New York Spring 2012

Entrepreneurship can only be learned by doing. In the Founder Institute, you won't "learn" how to build a business. Rather, you will build your business alongside New York's top startup experts using a proven, structured process that has helped some of the world's fastest growing companies raise over $800M in funding. 

Our 14-week, in-person program includes weekly sessions where you receive expert training and feedback, and then a series of challenging business-building assignments, office hours, group meetings, and partner discounts to help you make progress each week.  

See the schedule for the New York Spring 2012 program below.

The Final Application Deadline for the New York Spring 2012 program is 2012-02-04, and you can apply to the program at

Startup Basics and Orientation

Understand the program and startup life.

Date: 2012-02-09
Starts at: 06:00 PM

What do you need to know to be successful in the Founder Institute? What can you expect from launching a startup? What traits are required to be successful?

Vision and Values

Develop your vision and ideas.

Date: 2012-02-09
Starts at: 07:30 PM

What are you passionate about? What is your vision? How do you translate your passion and vision into a business idea? How do you brainstorm ideas? What are the tools for evaluating your ideas? What are the makings of a good idea versus a bad idea? Should you pursue multiple ideas at once, and when should you focus on one?

Startup Research

Choose your business and market.

Date: 2012-02-22
Starts at: 06:30 PM

What market are you pursuing? Is the target market big enough? Is it growing or shrinking? What are the other characteristics of your market, and why do you care? How do you find data on your market? How do you define your competitors? What are inexpensive tactics to do custom market research, such as surveys? How can you determine if you can win in your target market, and when do you decide to walk away?

Naming and Branding

Name and brand your business.

Date: 2012-02-29
Starts at: 06:30 PM

What is a brand? Is it you? Is it your vision? How do you determine what you stand for, and then how do you come up with a good company name? What are the characteristics of a good company name? What do you need to do to protect your name?

Mentor Idea Review

Review your idea with Mentors.

Date: 2012-03-14
Starts at: 06:30 PM

Can you pitch your idea in three minutes and survive the scrutiny of seasoned CEOs? How viable is the idea itself? Can you present the idea in a meaningful and articulate way? Have you done the research necessary to understand the market and prove that the idea is valid?

Startup Legal and IP

Build a legal and IP strategy.

Date: 2012-03-21
Starts at: 06:30 PM

What does a new Founder need to know about law in order to run a successful startup? When should a Founder use a lawyer, and when should you rely on your own work? What are the key terms in contracts to understand and to avoid? What are common legal mistakes? How should a Founder handle their intellectual property, including confidentiality, copyrights, trademarks and patents? What are common intellectual property problems, and how do you deal with them cost effectively?

Cofounders, Hiring and Firing

Recruit your first team members.

Date: 2012-03-28
Starts at: 06:30 PM

What talent do you need in the beginning to be successful? How do you recruit the first team members with extremely limited resources? How do you conduct a thorough interviewing process? How do you compensate? How do you set expectations, measure results and remove or fire under-performing resources? Do you need a cofounder? Do you need to have engineering in-house?

Revenues, Costs and Profits

Build a financial model.

Date: 2012-04-04
Starts at: 06:30 PM

Product Development

Plan and start building your offering.

Date: 2012-04-11
Starts at: 06:30 PM

How do you get from an idea to an offering? What are strategies to identify and prioritize features? How do you take a product definition and turn it into a development plan? What should comprise a minimum viable product? What are effective strategies to build your first offering? What are common mistakes that you should avoid when planning and building an offering?

Mentor Progress Review

Review your business with Mentors.

Date: 2012-04-25
Starts at: 06:30 PM

Can you pitch your business in three minutes and survive the scrutiny of seasoned CEOs? How viable is the business and the financial model? Can you present the business in a meaningful and articulate way? Does the business scale? Can the business survive?

Outsourcing, Partners and Suppliers

Develop a process to select key vendors.

Date: 2012-05-02
Starts at: 06:30 PM

What should you outsource, and what do you need to do in-house? How to segment the vendors that you need? What vendors do you need right when you start, and what vendors will you need as you grow? How do you recruit and select the important vendors? What are tips and tricks to manage vendors in order to ensure a consistent level of quality? How do you fire and replace under-performing vendors? What are common mistakes made when dealing with vendors?

Marketing and Sales

Identify and convey your positioning.

Date: 2012-05-09
Starts at: 06:30 PM

How do you portray yourself and your business to the world? How do you tell the story of your company? How do you define your ultimate success? How do you attract the first customers and partners to your vision? How do you involve your customers and partners in your success? What are techniques to refine your messaging?

Presentation and Publicity

Prepare for publicity.

Date: 2012-05-16
Starts at: 06:30 PM

How do you get the world to take notice of your company? What are tips and tricks to present your business? What tools do you need to succeed with outreach? How do you identify newsworthy milestones? How do you craft a successful media release? What are effective tactics to get social media, the blogosphere and traditional media to take notice? What are common media mistakes for new companies?


Plan to raise your first round.

Date: 2012-05-23
Starts at: 06:30 PM

When is it realistic to raise capital for a brand new company? How should you calculate the amount of money to raise? How should you define the use use of proceeds? What materials are required to fundraise? How do you identify and qualify target angel and seed stage investors? How do you find a lead investor? What do investors expect from the company? What are typical investment structures and deal terms for seed-stage financing? How do you negotiate terms?


Prepare to succeed after the Institute.

Date: 2012-05-30
Starts at: 06:30 PM

How do you ensure success after Graduation? Who will lead the alumni community, and what are the plans following graduation? The Graduation is the beginning of an exciting period for Founders, where an idea becomes reality. Congratulations!

Post Program Resources

The 3.5 month Founder Institute semester is just the beginning. We have developed extensive support programs and resources for our Graduates that far exceed any other comparable startup program.


FI Graduates
  • Dedicated support contact in Silicon Valley
  • Private Grad mailing lists
  • Access to 7500+ mentors
  • $2M+ in partner discounts
  • Invites to FI sessions & network events (FounderX)
  • Economic upside in Liquidity Pool


Founder Lab
  • Dedicated fundraising coach in Silicon Valley
  • Access to shared database of investors & advisors
  • Pitch deck editing/ feedback
  • Virtual training sessions
  • Assistance on building investor pipeline & term sheet negotiation


Select Portfolio
  • Deal syndication across Founder Angels lists
  • Facilitated introductions to investors & advisors
  • Virtual Demo Days
  • Office Hours with FI team
  • Elite partner deals
  • Business development & PR assistance