Ottawa Spring 2017
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 Ottawa'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 Ottawa Spring 2017 program below.
The Final Application Deadline for the Ottawa Spring 2017 program is 2017-04-02, and you can apply to the program at FI.co/join.
This is where it all begins. During Orientation, we will review the Founder Institute program structure, curriculum, tools, and requirements in detail. In addition, you will identify mentors that can help you get the most out of the program, meet the other founders in your cohort, and learn more about their ideas and skillsets. Assignments for this session include creating a plan to complete the program, watching recommended Founder Institute training videos, and more.
The best startup ideas are formed from the intersection of a real customer problem and your personal strengths and passions. During this session, you will learn how to form, communicate, and analyze startup ideas in a structured manner. By the end of the week, you will form and analyze several business ideas (or three variations of the same idea) that you could realistically spend the next 20 years working on, and begin interviewing potential customers about their problems.
Large and fast growing markets have the power to elevate mediocre companies into greatness, and conversely, dying markets can doom otherwise solid companies. In this session, you’ll learn how to systematically research your market and gain a deep understanding of your target customer. Assignments include competitive research, defining your key business assumptions, interviewing additional potential customers, and more.
Your naming and positioning are the starting point for all of your company’s marketing. In this session, you will learn the components of great company names, and how to position your product effectively in the eyes of the consumer. By the end of the week, you will brainstorm and analyze a variety of names, and then select a final name after performing more customer research. In addition, you will build your first pitch deck, and begin interviewing law firms for your company.
The Mentor Idea Review is the first major test in the Founder Institute Program. During this session, every founder presents a three minute pitch to a large number of entrepreneur and CEO mentors for evaluation and feedback. These mentors will grade you on many criteria, such as the validity and market potential of your ideas, and your understanding of your target customer. After the session, you will incorporate their feedback into your planning, begin to set up your company and marketing infrastructure, and more.
Great companies start with great people. In this session, you will learn how to identify the key hiring needs for your company, how to recruit key hires like Co-Founders (even if you can’t offer any salary), and the best practices for equity allocation amongst a startup workforce. Assignments include identifying and contacting potential advisors, building a hiring strategy and pipeline, starting your first “product sprint”, and more.
Similar to the "Mentor Idea Review", this is the second major test in the program. In the “Mentor Progress Review”, you will present a three minute pitch to a large number of mentors for feedback and evaluation, focusing on aspects like your recent progress and product planning. Afterwards, you will incorporate their feedback into your pitch deck, revenue, hiring, and product plans, begin forming the advisory board for your company, and more.
Quickly releasing a product is critical towards getting the feedback you need to build a successful company. This week, top product-oriented entrepreneurs will teach you the basics of product development, and how to advance from an idea to an offering on a budget. Assignments include additional customer development, determining the key features to prioritize with your product, building a product roadmap and “first release” plan, and more.
If you can’t get customers to use and pay for your product, then nothing else matters. During the session, you will learn how to “hustle” to identify and close your first customers from entrepreneurs that have done it before. Then, you will put everything you have built to the test, by releasing your first product (if you have not already), securing your first (or new) customers, testing different pricing, and more.
Most people that enter the program do not make it to Graduation, because the Founder Institute curriculum is very demanding. However, the select few that Graduate have achieved several years of progress on their startup in just a few months. We typically celebrate the Graduating class with a small event attended by family members, mentors, investors, and more. Afterwards, Graduates gain access to the Founder Institute network, tools, and ongoing resources… and the real work of building and growing an enduring company begins!
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.
- 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
- 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
- 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