Recess Labs


A curated community of high-potential people in tech exploring early-stage ideas and career transitions.

What is Recess Labs?


We bring high-potential individuals together to explore ideas, find collaborators, and figure out their next career move amidst high optionality.

We've found that certain best practices can make the difference between starting a company and never shipping a prototype, between finding your dream job and taking an unfulfilling role.

To support our members during their liminal phase, we organize weekly coworking jams, workshops, retreats, and an online community. We also surface and share under-the-radar opportunities with our community (Chief of Staff roles, etc.).

Are you an awesome engineer, designer, entrepreneur, or product person who is contemplating a transition or working on early-stage personal projects? You should join us.

Why join Recess Labs?

We're to support you in a number of ways as you make your next move:

Coworking Jams

We get together weekly in NYC to cowork and share a meal. These jams are a great place to find collaborators, and provide regular connection and support when you're working on your own ideas full-time.

Retreats

Often, the hardest part of a sabbatical is deciding which direction to explore. We organize regular retreats to share philosophical best practices, help you reflect on your vocation, and move forward amidst high-optionality.

Opportunity

We stay connected to top up-and-coming companies and share interesting job opportunities with our community, the kinds of roles that you won't see on Angelist or LinkedIn. Even if you're trying to start a company, it's nice to have a backup plan.

Alumni

We have a strong alumni network of individuals who came through Recess during a transition and are now making their mark on the world. People have started started companies, raised money, built non-profits, written novels, and more. (see past fellows)

Our Philosophy

We encourage Recess Fellow to adopt a set of guiding principles that we have found to be useful when working on early stage creative projects. Here are a few of them:

  • Build things you personally want.
  • Work on things you can personally build.
  • Put out a "first draft" as soon as possible.
  • Be prolific -- do lots of work.

We're heavily inspired by the ideas of Paul Graham, Richard Feynman, Fred Wilson, David Heinemeier Hansson, Recurse Center, Entrepreneurs First, and the MIT Media Lab.

Who are we looking for?

Fellows come from a wide range of backgrounds, and in the past have included exited founders, former employees of big tech companies, and early employees of successful startups.

Overall, we're looking for people who:

  • Are on the cutting edge of their field.
  • Are working full-time on their own ideas or are looking to leave their company in the near future.
  • Have a track record of making things people want.

What do we mean by a track record of making things people want? It could mean a startup, a side project, an open source project, a blog, or even an art project. Basically, anything you created or worked on that found traction with real-world users.

Application Flow

If you feel like you might be a fit for the Recess Labs community, we encourage you to apply here.

After reviewing your application, if we think it's a fit, we'll set up an interview to get to know you a bit better or may invite you to come check out one of our coworking jams in-person.

Once accepted, you'll be able to participate in our coworking jams, retreats, workshops, and online platform, as well as nominate others to join the community.


Past Fellows


Blake Embrey


Blake is a Javascript engineer from Australia. He writes a lot of open source software, which you can find on Github.

Steph Weiner


Steph spent the last few years working for Bain Ventures. She is now working on LuxLab, an experiential jewelry brand.

Dan Shipper


Dan founded a company called Firefly, which was acquired by Pegasystems in 2014. He's currently exploring new creative projects.

Ali Afridi


Ali worked as an analyst and EIR at Lightbank, an early stage VC and startup studio. He's currently taking time off to explore new ideas.

Ashoat Tevosyan


Ashoat is a former Facebook engineer who spends his time building things in React and playing with LEDs. He also handles bookkeeping for HelioHost, a non-profit free web hosting service.

Danny Crichton


Danny is a former VC at CRV and General Catalyst, and is currently a columnist at TechCrunch. At Recess, he explored new models for business growth, media, and infrastructure finance.

Jessica Lee


Jessica has a background in engineering and formerly worked at Stripe. She is exploring open source software, writing, and photography, teaching coding at The Coding Space, and contributing to a political platform startup.

Lane Rettig


Lane worked as a software developer before studying at Wharton and co-founding Seratis, acquired in 2016. After a yearlong sabbatical, he’s now working on CryptoNYC.

Eric Peckham


Eric worked at edtech startup 2U Inc, private equity firm adventur.es, and a venture firm called Arena Ventures. He now invests through his own company and is working on a media-related project.

Hursh Agarwal


Hursh was the co-founder and CTO of Branch, acquired by Facebook in 2014, and worked as a tech lead at Facebook. He’s now exploring side projects and next steps.

Sibjeet Mahapatra


Sib worked on the New Ventures team at Redfin, a Greylock-backed startup. He is currently working on new ideas, including Recess Labs.

Casey Rosengren


Casey is the founder of Hacker Paradise and once ran a meditation / coworking space in Soho. He's currently working on new ideas, including Recess Labs.

FAQ

How do I apply?
Great question! You can apply here.

Where is Recess Labs?
Recess Labs is based in New York City.

Do I need to be in NYC to participate?
For the most part, you need to be either based in NYC or join us for one of our retreats. At some point we may open up the community to remote participants. If you're interested in participating remotely or bringing a Recess chapter to your city, please let us know here.

When is Recess Labs?
While we used to operate a 3-month, cohort-based program, Recess Labs currently operates as an ongoing community based in NYC. Coworking jams happen weekly, and retreats happen several times a year.

I have a full-time job. Can I still join?
If you've given notice at your job or are planning to make a move in the next 6 months, you're welcome to apply. If you'd be interested in a more regular nights & weekends program, please let us know.

How does Recess Labs make money?
Right now, we don't. More on this soon :)

How long can I participate in the community?
Membership is continuous, though we may occasionally "graduate" people who are no longer a fit or have become disruptive in some way.

Have there been any significant outcomes from Recess?
Yep! We've had people start companies, raise significant capital, break into VC, leave VC for ops, write novels, start podcasts, and go on all sorts of adventures.

How can I contact you?
Shoot us an e-mail and we're happy to answer any other questions you might have.

How can I stay in the loop?
You can sign up for our semi-regular newsletter right here:

Subscribe to our mailing list

Contact Us

hi@recesslabs.com