Moscow FI Preps For Launch of Winter 2014 Semester

Posted by Amity Sims on 2014-01-08

After a successful first semester in 2013, the Moscow Founder Institute is gearing up to train its second batch of new entrepreneurs this Winter. The four-month startup accelerator program launched in Moscow in May 2013, graduating over 10 new technology companies to the Russian marketplace.

To help interested applicants get a sense of what to expect out of the program (and how to succeed), Digital October shared a few key Things You Should Know About The Founder Institute.

The following article is courtesy of Digital October;


"In February of 2014, classes for future tech company founders will begin once more at the Digital October Center.

These classes represent the second generation of students at the Moscow branch of Founder Institute, the Silicon Valley-based training program.

These are people who understand that a high school student who sells his project to a corporation and young CEO who makes a successful exit after a couple of years are exceptions to the rule, albeit successful ones, and that ‘life in the Valley’ doesn’t have to end at 30.

The first FI project opened its doors three years ago in California, and today, analogous accelerators have been founded in 55 cities all around the world, designed to help people who are ready to start their own businesses and hope to find or develop their own idea with the help of experienced mentors. Of the thousand companies that have been launched over the course of the training process (including, for example, Uderny), almost 90% are still in business.

“Here, we help people to build productive businesses, which is to say, businesses that will transfer easily onto a large scale. And, more importantly, stable businesses that are capable of sustaining themselves,” says FI Moscow’s co-director, Peter Tatischev. “What sets Founder Institute apart is its enormous network of mentors (with a ratio of 2:1; we have 2,500 experienced entrepreneurs, investors, and industry consultants for our 1,000 graduates) and strong partnerships. There are already talks underway that would allow our American graduates to get onto TechStars with special conditions.

Founder Institute ensures the high success rate of its graduates’ companies

through the content of its 4-month-long course. When we kicked off our first semester in Moscow, we ourselves didn’t think that it would be possible to do so much in so little time. But upon graduation, our students had:

  • An idea that had already been tested by a large group of people with a history of success in the industry (the 40 mentors of the Russian FI filial).
  • A business model and an understanding of where to go next.
  • A basic version of their product and the preliminary numbers to go along with it (The students were constantly working with the market. For example, as one of their assignments, they created a landing page and learned how to attract traffic and keep tabs on conversion).
  • A team (some of our students simply hopped on board their classmates’ projects).
  • And a company that was ready for its first investments and already registered in the United States.”

 This last point prompted some audience questions at a meeting with the directors and mentors of Founder Institute Moscow on December 13th, though official registration in the States is crucial for various reasons, including the fact that it confirms our students’ dedication.

Bayram Annakov, CEO of Empatika, recent winner of the PayPal BattleHack global hackathon, and FI Moscow mentor with two international mobile businesses to his name, explains the situation:
“Your business wasn’t established in Delaware? Funds won’t give you the time of day.

And if your project has even the slightest intentions of going global, you have to understand: it’s difficult to take over the international market when your only investors are Russian. That’s one thing.

Secondly, it’s a universal rule that you have to be in with the crowd. You get to the Valley, and the first problem you run into is the fact that you’re from Russia, your project is in Russia; no one’s really going to want to do business with you, believe me. It’s hard to get in with a good fund, for example – only a few of them openly advertise the fact that they only associate with entrepreneurs from their own ‘network’, but the fact is that many of them do.

I didn’t study at the Founder Institute; I was a mentor from the get-go, but I see things clearly: it gives you connections at tech hubs all over the world. These contacts, and experience in a jurisdiction that’s familiar to your investors –
That’s two reasons why it’s definitely worth your while to play on the same team as FI.”

“Having a company in the US is a positive thing because it allows you to attract private money without any problems,” Peter continues. “And as for connections: say you want to break into the New York startup game. If you write to an FI graduate in the city, you can be sure he’ll try to help you out."

Click here to read more from Digital October.

The Moscow Founder Institute is currently accepting applications for the upcoming Winter Semester. If you could benefit from expert training and feedback to launch a company in Moscow, click here to learn more and apply today. Final applications are due 2014-02-03.

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