We scale early-stage startups with fractional COO and People Operations Support

We work with your executive team to build the strategies that will land the talent, capital, and customers you need to achieve your mission.

We roll up our sleeves and execute, not just plan:

  • Build People Operations Functions
  • Org Design, Systems and Process Scaling
  • Culture and Brand Development
  • Operating Plans and Financial Models
  • Talent Acquisition - (We double companies)
  • Fundraising Narrative and Strategy
  • Product Development Strategy and Process
  • Business Model and Go-to-Market Validation

“In a period of high growth, Danielle pushed us to articulate the unique position of our mission and culture in a very competitive labor market, and then translated that into actionable plans for getting the message out. We saw the returns immediately!”

– Mateo Jaramillo, CEO, Form Energy

“Danielle sits at the intersection of strong technical knowledge and empathy, which makes her a unique resource for understanding our organization. She was able to deliver qualitative research on our team and pull out ways in which we could make the workplace more efficient and effective as well as ways to create more cohesion and connection in the workplace.”

– Etosha Cave, Co-founder & CSO, Twelve

“Danielle has an amazing ability to understand complex technology which lies at the intersection of many disciplines and then translate that to a market and product that will achieve the big vision. I also like the intensity she has in gathering all the information needed to synthesize new ideas. She also pushed me to think a bit differently about my business.”

– Lee Cronin, CEO, Chemify

“Danielle rewrote the storyline of our pitch with utter clarity of thought that was grounded in her own fundraising experience as a founder. The new pitch was authentic and fun to deliver, and it worked. We successfully raised a substantial seed round, even as the market was tanking around us. Now we’re working with her to lay the foundation of our company culture.”

– Obi Felten, Founder/CEO, Flourish Labs

“It’s hard to estimate how broad Danielle’s experience and skill set is. I was able to explore far and wide and she was a very helpful guide to help me funnel down and organize key messages to use with business partners of all kinds. She’s also just a cool person to be around, and I really enjoyed the process.”

– Stephen DeBerry, Founder and Managing Partner, Bronze VC

“Working with Danielle has truly helped us grow our business. She has a unique ability to see a business holistically and objectively. She applies her raw growth and storytelling skills to demonstrate what's possible in a way that's hard to do when you are inside the company. She has helped us with P and L growth models, the accompanying story, and brand identity.”

– Jocelyn Mangan, CEO, Him For Her

“Danielle has an uncanny ability to distill conversations down to the core issue, understand key questions and boundaries, and do the exercises that get to actionable next steps. I got more work done in my meetings with Danielle than any other advisor. Danielle helped us with fundraising, manufacturing strategy, organizational design, and hiring.”

– Vince Romanin, CEO, Gradient

“Danielle's industry connections and realistic understanding of how design and manufacturing coexist feed her creativity, honesty, and vision of what possibilities remain untapped. She is an asset to a company's development and a pleasure to work with.”

– Mose O'Griffin, Owner, Advanced Prototype Engineering

“Can’t describe how much we enjoyed working with Danielle. She helped a lot. In a short amount of time she was able to crystallize our differentiator and the market opportunity our product fit into - things we struggled with for 6 months. She is also a wonderfully generous person with a great sense of humor. Ultimately, this all makes Danielle The Wolf of Start-Ups.”

– Paul Charney, Owner, CEO, Funworks
I'm a high-octane early-stage executive powerhouse

Hey there, I'm Danielle Applestone, a serial entrepreneur and Materials Science PhD in Oakland, CA.

I work as a fractional startup executive (COO, and CPO) and thought-partner for CEOs on the highest-level decisions they need to make about their companies.
I delight in leveraging my incredible network and 19 years of experience founding startups in multiple industries.

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Compel people and catalyze action with clarity on who you are, what you're doing, and why.