Man using computer in woodworking shed.

These Tech Workers Quit Or Were Fired. Now They’re Entrepreneurs.

Earlier this year, we wrote about why  the constant headlines about layoffs in the tech industry shouldn’t be so doom-and-gloom if you’re a worker in the tech field. As history has shown, such challenging moments can present the perfect opportunity for a recently laid-off worker to create the next great company.

“Tech workers turned entrepreneurs are uniquely qualified to start a business given their background in programming, engineering and software development, among other analytical skills,” Jeff Sloan says.

A few of these examples recently spoke to Wired about their experience becoming an entrepreneur. Elsewhere, the Wall Street Journal profiled aspiring entrepreneurs who launched their companies during the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Jen Zhu is working on Maida.AI, a health tech startup. Her startup is among seven out of 1,200 applicants that each received $100,000 in funding from Day One Ventures.
  • Nish Junankar quit his job to start Feasier, a platform that aggregates home furnishing listings from different stores into one place.
  • Former Microsoft manager Chelsey Roney and Facebook researcher Melinda Haughey came up with the idea for Proxi, which is a tool for making interactive maps. The application allows local media, hotel front desks and others to turn lists of data into visual maps, create local guides and share recommendations. The startup was accepted into a Techstars accelerator in October 2021 and raised $1.6 million last year, according to WSJ.
  • Ankit Dhawan spotted a business opportunity to help address a lack of the in-person connections that office environments provided. He quit Amazon to launch Virtuelly Inc. and later raised $750,000 from investors. The company now has 11 employees and offers interactive events designed to foster team building.

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So, how can this inspire you as a budding entrepreneur? These two quotes from the aforementioned founders stick out:

“The golden handcuffs are off, and I can do whatever I want now.” – Zhu

“It’s incredibly rewarding and fulfilling. It doesn’t feel like work. I just really believe in the idea.” – Junnkar

Or, as Sloan put it in his article: “Many people don’t start a business of their own because they’re afraid to leave their corporate (and, more often than not, their well-paying) job. … While it’s never a good thing to see so many people out of work, a massive amount of creative and technical potential is bubbling at the surface right now.”

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