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FI Core Program

Since 2009, our flagship program has combined structured sprints with constant feedback to help you reach the milestones needed for investment and growth.

Action, not Theory

Learn by doing with real-world business-building sprints. No theoretical 'homework' here.

Constant Feedback

Make the right decisions with weekly Feedback Sessions, Office Hours and Working Groups.

Accountability

Weekly ratings, reviews, and milestones to push you farther, faster.

Washington DC Fall 2022

Virtual First
Final Deadline
Oct 30, 2022
Entrance Fee
$999
Founder Image

For Serious Founders at the Earliest Stages

FI Core is designed for founders at the pre-seed stage: including idea-stage founders, solo founders, small teams, and companies that are pre-funding.

We work with founders before they are ready to do a seed-accelerator (like Techstars) or raise funding from professional investors.

Tailored to Your Needs

Since different founders have different needs, the 4- month Core Program is split into tracks with unique milestones and sprints. Founders also get sprints specifically designed to address their unique business challenges.

Typical FI Applicants ("Pre-Seed Stage")

Idea-Stage

Just have an idea
May still be FT employed

Team / MVP

FT Team
Testing a prototype/ MVP

Company

Live product with customers, some revenue

Launch Track

Earlier founders focus on (1) Validation, (2) Team & Co-Founders, and (3) Go-To-Market

Growth Track

Later founders/ teams focus on (1) Traction, and (2) Investment Preparation.

What You'll Accomplish

The bar for graduating varies by individual, business, and stage. Some founders raise funding in the program, but at the very least you can expect to leave the program with the following:

Launch Track

Fully Validated Business Idea & Vision
Significant Progress on Team
Significant Progress on Product
Investor-friendly Corporation
Formal Business Advisors
Clear Milestones & Actionable Next Steps

Growth Track

Significant KPI Growth
Investment-ready Pitch Deck
Diligence-ready Business
Fully Validated Product & Team Roadmap
Formal Advisory Board
Clear Milestones & Actionable Next Steps

Build a fundable business in Washington DC

Over 75 Core Programs are accepting applications worldwide, including the Washington DC program.

Over $1.75BN in Funding Raised by FI Alumni

The Founder Institute’s global scale and number of successful Alumni is truly unprecedented.

The Core Experience

You don't have to do it alone. Alongside other like-minded entrepreneurs, you will build your business in a structured, proven process.

Proven Process to Build Quickly & Cheaply

In development since 2009
Updated frequently based on global feedback

Highly Structured and Sequential

Clear growth sprints with weekly deliverables
Engineered to reduce complexity and help you focus

Constant Feedback from Mentors

14 Weekly Feedback Sessions and Office Hours on your pitch, progress, and data to help you make the right decisions.

No More "Analysis Paralysis"

Our process removes uncertainty and helps you focus on the right things in a sequential fashion.

Weekly Focus
1. Orientation
2. Vision
3. Customer Development
4. Revenue
5. Branding & Design
6. Mentor Idea Review
7. Legal & IP
8. Go-to-Market & Scale
9. Product Development
10. Mentor Progress Review
11. Hiring & Onboarding
12. Growth
13. Equity & Funding
14. Graduation
Sprints
Pitching
Customer Development
Leadership Development
Sales & Customer Acquisition
Product Development
Revenue Modeling
Legal & IP
Branding & Design
Financial Planning
Team & Advisors
Fundraising
Post-Program Onboarding
Pitching
Customer Development
Leadership Development
Investor Diligence Preparation
KPIs and Growth Strategy
Generating Traction
Legal & IP Diligence
Branding & Design Audit
Technical Diligence
Advisory Board & External Vali
Fundraising Preparation
Post-Program Onboarding

Join an Online Information Session

Sign up for an upcoming info session to learn more and chat with our team. There are several sessions per week across most time zones.

Feedback from Top Mentors & Advisors

Build your startup alongside dozens of Mentors that have built, led, or invested in high-growth companies.

Mark Ein

Founder , Venture House Group

John Holaday

Chairman and CEO, DisposeRx Inc.

Chris Haug

Founder and CEO, 360° Venture Management Group

Aydin Bolkar

VP of International Operations, Alarm.com
2.5% Contributions
0.5%
Mentors
1%
Local Leaders
1%
FI HQ

A Network Invested in Your Success

When incentives are aligned, great things happen. That's why we developed a groundbreaking "Equity Collective" to establish a large network of exeperts that are invested in your success for the long haul.

When you succeed, everyone succeeds.

A Lifetime of Support

After FI Core, we are here to help at every stage of your startup journey. No hidden costs, additional contracts, or surprise subscription fees.

Standard Alumni Benefits

Alumni immediately join the world's largest network of mentors and advisors, and get access to private events, Office Hours, and partner discounts totaling $2M+ in value.

Founder Lab

After completing FI Core, Alumni get free access to a series of additional virtual advisory programs to guide them towards their next major business milestones.

FI Venture Network

When ready, Alumni get featured on events and syndicated to a diverse pool of investors actively participating in a startup's first or second round of funding.

'Wantrapreneurs' need not apply

FI is hard, because building a great business is much, much harder.

Our Admissions Process is designed to accept only high-potential entrepreneurs, and then less than 40% of accepted founders are able to graduate, by design.

To complete the program, you must:

Keep up with the pace of the program by completing the weekly Growth Sprints, designed to take an average of 20 hours per week.
Meet a minimum ratings threshold from the program's Mentors, Local Leaders, and Peers. Every week your progress and strategy are rated and reviewed.
If you have not already, form a corporation that is investment-friendly (ex. a Delaware C-Corp in the U.S.).
Participants can drop out before the third program session for a full refund. If you drop out after that you can join the next cohort and try again.

The Time is Now

When the world changes, entrepreneurs are best positioned to take advantage and build the future, but only if they move quickly to respond to changing customer needs. The Founder Institute is designed to help you do just that. Apply to FI Core today.

Frequently Asked Questions

It all starts with our Core FI Program. Apply to the Washington DC program here, or check FI.co/enrolling for other options.

There is a one-time Entrance Fee to start the FI Core Program, with ZERO fees thereafter. This fee is 100% refundable before the 3rd session of the program, so you can make an educated decision on whether or not FI is right for you. According to geolocation we think you are in the Washington DC region, which has an Entrance Fee of $999 USD.

When incentives are aligned, great things happen. That is why FI developed a groundbreaking 'Equity Collective' where your program Leaders, Mentors, and FI HQ are vested in the success of your business - for the long term.

Learn more about the Equity Collective at FI.co/equity.

Our agreements have always been public and freely available at FI.co/agreements.

Yes! Please attend an upcoming Info Session to hear an overview of our programs and chat with our team.

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Apply to FI Core

Join the world's largest pre-seed startup accelerator

The Founder Institute is the world’s most proven network to turn ideas into fundable startups, and startups into global businesses. Since 2009, our structured accelerator programs have helped over 6,000 entrepreneurs raise over $1.75BN in funding. Based in Silicon Valley and with chapters across 95 countries, our mission is to empower communities of talented and motivated people to build impactful technology companies worldwide.


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