How Gen Z are quitting jobs to create next-gen AI startups

Illustration of a robot talking to a person.

This story was first reported on, and published by, Digiday sibling WorkLife

Gen Zers are already positioning themselves to be ahead of the next wave of generative AI. And some young professionals, and students, are even quitting their jobs and studies to create AI tech which will help shape the future of work.

Malik Drabla, 24, and Riley Walz, 20, are among them. Drabla recently quit his job at Google to join an AI accelerator program founded and funded by tech entrepreneur Dave Fontenot, and run out of a Victorian mansion, in Alamo Square, San Fransisco. Walz also took a leave of absence during his senior year at Baruch College, to join the program, which has been dubbed the “monastery of hackers.”

Those who apply to this 12-week residency program, called or Hacker Fellowship Zero – or HF0 – get an injection of $250,000 investment in exchange for 2.5% in ownership of their company. The program takes care of everything they need, including food, amenities, and laundry. To get in, interested entrepreneurs can pitch their products in an online application process.

“My friends like to call it the ‘programmer Hype House,’” said Drabla.

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