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Silicon Valley-based Founder Institute Officially Opens its Second Canadian Chapter in Toronto

Posted by Jonathan Greechan on 2014-04-30

The Founder Institute (, the world’s largest startup accelerator with over 1,100 graduate companies, announced today that it will officially launch its first chapter in Toronto.

After launching its first Canadian chapter in Montreal last month, the Founder Institute now operates in two Canadian cities, and aims to launch over 40 meaningful and enduring companies per year across the country.

Anyone interested in launching a technology company is welcome to apply to the Toronto Founder Institute today at

The Silicon Valley-based Founder Institute decided to officially launch in Toronto after a successful trial period across the city in April drew over 150 interested applicants. In order to celebrate the launch, the Toronto Founder Institute will host a “Pre-Curriculum” of free startup events for the general public. The first event, taking place on May 5th, includes a talk by Andrew D'Souza: President of Bionym, and former COO/ CRO of Top Hat. To see the full list of upcoming events, visit

The news of the Montreal Founder Institute launch was covered by Techvibes and BetaKit

It is long overdue that we launch a chapter in Toronto, which is truly one of the best places in North America to launch a technology company. The Founder Institute aims to be complementary to the already robust startup ecosystem in Toronto and Waterloo, help entrepreneurs who are just starting out in the region build sustainable companies, and provide a link to our Silicon Valley and global startup network" - Adeo Ressi, Founder & CEO of the Founder Institute

In just five years of existence, the Founder Institute has helped aspiring entrepreneurs launch over 1,116 companies across over 55 cities and 6 continents. In this four-month program, aspiring entrepreneurs “learn by doing” and build a company in an efficient and cost-effective manner, following a step-by-step curriculum based on Silicon Valley best practices. While the program is part-time, it is very rigorous and results-based, with typically less than 40% of enrolled founders Graduating from the program. As a result, Founder Institute Graduate companies boast an 89% survival rate, and include fast-rising startups like Udemy, Retailigence, Appota, and many more

Leading the Founder Institute’s efforts in Toronto is Kamal Hassan, the CEO of entrepreneurial management platform VentureLynx; Ilona Hassan, a fashion entrepreneur and communication specialist; and Sunil Sharma, the co-founder of Toronto-based Extreme Startups, one of Canada's leading technology accelerators.  

Unlike most incubators, who demand significant market traction from applicants, our goal is to train early stage founders, and get them ready for top later stage programs in Toronto or worldwide" - Kamal Hassan, Co-Director of the Toronto Founder Institute.

Other successful entrepreneurs who have signed on to mentor founders in the Toronto program include:

  • Adeo Ressi: Founder/CEO, Founder Institute
  • Ali Asaria: CEO, Tulip Retail
  • Ameet Shah: Studio Director, Zynga Toronto
  • Andrew D'Souza: President, Bionym
  • Ariel Garten: CEO, InteraXon
  • Brice Scheschuk: Co-founder and CFO, Wind Mobile
  • Chris Ye: Co-Founder, Uken Games
  • Farhan Thawar: VP Engineering, Pivotal Labs
  • Haroon Mirza: Entrepreneur in Residence, OMERS Ventures
  • Michael De Monte: Co-Founder, ScribbleLive
  • Wendy Robertson: Partner, Mediagenic
  • Allen Lau: Co-Founder, Wattpad
  • And many more to be announced.


We are excited to be launching Founder Institute here in Toronto given its massive international presence. With Toronto having the most diverse population in the world, and with the opportunity to attract the world’s best founders to Canada with the new Startup Visa Program, we are thrilled to be connecting into the Founder Institute’s world-class network" - says Sunil Sharma, Co-Director of the Toronto Founder Institute.

Anybody who is interested can apply today to the Toronto Founder Institute at The Final Application Deadline is on June 15th, but those who apply by the Early Application Deadline on May 25th are eligible for a variety of fellowships - including the Female Founder Fellowship, which is offered to the best overall female applicant.

                                        We hope you will join us in Toronto and launch a company in 2014.


Silicon Valley-based Founder Institute Officially Opens its Second Canadian Chapter in Toronto

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