Founder Institute

The Founder Institute is an early-stage startup accelerator and global launch network that helps entrepreneurs create meaningful and enduring technology companies. The four month program provides the foundation required for startups to be successful.


Applicants complete a 60 minute predictive admission test to see if they have what it takes to succeed as entrepreneur. Scores on the admission test are kept secret, but they are supposed to correlate very closely to the final rating in the program.

I attended the Silicon Valley Spring 2013 sessions of FI and graduated on July 9th. The experience was very challenging but incredibly worthwhile. Sessions are held once a week and have three main components:

1) Pitch your idea to mentors and get feedback and a rating
2) Listen to presentations by mentors on the topic of the week
3) Network and get more detailed feedback at the bar after class

Between sessions founders spend a significant amount of time on homework assignments. Most of the homework consists of things that you need to do to build your company, so it is time well spent. Founders are assigned to a working group that meets twice a week to provide support on the homework and any issues specific to their company.

To graduate, founders must pass two critical mentor reviews and incorporate a company. Some find that they are not ready to succeed and drop out voluntarily (with the option to come back to a future session at no cost). Others are asked to leave. Our class had 16 graduates out of an initial class of 42. That’s a pretty typical success rate for the program. Here is our graduation photo:


Our class plans to stay in touch after graduation to provide support for the many challenges ahead. We’ll meet as a group once a month and will be in touch individually more frequently than that. Each graduating class participates in a bonus pool which provides a financial incentive for the founders and mentors involved in the class to help graduates succeed.

FI Formula: Great People + Expert Training + Aligned Incentives = Exponentially Better Chance of Success

Sound interesting? Find out more at

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