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Female Founder Fellowship

The Female Founder Fellowship is awarded to the most extraordinary female applicant for each semester, giving them the opportunity to participate in the Founder Institute for free. The recipient will be recognized as a female with the utmost potential to become a successful technology entrepreneur.

The Founder Institute is committed to narrowing the gender gap in high tech startups. When we announced the Female Founder Fellowship program in 2011, only 16% of Founder Institute companies were founded by females. Since then, the results of this program have been astounding, as our overall number of female-founded companies has more than doubled, to a total of approximately 33%. This is more than twice as high as most other startup programs. Learn more about the Female Founder Fellowship program here

Eligibility: In order to be eligible for the Female Founder Fellowship for the upcoming semester, you must complete your application, be accepted to the program, and submit your payment by the Early Deadline listed on the top of this page. Any female who follows these guidelines will be automatically eligible - no further steps are required. 

Grant: The Female Founder Fellowship is awarded to the most extraordinary female applicant for each semester. The recipient will be awarded and notified within 5 days after the Early Admissions Deadline, and they will receive a full refund on their Course Fee within 1 week of the program start date. All applicants will be notified via email when the Fellowships are awarded.

Click here to apply for the Female Founder Fellowship

Determining Exit Options for Your Startup, by George Deeb

Posted by Jonathan Greechan on 2013-04-15

Founder Feedback gives you insight from the startup trenches.

In this post from his blog, George Deeb, Managing Partner at Red Rocket Ventures and Chicago Founder Institute mentor outlines 3 options startups should consider when thinking about their exit strategy. He says, "it is always good to have a sense to what your long term exit options are, in case prospective investors (or you) are curious about how to liquidate their investment down the road."

Below, Determining Exit Options for Your Startup has been republished;

Lesson #63: Determining Exit Options for Your Startup

"Hopefully, you are not already thinking about an exit for your startup.  But, it is always good to have a sense to what your long term exit options are, in case prospective investors (or you) are curious about how to liquidate their investment down the road.  Your exit options basically come down to: (i) selling the business outright; (ii) merging the business into another entity; and (iii) taking the company public.  We will discuss each of these options below.

Selling your business outright is your most logical exit opportunity for most startups.  Here, we are talking about selling to a corporate or financial buyer that sees value in what you have built (e.g., your technology, market share, client list, cash flow, growth vehicle for them).  So, make sure value has actually been created in your business over time, to attract a buyer long term.  Most buyers are going to look to management to stick around for at least some period of time, to help transition the business.  Corporate buyers will need a 6-12 month transition and financial buyers could require you to stick around longer term to lead the next phase of the company's growth.  In this scenario, you have sold 100% of the assets or equity of the business, depending on the deal structure, in exchange for cash, equity or other compensation, either paid upfront or spreadout over time.


In the merger scenario, it is largely the same as a corporate sale, but instead of selling 100% outright, perhaps you merged with an equally-sized, similar business in a 50%/50% merger.  In such case, you most likely took equity, instead of cash upfront.  Which means, you would need to create a mechanism for the merged business to distribute funds out to you over time, to repurchase your 50% stake with cash from operations or otherwise.  And, in this scenario, the combined entity may not need your management team, since they already have a team in place running a similar business.  Although cash sales for 100% are my preference, deals like this can sometimes make sense where a bigger entity may be more appealing to a long term buyer (e.g., you are too small to attract buyer interest on your own, but combined with a bigger business you are more attractive).  And, this road also makes sense when you are trying to phase out of the business, but don't need immediate cash to facilitate your exit.

As for an IPO, "fuhged about it" (said with my Robert De Niro accent).  Very few startups reach the scale of being able to take it public, and of the ones that do, only the creme-de-la-creme actual do go public.  And, for most of the last few years, the IPO markets have basically been closed altogether based on poor market conditions, and only recently have premium companies like LinkedIn, Zynga, Groupon, Facebook and Pandora decided to give it a shot.  And, if you are lucky enough to build a successful business like that, running a public company is a complete pain in the ass, dealing with public shareholders, reporting quarterly earnings and disclosing all your financial information to all your competitors.  Unless the valuation upside is materially higher than a corporate sale route, I suggest avoiding the IPO route altogether.

In following lessons, I will discuss "how to find and approach buyers" and 'how to structure the sale'."

For more startup insights from George, check out more from the Red Rocket Blog and follow him on Twitter @GeorgeDeeb.

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