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.

Proven Methodology

Our process helps you build a fundable business faster, and cheaper. No theoretical 'homework' here.

Constant Feedback

Weekly Feedback Sessions, Office Hours and Working Groups ensure that you move quickly, and smartly.

Supportive Network

You don't have to do it alone! Immediately get a team of supporters that are invested in your success.

Eastern Europe Fall 2024

Virtual First
Early Deadline
Aug 25, 2024
Final Deadline
Sep 29, 2024
Entrance Fee
€349 €449 after Early Deadline
Founder Image

For Serious Founders at the Earliest Stages

FI Core is designed for founders at the pre-seed stage: including idea-stage founders, first-time founders, people making the leap from employee to entrepreneur, and small teams that are pre-funding.

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

Tailored to Your Needs

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

Typical FI Applicants ("Pre-Seed Stage")


Solo / First-time Founders
May still have FT jobs


Initial validation/ proof of concept
Early prototypes/ MVPs


FT Founders/ Co-Founders
Advanced/ Validated MVPs
Users and first revenue


FT Team
Commercially viable product
Repeatable revenue
Validate Track logo

Validate Track

The earliest founders focus on (1) Iteration, (2), Validation, and (3) De-Risking before going "all-in".
Launch Track logo

Launch Track

Intermediate founders/ teams focus on (1) Team-Building, (2) First Traction, and (3) Product Development.
Traction Track logo

Traction Track

Advanced founders/ teams focus on (1) Scalable Growth, 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:

Validate Track logo

Validate Track

Validated Business Idea & Vision
Initial Team-Building
Investor-Friendly Corporation
Formal Business Advisors
Clear Milestones & Launch Path
Launch Track logo

Launch Track

Significant Progress on Team
Significant Progress on Product
First Growth Engines
Formal Advisory Board
Clear Milestones & Path to Investment
Traction Track logo

Traction Track

Investment-Ready Pitch Deck
Diligence-Ready Business
Initial Product-Market Fit
Scalable Growth Engines
Start Fundraising

Build a fundable business in Eastern Europe

Over 75 Core Programs are accepting applications worldwide, including the Eastern Europe 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

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. Accelerator Kickoff
2. Vision & Mission
3. Customer Development
4. Revenue & Business Models
5. Pitch Mastery
6. Mentor Idea Review
7. Legal & Equity
8. Go-to-Market & Scale
9. Product Development
10. Investor Progress Review
11. Co-Founders & Team
12. Growth
13. Funding
14. Graduation
Customer Development
Revenue Modeling
Legal & IP
Financial Planning
Team & Advisors
Product Development
Post-Program Onboarding
Customer Development
Leadership Development
Sales & Customer Acquisition
Product Development
Revenue Modeling
Legal & IP
Branding & Design
Financial Planning
Team & Advisors
Fundraising Prep
Post-Program Onboarding
Customer Development
Leadership Development
Investor Diligence Preparation
KPIs and Growth Strategy
Generating Traction
Legal & IP Diligence
Branding & Design Audit
Technical Diligence
Advisory Board & External Validation
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.

Anil Pillai Dr.

Founder and CEO, Buyer Brain

Ivaylo Hristov

Founder, DEV.BG

Ioan Cocan

Managing Partner, Tremend

Xenia Muntean

Founder, Planable
2.5% Contributions
Local Leaders

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.

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 'Revenue & Business Models' session (Oct 29, 2024) 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 Eastern Europe program here, or check 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 'Revenue & Business Models' session (Oct 29, 2024) 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 Eastern Europe region, which has an Entrance Fee of €349 EUR by Aug 25, 2024 (€449 EUR after Aug 25, 2024).

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

Our agreements have always been public and freely available at

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


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 7,000 entrepreneurs raise over $1.75BN in funding. Based in Silicon Valley and with chapters across 100 countries, our mission is to empower communities of talented and motivated people to build impactful technology companies worldwide.

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