Globalizing Silicon Valley
The Founder Institute is a global network of startups and mentors that helps entrepreneurs launch meaningful and enduring technology companies. Through our four month idea-stage incubator program, you can launch your dream company with experttraining, feedback, and support from experienced startup CEOs, while not being required to quit your day job. Our unique Bonus Pool also shares equity upside with all participants, creating local, teamwork-based ecosystems where great startups can flourish.
In under three years of operation, the Founder Institute has helped launch over 510 companies across 26 cities and five continents. Based on companies launched, we are the world's largest idea-stage incubator.
Our goal is to "Globalize Silicon Valley" by launching 1,000 meaningful and enduring technology companies per year in 30 cities worldwide. The Founder Institute was founded in 2009 by serial entrepreneur, Adeo Ressi, and is operated out of a small warehouse in the heart of Silicon Valley.
Starting a company is often an arduous and lonely journey, and technology entrepreneurship is a constantly evolving discipline. Early mistakes can be deadly. The Founder Institute aims to improve the rate of startup success by providing high-potential entrepreneurs with expert training, critical objective feedback, and peer support in the early stages of building a company.
Great People + Expert Training + Aligned Incentives = Exponentially Better Chance of Success
Great Companies Start With Great People
It's very hard to judge a new founder by the quality of their idea, because there is too much subjectivity involved. To apply to the Founder Institute, you do not need to provide an idea. Instead, we use a proprietaryPredictive Admissions Test to find the best people. This social science test was developed along with leading university social scientists, and is regularly calibrated to identify entrepreneurial personality traits and remove all forms of subjective bias. Our unique applicant screening approach has been featured in CNNMoney.com in a piece by FI Mentor and Founder of Mint.com, Aaron Patzer.
We provide a four-month program with weekly company-building assignments guided by a worldwide network of over 750 Mentors that are founders themselves. Topics range from “Startup Legal and IP” towards the beginning of the program, to “Fundraising” near the end. Our curriculum was initially crowdsourced by the 17,000+ CEO members of TheFunded.com, and has since been improved using the Institute's experience running chapters in over 26 cities.
Amazing things happen when smart people work together towards a common goal. To create and foster a teamwork-based ecosystem, the Founder Institute employs a unique Bonus Pool where everyone shares equity in the companies formed from each semester. Here's how it works - each Graduate contributes 3.5% of their company equity in warrants to a 10-year Bonus Pool with other peers from the current semester. The Pool returns are then distributed as follows:
The Institute keeps costs low, bets on the success of the companies created, and shares in the returns.
We believe that great founders are often overlooked by the current entrepreneurial system. As a result, anybody who is passionate about building a technology company is welcome to apply to the Founder Institute: idea or no idea, young or old, female or male, experienced in business or straight out of school. Our application process was designed to be as objective as possible.
In each Application Period, there are two deadlines - the Early Admissions Deadline, and the Final Admissions Deadline. If you apply by the Early Admissions Deadline, you can take the Predictive Admissions Test for free (in select locations), and you have a greater chance of being accepted because your application is reviewed twice (before both deadlines). All other applicants must contribute $50 USD to help cover the administration costs of the test. From there, applications are reviewed on a rolling basis, and once accepted you are granted access to a library of exclusive training content that will help you better prepare for the course ahead.
On average, the Founder Institute accepts roughly 30% of applicants, and performance on our Predictive Admissions Test is the predominant factor in our admissions process.
Apply to the Founder Institute today.
Graduating from the Founder Institute is challenging. In fact, less than 50% of accepted Founders generally make it through the program. Reasons for not completing the program differ, but each Founder who leaves is invited to join a future semester, when they are ready to launch a business.
In order to graduate, a Founder needs to develop an engaging idea for a technology company, plan out the business, work on an offering, incorporate their company, and complete all of the required assignments - all within a four month timeframe.
When you graduate, you join an elite worldwide network of startups and Mentors that you can leverage for advice and support. Here are the ten main benefits to graduating, ordered from tangible to intangible:
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