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The Founder Institute: A life-changing high-speed roller coaster

Posted by Didier Vermeiren on 2014-04-24

The testimonial below is written by Tobias Dickmeis, founder of Letsmake and a Graduate of the Berlin Founder Institute, which is now accepting applications for the upcoming Berlin Spring 2014 Semester. 

"If you board the Founder Institute, prepare yourself for a ride. It will get fast, it will get intense, it will get bumpy. It will flip your idea upside down. It will flip your life upside down. It will flip upside down who you thought you are. At some point you won’t know top from bottom anymore, and you want to get the hell out. But it’s fun, it’s exhilarating, and once you’re done, you just want to go one more time!

How does it do that? We started the Berlin batch with 28 aspiring founders back in December, with ideas for businesses in various industries and at various levels of advancement. From the first minute, everyone was constantly pressured to pitch and test their idea, with their peers in the program, with highly critical and knowledgeable mentors, and, of course, the outside world. Everybody is also constantly rating each other. That might put you off, or give you that little extra kick of motivation by triggering your Candy Crush gamification instincts.

Every week there is a pretty demanding set of assignments to be delivered. They guide you through the necessary steps to set up a business, and never ever let you lose momentum. The Founder Institute itself is a schizophrenic beast: It wants you to think big and build a billion dollar business that changes the world, at the same time forces you to diligently take every little baby step to get there.

While the program advances, it becomes apparent which ideas are ready for execution and which aren’t quite yet. In March, we graduated with six founders:

  • Ahmad’s Teambay organizes new employees' onboarding processes for small and midsize companies. They also just launched Teambay Feedback Loop to approach the market.
  • Carol’s Proftrack is an online platform that helps individuals find the right learning courses for their professional learning through peer-based recommendations.
  • Jens’ Pay Peanuts provides micropayments to online content publishers utilising loyalty credits.
  • Michael’s VERYHOME is a website to help homeowners with inspiration, products and services for their interior design.
  • Theresia’s HARRYY is the app for digital enthusiasts that provides the fun and easy way to take, share and twist pictures with sound.
  • Tobias’ Letsmake helps makers and hobbyists find spaces for their activities easily.


We all highly recommend the experience. Should you consider undergoing it yourself, we have just one final tip: Enjoy the ride!"

               

If you could benefit from expert training and feedback to launch a company, apply to the Founder Institute today. We are currently accepting applications in Berlin and many other cities worldwide

(Roller coaster in sunset image via Shutterstock)

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