Silicon Valley Spring 2013
Program Sessions (Private Events)
The Founder Institute offers a weekly curriculum of company-building sessions designed to help entrepreneurs start building every aspect of their business, from the core idea to the product and revenue model. Each weekly session takes place during a weekday evening for at least 3 hours, and is led by three startup CEO Mentors who share their advice and provide our participating Founders with critical feedback. In addition, our Founders are given challenging assignments to build key aspects of their companies between the sessions that are completed in Working Groups with their peers.
See the full curriculum below, or see a sample Founder Institute session.
2013-04-01, 06:30 PM:
Understand the program and startup life.
What do you need to know to be successful in the Founder Institute? What can you expect from launching a startup? What traits are required to be successful?
2013-04-02, 06:30 PM:
Develop your vision and ideas.
What are you passionate about? What is your vision? How do you translate your passion and vision into a business idea? How do you brainstorm ideas? What are the tools for evaluating your ideas? What are the makings of a good idea versus a bad idea? Should you pursue multiple ideas at once, and when should you focus on one?
2013-04-09, 06:30 PM:
Do you have a problem / customer fit?
How do you articulate and then test your hypothesis about the customer's problem? How do you test if the product concept and minimum feature set solve that problem? Does your product/service as spec’d solve a problem or a need customers have? Is the solution compelling enough that they want to buy it or use it today? What are the proper techniques for doing good customer development interviews? Also, how do you do proper market research?
2013-04-16, 06:30 PM:
Name and brand your business.
What is a brand? Is it you? Is it your vision? How do you determine what you stand for, and then how do you come up with a good company name? What are the characteristics of a good company name? What do you need to do to protect your name?
2013-04-23, 06:30 PM:
Build a financial model.
How do you plan to make money? How do you build a financial model? What are the types of expenses, such as fixed expenses and costs of goods sold, and how do they scale? How do you know if your model is right? What do angel investors and venture capitalists expect from your financial model? How do you identify the key metrics for your success?
2013-04-30, 06:30 PM:
Review your idea with Mentors.
Can you pitch your idea in three minutes and survive the scrutiny of seasoned CEO? How viable is the idea itself? Can the founder present the idea in a meaningful and articulate way? Has the founder done the research necessary to understand the market and prove that the idea is valid?
2013-05-07, 06:30 PM:
Build a legal and IP strategy.
What does a new Founder need to know about law in order to run a successful startup? When should a Founder use a lawyer, and when should you rely on your own work? What are the key terms in contracts to understand and to avoid? What are common legal mistakes? How should a Founder handle their intellectual property, including confidentiality, copyrights, trademarks and patents? What are common intellectual property problems, and how do you deal with them cost effectively?
2013-05-14, 06:30 PM:
Recruit your first team members.
What talent do you need in the beginning to be successful? How do you recruit the first team members with extremely limited resources? How do you conduct a thorough interviewing process? How do you compensate? How do you set expectations, measure results and remove or fire under-performing resources? Do you need a cofounder? Do you need to have engineering in-house?
2013-05-21, 06:30 PM:
Plan and start building your offering.
How do you get from an idea to an offering? What are strategies to identify and prioritize features? How do you take a product definition and turn it into a development plan? What should comprise a minimum viable product? What are effective strategies to build your first offering? What are common mistakes that you should avoid when planning and building an offering?
2013-06-04, 06:30 PM:
Review your business with Mentors.
Can you pitch your business in three minutes and survive the scrutiny of seasoned CEOs? How much progress has been made on the product? How viable is the business and the financial model? Can you present the business in a meaningful and articulate way? Does the business scale? Can the business survive?
2013-06-11, 06:30 PM:
Develop a process to select key vendors.
What should you outsource, and what do you need to do in-house? How to segment the vendors that you need? What vendors do you need right when you start, and what vendors will you need as you grow? How do you recruit and select the important vendors? What are tips and tricks to manage vendors in order to ensure a consistent level of quality? How do you fire and replace under-performing vendors? What are common mistakes made when dealing with vendors?
2013-06-18, 06:30 PM:
Identify and convey your positioning.
How do you portray yourself and your business to the world? How do you tell the story of your company? How do you define your ultimate success? How do you attract the first customers and partners to your vision? How do you involve your customers and partners in your success? What are techniques to refine your messaging?
2013-06-25, 06:30 PM:
Prepare for publicity.
How do you get the world to take notice of your company? What are tips and tricks to present your business? What tools do you need to succeed with outreach? How do you identify newsworthy milestones? How do you craft a successful media release? What are effective tactics to get social media, the blogosphere and traditional media to take notice? What are common media mistakes for new companies?
2013-07-02, 06:30 PM:
Plan to raise your first round.
When is it realistic to raise capital for a brand new company? How should you calculate the amount of money to raise? How should you define the use use of proceeds? What materials are required to fundraise? How do you identify and qualify target angel and seed stage investors? How do you find a lead investor? What do investors expect from the company? What are typical investment structures and deal terms for seed-stage financing? How do you negotiate terms?
2013-07-09, 06:30 PM:
Prepare to succeed after the Institute.
How do you ensure success after Graduation? Who will lead the alumni community, and what are the plans following graduation? The Graduation is the beginning of an exciting period for Founders, where an idea becomes reality. Congratulations!