The On Deck Fellowship Week 1: Why I Joined

Amanda Emmanuel
3 min readApr 20, 2021


On Deck is an incredible community of ambitious, driven people looking to change the world. I was skeptical but this first week has been a delightful surprise. Here’s a peek into my journey so far.

Pre-On Deck

Prior to joining On Deck, I am ashamed to say it now, but I didn’t give it any attention. Boy, was I wrong 😬 .

I first heard whispers of On Deck on Twitter and chalked it up to hype. Then I joined a startup and was surprised to learn that 2 of the co-founders actually met through OnDeck. Despite their tremendous success and encouragement to join On Deck, I didn’t think it was for me.

As the months passed, I continued tinkering on several startup ideas and realized I needed a co-founder. But where would I find one in a pandemic? At the same time, I noticed more friends of mine from a wide range of backgrounds were going through On Deck one-after-another and every one said they had an incredible experience.

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The turning point for me was when my brother, Alex, and his co-founder, Anthony, went through On Deck with their early stage startup 1v1me annnd now they’re a top On Deck case study 🙃. Being a literal “fly on the wall” to their On Deck experience was an unusual advantage and was the inspiration I needed.

Looking back, I can see that I was overthinking the entire On Deck experience and kept finding ways to say “I’m not ready yet” when now I know it is the exact forcing function I need as an ambitious entrepreneur.

What Week 1 Has Been Like

My cohort officially kicked-off on April 10 and over the week us cohort members have been meeting each other through 1:1s and attending incredible sessions together.

I thought I was joining to achieve specific goals (ex: find a co-founder, learn about fundraising, etc) but I was pleasantly surprised by what was right in front of me from day 1: a community.

The truth is this founder journey is terribly lonely. Coming to On Deck and simply connecting with equally driven, ambitious people has been so motivating!

It’s true what they say, being surrounded by people you want to be like one day really does help you get there.

See original Tweet by Michael Martocci

What I’m Looking Forward To

I don’t know exactly what to expect in the upcoming weeks but I can predict it’s going to get hectic — in the best way. Every alum I’ve met has said “you only get what you put in” and I’m certainly taking that to heart.

At the end of this first week, I find myself at a weird intersection of excitement but a little nervous for the unknown. If being an entrepreneur has taught me anything it’s to lean into fear and just do it anyway!

I am a full supporter of On Deck. It’s not a cheap price tag but I can tell even after 1-week that the financial expense will be well worth it.

If you’re on the fence about applying to On Deck, I would say just do it.

Simply come with an open mind and give more than you take!

I’ll be posting a weekly blog post about my experience so come along for the ride 🛳

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Amanda Emmanuel

🦄 Product & Growth at early-stage startups 🚀 3X founder 😎 Blogs about entrepreneurship, mindset & startups 🏗 Always building