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Tech layoffs: ‘We have to support re-education,’ Day One Ventures founder say

Day One Ventures Founder and General Partner Masha Bucher joins Yahoo Finance Live to discuss her mission to rescue workers across the tech sector that have been laid off, the inspiration behind her business, and the outlook for tech.

Video Transcript


STEVE JOBS: I didn't see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again-- less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.

RACHELLE AKUFO: Steve Jobs there on how he felt after he was fired from Apple there. And obviously, we see what he went on to do. So of course, while layoff announcements continue to ripple through the tech industry, a positive trend is also gaining momentum. Laid-off workers from the likes of Google, Microsoft, and Amazon have been sharing their frustration and their resumes online. Now, while focusing on their next job, their tech experience also opens the door beyond big tech firms.

Where could they all go? Our next guest believes that many of these laid off tech workers will go to start their own successful companies. That's why our venture capital firm Day One launched the "Funded, Not Fired" program, which aims to invest $100,000 into 20 new startups that each have a founder who has been recently laid off. Joining us now is the lady herself, Masha Bucher, founder of Day One Ventures. Good to have you on the show, Masha. Obviously, a very stressful time for a lot of people who have been laid off here. What are some of the opportunities that you think they can take from their jobs now as they shift into entrepreneurship?

MASHA BUCHER: Thank you so much. I think it's definitely a difficult time. And I was in a situation myself a few years ago when I was laid off in the past. After being laid off actually twice, I started my first and second company. Day One is the third venture that I started. And looking back, I just realized that it was one of the most creative periods of my life.

And I also realized I would definitely back myself then if I had a chance. And right now, we have $250 billion of cash that we have raised and sit on-- maybe already more-- and we have 250,000 workers that's right now free and on the market and that got laid off from tech. And I was just thinking, it's an amazing opportunity. And at least 0.1-- or 0.05%-- of this type of talent would make it into good commerce, because they land a job in a very competitive industry, very competitive markets, gained a lot of experience, and definitely have ideas to start a company.

That's what inspired our program. And I think as you laid off, one pathway you could take is starting a new business, because it might not be an opportunity like that later in your life.

- Well, Marsha, where do you think these laid-off employees who may want to start their own companies will tend to go? Will they go to similar opportunities, where they're trying to build their own app? Will they go and try to build the next great subscription service? Is there any idea of where they may end up flowing?

MASHA BUCHER: It's a great question. And I think-- as you think about new company, you should think about problems that would still be around and would be difficult to solve in 10, 20 years from now. And I think climate is one of the sectors. We live in the middle of a major climate catastrophe in Earth's history and human history that we know about.

And I think solving this problem as urgently as possible is really important. I think there are other industries. For example, AI is a really quickly-moving industry. I think we only see the top of an iceberg. And I think it's going to be lots of demands on different sort of generative AI, vertical AI, and lots of applicants can tap into it. And I think there are other exciting industries.

I'm personally excited about biotech and opportunities that can rise there on intersection of new technologies like AI and existing science. Or, for example, there is a future of reproduction. And I think this area going to change in the next few years. So as you think about what to start, I would really ask people to think about what could be the next big thing, and not settle down with midsize and small opportunities.

- So all of those sound like they're for the good of humanity-- climate change, biotech-- AI, as long as it's done well. What about the metaverse? That was something that everybody kept talking about for months and months and months. And now it doesn't seem like that's being spoken about very often. Do we see people trying to move into there because they still think it's hot, or do they go into the climate sciences, the AI, the biotech?

MASHA BUCHER: Well, I think metaverse is definitely exciting. And there are lots of really solid teams that keeps building in metaverse. I think intersection of-- I think metaverse, in a way, being existing-- I think intersection of gaming and metaverse is the most organic and natural use right now. The way I think about metaverse-- I don't think we have to rush anywhere. We build this world that surrounds us for so many centuries, and we expect to build metaverse that we want to live in within a few months.

It would be nice to think about it. I don't expect it to take centuries, but I do think it's going to go through so many iterations before there is a point that people are willing to spend time there. And I think there is a huge amount of creative talent-- not only technologists, but artists-- excited about this opportunity. And I think it's definitely one of few. But there is another thing-- AI and layoffs, right?

And I think lots of companies might be laying off people because I understand how AI will replace unproductive workers. And on the one hand, it sounds really bad. And on the other hand, I think it's of course that we're not going to be able to stop. And I think there is only two ways how we can deal with it. I think one way is definitely supporting new companies and entrepreneurship. And on the other hand, I think we have to support education and re-education.

Because I think the next area you can just-- where you can do next big thing-- is education and modern education. And I don't think there is enough companies that can absorb all this talent and give new career opportunities for people with jobs stop existing.

RACHELLE AKUFO: Suddenly, obviously, a much wider gate here now for jobs of the future when you bring in things like Web3 and the metaverse. We'll have to leave it there, unfortunately. Masha Bucher, thank you so much. Founder of Day One ventures.