, raised $125mm of venture capital for his first company, Totality Corporation, where he was Chairman and co-founder.

Matt then travelled the world for many years, made two feature-length documentaries, one of which (Favela Rising), was shortlisted for an Academy Award and won the Tribeca Film Festival. 


Our projects fall under a few categories:

  • Research on what makes founders tick.
  • Research on how to perform better as a future/current founder.
  • Events for founders/engineers/investors (such as open office hours, fireside chats, hackathons, etc)
  • Research on problems to discover industries/problems around which companies could potentially be founded
  • Building tools as an engineer in residence

Research: What Makes Founders Tick

  • Founder research. Interested in what makes founders successful?
    • You will contact and meet with a number of early employees at successful startups (Dropbox, Snapchat, Airbnb, etc). Attempt to discover identifying characteristics of great founders by talking to these early employees. Suggestions of places to start: Mark Zuckerberg [1], Evan Spiegel [1] [2], Drew Houston [1] [2] [3], Nathan Blecharczyk and the Airbnb team [1], Sergey Brin [1]
  • Stanford Entrepreneur Data. Want to know what makes Stanford students tick?
    • Interview promising founders from Stanford. Ask them about their upbringing and discover unique commonalities between Stanford founders.

Research: How to Perform Better as a Current/Future Founder

  • Research on advice for young founders and engineers.
    • Interview investors and founders.
    • Ask them their advice for young founders, specifically Stanford students.
    • What books do they recommend?
    • What projects should people build?
    • etc.
  • Deadpool interviews. Interested in why companies fail?
    • Interview failed companies and collect their advice for the entrepreneurs that follow them.
  • The Stanford Startup Majors. Want to discover awesome startup classes at Stanford?
    • Research and publish a collection of Stanford classes for: Founders (in general), with specific tracks for CEO (hustler/seller), CTO (cs with a bit of design), and CPO (Chief Product Officer/designer)

Research: Discovering Compelling Problems

  • Customer development for API based startups. Interested in building an API driven startup like BlockScore.com?
    • Use Chris and Matt's networks to interview a number of Y Combinator companies and discover their pain points where they wish they could replace old software with APIs.
    • The discoveries here will be used to lead groups interested in creating API driven companies. If a company is formed for this, you will have the possibility of being an advisor to the company.
  • Run Open Customer Development panels at Stanford. Interested in discovering problems in industries?
    • Invite small business owners to Stanford along themed events for open customer development panels.
    • Interview the business owners in a fireside-style chat, while also accepting questions from the audience.
    • Writeups of the sessions will be posted online.
  • Run a customer development blog series. Interested in discovering problems in industries?
    • Email and interview a number of companies about their problems that they want to pay to solve.
    • Get taught how to conduct effective customer development calls.
    • Get your name on our blog.
    • Meet and talk to a number of high level individuals within companies.
  • Bitcoin Company Needfinding Research
    • Interested in bitcoin, and want to discover what opportunities lie in the market?
    • We will guide you on researching the opportunities present in the bitcoin space, as well as future promising applications for bitcoin.
    • When this research is shared, you'll be a primary point of contact for anyone who makes use of it - and therefore likely to be able to be involved in some capacity in whatever is created as a result.

Events To Meet Founders/Engineers/Investors/etc

  • Founder Summer. Want to run a number of events for Stanford founders in the 2014 summer?
    • We will provide all the resources you need.
    • You get to build your name as the organizer/promoter of a number of events, along with Focus.vc.
    • Things like Investor Panels, Company Panels, Sports Activities, Food events, etc, all for founders living in the Bay Area in the 2014 Summer
  • On campus Open Office Hours. Want to meet a bunch of investors?
    • Run weekly open office hours on campus for students to talk to investors in a small group setting (at Coho for example).
    • Promote the events to ensure attendance of motivated students.
    • Guaranteed investor attendance (Matt will be there!)
  • Run Hackathons. Interested in running hackathons and meeting developers?
    • Use our office space in Menlo Park on Sand Hill Road to run weekend hackathons.
    • Make the hackathons themed. Some suggested themes include bitcoin.
  • Meeting facilitator. Want to network with founders and see how to help companies?
    • Help us run our company peer group meetings. 
    • We will share with you materials from Jennifer Aaker's GSB class, Designing (for) Happiness, which teaches how to create a great customer experience. You'll get full control in applying these lessons to our meetings.
  • Summer Housing. Want housing over the summer?
    • We have a proven method for getting 8 person houses for the summer.
    • Want housing yourself? Help us scale our housing method, and we will guarantee to save a spot in one of the houses for you, at market rent.

Other Research

  • Optimal allocation research. Interested in how to make the world more optimal, starting with the Valley?
    • Interview a number of investors, founders and engineers.
    • Source their recommendations for the most efficient use of time for different groups of people:
      • Employees at big companies like Google, Facebook, etc
      • Stanford students interested in starting companies
      • Founders of companies that aren't growing extremely fast
      • Developers at startups that aren't growing extremely fast
  • Future research. Want to explore the future of the tech world? 
    • Research the patent portfolios of the big tech companies, research the hype cycles and technology trend reports, and make your own collections and predictions.
    • Produce reports that will be spread highly on the internet and amongst labs interested in developing products.
    • Get credited for the work and also the opportunity to work with the people who find the work useful.

For Developers

  • Web app consulting. Want to get paid?
    • We are working with an individual who is creating a research lab for companies. He needs many small prototypes built. If you can design/build small web apps, you'll be paid handsomely and have the chance to lead projects for his research lab.
  • StartupSearch.com. Want to help categorize and collect startups?
    • We want to create a search tool for B2B startups. A user will enter in their software category, and the site will return a list of software in that category, along with reviews of the software pulled from sites like twitter or Quora.
  • Engineer in Residence for Focus.vc
    • We develop software to help the companies we work with. For example, we are currently building a tool to help portfolio companies run their meetings more efficiently.
    • If you'd like to build tools for us, the chances are close to 100% that we will want to hire you full time!
    • Additionally, we have other projects (like better meeting scheduling tools) that we would love to use, pay for, and also potentially invest in if the company takes off.
  • Stanford CS Advice Blog. Want to meet developers?
    • We will teach you how to get meetings with experienced engineers at awesome companies.
    • You will then meet those people, interview them about their advice for Stanford Engineers (i.e. what classes should they take, what books should they read, etc.)
  • Programming Tutorials For Bitcoin. Want to learn to develop in Bitcoin?
    • We will lead you in creating specific beginner focused tutorials and guides for the bitcoin programming community.
    • There's a significant opportunity to be established as a thought leader by producing these tutorials. See: [1]


Spring, 2014


Stanford University students.


We will work this out on a case by case basis based on what will motivate you most. Some ideas:

  • Mentorship by Matt and a lunch with Matt every 3 weeks
  • Guaranteed acceptance into an 8-person Startup House for Summer 2014 (market rate rent)
  • Guaranteed acceptance into a future product-market fit Stanford group
  • Money
  • Any introductions to people from our network


Stanford University


Work on highly interesting projects with the ability to work closely with an extremely interesting and impressive individual (Matt Mochary).

Why from our perspective? These projects help bring Focus.vc exposure and useful information. Additionally, we want to build more relationships with really interesting people so that we may invest down the road.

Research: What Makes Founders Tick - Help us Discover The Next Sergey.

Research: What Makes Founders Tick - Help us Discover The Next Sergey.

Enter Your Email If Interested