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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


Why You Should Never Pay to Pitch, by Sajad Ghanizada

Posted by Jonathan Greechan on 2013-09-23

Founder Insight gives you feedback from the startup trenches.

In this post from his blog, Sajad Ghanizada shares critical advice for new entrepreneurs: Don't pay to pitch. Ever. He says, "One of the best pieces of advice I’ve received from a mentor within my network was, 'If you can’t get accepted to pitch at a free event…there is probably a legitimate reason that reputable venues have passed you by and it isn’t because you haven’t slipped them enough cash".

Below, Don’t Pay To Pitch. Ever. has been republished;


"As a first time entrepreneur, I find myself making mistakes all the time and seeking advice often (but not enough).

One of the best pieces of advice I’ve received from a mentor within my network was, “If you can’t get accepted to pitch at a free event…there is probably a legitimate reason that reputable venues have passed you by and it isn’t because you haven’t slipped them enough cash.”

He’s right on the mark. I get invited to pitch events maybe once a month throughout the east coast, most of them cost a moderate $50-75 which I assume is to cover costs.

But once in a while, I receive an email for an event that seems more like a Nigerian 419 scam than a selective pitch event. Angel Venture Forum in the Mid-Atlantic region stands out as the most costly of the pay-to-pitch schemes. Apply and if you’re selected to present, for a cool $1,500 you can pitch 30 angel investors from 24 groups. No guarantee that they’re actively looking to invest.

You should easily be able to find a warm introduction to any of these 30 investors outside of AVF. If you can’t find an introduction, can’t get a meeting or an investment, don’t think that throwing away $1,500 is going to change any of that.

I don’t know of any events like this on the west coast but I would love to hear from you if you’ve had any success at a pay to pitch event.

For those who’ve shelled out the money and received nothing, I can be a shoulder to cry on. Reach out to me."


Sajad is a graduate of the Washington DC Founder Institute and the Founder of EventStir, a crowdfunding platform for events. To hear more from Sajad, follow him on twitter @TheRealSajad.

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