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 coworking jams, workshops, and retreats, and an online community.

Are you an awesome engineer, founder, VC, or designer who is contemplating a transition or working on early-stage 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 regularly 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.


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.


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.


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 previously worked at Bain Ventures. She is now an investor at FirstMark Capital.

Hursh Agarwal

Hursh was the co-founder of Branch, acquired by Facebook in 2014. He went on to co-found The Browser Company.

Dan Shipper

Dan previously founded Firefly, which was acquired in 2014. He went on to found Every.

Ashoat Tevosyan

Ashoat is a former Facebook engineer who went on to found Comm, an E2E encryption startup.

Danny Crichton

Danny is a former VC and went on to become Managing Editor at TechCrunch. Now, he runs editorial at Lux Capital.

Jessica Lee

Jessica formerly worked at Stripe and went on to found Increment, a startup working on automation and training in manufacturing.

Ali Afridi

Ali worked as an analyst and EIR at Lightbank, and went on to become a Principal at Equal Ventures before founding his own company.

Sibjeet Mahapatra

Sib worked on the New Ventures team at Redfin. He went on to cofound Branch ($10M raised).

He is a co-creator of Recess Labs.

Casey Rosengren

Casey founded Hacker Paradise and now works as an executive coach and writes for Every.

He is a co-creator of Recess Labs.


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?
We used to operate a 3-month, cohort-based program. Now, we are a curated community organized around dinners & coworking jams based in NYC.

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.

How does Recess Labs make money?
Right now, we don't. This is a community-led project ;)

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?
We've had people start companies, raise capital, transition into VC, leave VC to start a company, 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

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