virtual founder institute programs


Virtual Program FAQ


The Founder Institute is committed to providing the highest quality pre-seed accelerator program in the world, while also ensuring the health of our participates. 

Founders in many online programs are joining interactive feedback sessions with mentors over Zoom, collaborating with their cohort via Slack, leveraging our newly released Virtual Office Hours Tools to speak privately with mentors, using our existing backend course tools to build their business, and getting access to new virtual networking and learning opportunities.

Below is a collection of answers to the most common questions we are receiving about our Virtual programs.


Is a virtual program as good as an in-person program?

We have already transitioned the program to virtual in 70+ cities around the globe (including our flagship Silicon Valley program), and the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. In addition, virtual is nothing new for us (our Post-Programs have been fully virtual since 2016). 

If anything, Founders in our virtual programs receive even more opportunities for collaboration, relationship building, and feedback when building their startup, such as;

  1. More Office Hours Opportunities with Local Leaders and Mentors, using our newly built Office Hours scheduling tools.
  2. Access to bonus networking and educational online events, where they can meet entrepreneurs, mentors, and investors from across the globe.
  3. Fast Track to our Post-Programs ("Founder Lab"), where you can work closely with our Silicon Valley HQ virtually to reach advanced milestones like raising a seed round of funding for your business.  
  4. Free and unlimited global program access for life. In the future, FI Alumni can attend any in-person program session in any city around the world at anytime (including any future in-person program in your city). 

Since the program is virtual, can I apply to and attend any program?

We reserve the majority of spots in every program for local participants.  While the sessions may be virtual, building a local network remains a large benefit of the program.

Therefore, if you apply to a program other than the program in your local area we reserve the right to transfer your application to the program located closer to you.


Aren't economic downturns a bad time to start a company?

No. In fact, they are great time to start a company, and this is not just conjecture: the Founder Institute was founded in April 2009, during the "Great Recession". 

During a recession and times of economic uncertainty, large companies will move slow, talent is readily available, and the normal costs of real estate/ goods/ services is significantly lower. In fact, many of the world's largest tech companies used these benefits to their advantage to launch and get traction during an economic downturn, such as Apple, Microsoft, IBM, Udemy, etc.

Be fearful when others are greedy, and be greedy when others are fearful" - Warren Buffet 

See more info on why a recession is a great time to launch a startup.



Will I still be able to connect with mentors and other founders?

Yes. In addition to meeting your Mentors and fellow Founders on the weekly virtual sessions (which will take place on Zoom), you will get dedicated Slack channels and Zoom Rooms to effectively leverage working groups, access to one-on-one Office Hours, and more.

Virtual programs have also opened the opportunity for more networking across cities and countries, so we now host regular global networking sessions as well. 


Should I wait until the next cohort to have the in-person experience?

That is a personal decision, and we are happy to defer your acceptance to a future cohort. However, please keep in mind that we cannot guarantee when the next cohort will take place, or if that cohort will be in-person or virtual again. 

Keep in mind that all FI Graduates can attend any future in-person program session in any city around the world (including any future in-person program in your city).


What if I don't think a virtual program is right for me?

In our opinion, COVID-19 has fundamentally changed how the world does business. We have entered a "new normal", where remote networking, management, and collaboration will play a significantly larger role than before the pandemic. 

Even if you don't think a virtual FI program is right for you, we strongly recommend you adapt to doing business and collaborating remotely (you likely will have no choice). 


How can I get answers to more questions?

We understand you may have questions, so we have many options for you to get them answered. You can check our general program FAQ, or get in touch with us in any of the following ways:

  1. Join an Online Information Session.
  2. Join a Q&A Conference Call.
  3. Join an upcoming event.
  4. Reply to any email you have received from us and you will receive a prompt response.