San Francisco Winter 2013
Program Sessions (Private Events)
The Founder Institute offers a weekly curriculum of company-building sessions designed to help entrepreneurs think through every aspect of their business, from the core idea to the revenue model. Each weekly session is lead by three startup CEO Mentors, who share their unique and often differing opinions on the topic, and provide our founders with expert feedback and advice. Participating Founders are given assignments to build key aspects of their companies between the sessions that are completed in Working Groups with their peers.
2013-11-18, 06:30 PM:
Welcome and meet your peers.
Are you ready to be an entrepreneur? How well do you know your peers in the program? Is there someone that might be your Cofounder from the program? Who will lead your Working Group as President? What do you need to know to be successful in the Founder Institute? Which traits do you have that can help you be successful?
2013-11-19, 06:30 PM:
Develop a set of strong ideas.
What is a good idea? How do you come up with good ideas? Does passion matter with ideas? How can you tell what you are passionate about? How do you translate your passion into one or more business ideas? What basic tools should every Founder have from the start? What tools should Founders use to develop their ideas in the beginning? How does being a Founder align with personal goals, objectives and vision?
2013-11-25, 06:30 PM:
Test your ideas with research.
What research can you do to validate or to kill an idea? Does the market that you choose matter? What are good markets, and what are bad markets? Do competitors matter and why? How do you define your competitive landscape? How do you determine the key assumptions of your business? Can key assumptions be tested? What are tactics to test key assumptions when you just have an idea? How do you identify and interview potential customers? What are some tactics for effective surveying?
2013-12-02, 06:30 PM:
Name your business.
How do you develop a good name for your business? How do you position the business with a name? What characteristics make a good name? How do you test different name candidates? What infrastructure do you need when you pick your name? Are there tips to finding a good domain name? What social media platforms should you look to get your name on? How do you develop a logo? Does a name really matter?
2013-12-09, 06:30 PM:
Chose an idea and a model.
How do you build a revenue model for your idea? What are viable revenue models to pursue? How do you identify ideal customers for a revenue model? What are some common problems with popular revenue models? Are there tips or tricks with different revenue models? How do you determine revenue drivers in your model? What do you need to know to finish a model? How do you choose between multiple revenue models and multiple ideas?
2013-12-16, 06:30 PM:
Present your idea for feedback.
Are you pursuing a viable business idea? Can you present the idea in a compelling way? Have you done sufficient research on the idea? Is there a viable market? What about about the business is likely to fail? How can the business be improved? Are you a good fit to build this business over the next three, five and ten years?
2014-01-06, 06:30 PM:
Build a legal and IP strategy.
What does a new Founder need to know about the law to launch a successful startup? How do you pick a law firm to work with? What is the process of setting up a company? How much do you need to know about the law? What agreements do you need to run a company? What are common legal mistakes? How do you handle intellectual property, including confidentiality, copyrights, trademarks and patents? How much does the law actually matter?
2014-01-13, 06:30 PM:
Recruit your first team members.
How do you find the right team to launch your company? How do you identify the right set of advisors? How do you manage your advisors? What are responsibilities and compensation for advisors? How do you identify the right roles to help you launch a product or offering? Do you expect the roles to change over time? How can recruit people to fill roles when you have limited resources? What metrics do you track when recruiting? Do you need a cofounder? What are some common pitfalls with cofounder? Is a team necessary to launch a company?
2014-01-20, 06:30 PM:
Plan to build your offering.
How do you plan to build a product or offering from the beginning? What are techniques to build a product roadmap? How do you specify what to build? How do you organize resources to build a product? What are strategies to estimate time and costs? What do you track to measure success? How often do you need to see milestones achieved? What are common mistakes when building product? How do you keep product progress ongoing when you have many competing priorities?
2014-01-27, 06:30 PM:
Present your progress for feedback.
How do you present the business entering the last few weeks of the program? Is the presentation compelling? Can the business scale? How viable is the financial model? Is the plan to build the business realistic? Is the product or offering planned out well? Can the business generate revenue? What needs to be improved for the business to be successful?
2014-02-17, 06:30 PM:
Start generating traction.
How do you identify and close your very first paying customers? What are best practices to charge these first paying customers? Should you charge more or less in the beginning? How do you develop a sales funnel or conversion funnel? What are some best practices to track leads and sales? How do you hustle leads and close the first sales, whether business licenses or consumer subscriptions? How do you develop a culture of sales and generating revenues in the early days of a new company?
2014-02-24, 06:30 PM:
Establish market credibility.
How do you establish yourself as an expert in your field? What tools are used to follow important news and narratives? How do you identify and create industry narratives of your own? How do you identify and connect with influencers and journalists? What infrastructure do you need to be influential? How do you create content that attracts readers and commentary? How do you grow your influence in a market over time?
2014-03-03, 06:30 PM:
Capitalize the business.
What are the various ways to capitalize your company in the very beginning? How do you ask friends and family for money to support you? What are the advantages and disadvantages of bootstrapping? What do local angel investors require before making an investment? How do you develop a target list of appropriate angel investors? What materials are required to raise angel investment? What milestones should you look to achieve next? How do you set your six month and twelve month objectives in the very beginning? How should you think about selling the business or exiting the business?
2014-03-10, 06:30 PM:
Graduate from the program.
How do you ensure success after Graduation? How do you engage with your peers going forward? The Graduation is the beginning of an exciting period for Founders, where an idea becomes reality. Congratulations!