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Montreal Virtual 2021

At the Founder Institute, you won't "learn" how to build a business. Rather, you will build your business alongside top startup experts using a proven, structured process that has helped some of the world's fastest growing companies raise over $1 billion. 

Our core program includes a series of challenging growth sprints, in addition to Weekly Feedback Sessions where you will receive constant feedback on your progress from experienced Mentors and Investors. 

See the schedule for the Montreal Virtual 2021 program below.

The Final Application Deadline for the Montreal Virtual 2021 program is Jul 25, 2021, and you can apply to the program at FI.co/join.


Meet the cohort & learn our methodology

Date: Aug 11, 2021
Starts at: 06:30 pm (America/New_York)

This is where it all begins. During Orientation, we will review the Founder Institute program structure, methodology, tools, and requirements. You will meet the cohort and establish how your startup will use the program to push your business forward.


During Orientation, your cohort will be split up into the “Launch Track” or “Growth Track”, depending on the stage your business. The "Launch Track" focuses earlier Founders and teams on validation and go-to-markets, while the "Growth Track" focuses teams with a live product and customers on traction and funding. 

The below deliverables are in addition to any custom "Epic Sprints" you may receive based on your specific challenges, and below is a small sample of the deliverables you’ll complete through Working Groups and Office Hours:


Launch Track Deliverables

  1. Progress - Outline your business ideas and any testing or progress made to date. 
  2. Hotseat Pitch - Prepare a one minute verbal pitch for the weekly “Founder Hotseat”, where you present to Mentors during the Feedback Sessions. Start with our one-sentence pitch template, and if you do not have a final idea yet, describe yourself and a field that you are passionate about and uniquely qualified to build a business around.
  3. Co-Founders - If you are looking for a Co-Founder, create a basic description of what you are looking for, and this will be shared with the rest of your cohort.


Growth Track Deliverables

  1. Program Goals - Outline the monthly objectives your team wants to achieve during the four month Core Program.
  2. Key Performance Indicators - Outline the KPIs that you are currently using to track success. Analyze the validity of these metrics, and create a plan to share updated metrics and progress with your Local Leaders every week in the program.
  3. Hotseat Pitch - Prepare a one minute verbal pitch for the weekly “Founder Hotseat”, where you present to Mentors during the Feedback Sessions. Start with our one-sentence pitch template, followed by why your team is uniquely qualified to execute your business and the progress that you’ve made to date.

Pitching & Startup Story-Telling

Craft your story & Build your pitch deck

Date: Aug 12, 2021
Starts at: 06:30 pm (America/New_York)


Define a strong business vision

Date: Aug 18, 2021
Starts at: 06:30 pm (America/New_York)

In each weekly Feedback Session, Founders will pitch and outline their progress to the Mentors for feedback, and get tips and insights on the week's topic. This week you'll get tips on how to develop a strong vision for your business.  


Below are just a few of the 10-15 deliverables you’ll complete through Working Groups and Office Hours:


Launch Track Deliverables

  1. Ideation - Catalogue the ideas that you are interested in pursuing, or examine different variations of the current business you are pursuing.
  2. Initial Interviews - Using our templates, interview at least 15 people that have knowledge of the customer problems or may be potential customers themselves.
  3. Market Research - Utilize our market research template to collect accurate and available market information on the customer problems you are analyzing. 


Growth Track Deliverables

  1. Customer Interviews - Using our templates, interview at least 15 customers. If you already have done extensive customer development then outline your current findings and identify areas that require deeper understanding.
  2. Identify Unknowns - Document a detailed understanding of the main customer problem, and fill any required gaps in your customer knowledge. 
  3. Visioneering - Describe what your business will look like when it has $100 million in annual revenues, including the vision, culture, and main revenue stream, and outline at least 5 steps that need to happen for your company to reach that goal.

Customer Development

Analyze your customer feedback

Date: Aug 25, 2021
Starts at: 06:30 pm (America/New_York)

Prototyping, A/B Testing

Develop a Design Process to Test Ideas

Date: Sep 01, 2021
Starts at: 06:30 pm (America/New_York)


Validate a scalable revenue model

Date: Sep 08, 2021
Starts at: 06:30 pm (America/New_York)

Branding & Design

Get feedback on branding & design

Date: Sep 15, 2021
Starts at: 06:30 pm (America/New_York)

In this session, Mentors will analyze your existing branding and design, and also discuss how to develop an enduring brand and great user experiences.  


Below are just a few of the 10-15 deliverables you’ll complete through Working Groups and Office Hours: 


Launch Track Deliverables

  1. Competitor Branding - Analyze and compare the name and branding of at least 15 companies with a competing offering, in a related industry, or with a similar value proposition in a different industry.
  2. Name Brainstorming - Use combinations of your naming words to develop a series of business names for the review of your peers and Directors.
  3. Name Research - Research the availability of the combined words as a domain name and list the ones that are most available.


Growth Track Deliverables

  1. Branding Expert - Leverage the FI Network to set up meetings with industry experts to get feedback about your name, branding, and customer experience. 
  2. Close Sales - Follow-up on your previous sales activities, and measure the time allocated, conversion rates, financial spending and other metrics for each activity. Your goal is to convert new sales and/or show quantifiable traction before the Mentor Idea Review. 
  3. Idea Review Pitch Deck - Finalize your 3-minute pitch deck for the Mentor Idea Review, using our templates and guidelines. Practice the pitch at least five times with your peers, and revise it based on feedback. Upload a final video on the deliverables page.  

Mentor Idea Review

Test the core business on a mentor panel

Date: Sep 22, 2021
Starts at: 06:30 pm (America/New_York)

Legal & IP

Review your legal infrastructure

Date: Sep 29, 2021
Starts at: 06:30 pm (America/New_York)

Go-to-Market & Scale

Improve your strategy to launch or scale

Date: Oct 06, 2021
Starts at: 06:30 pm (America/New_York)

Product Development

Get feedback on your product roadmap

Date: Oct 13, 2021
Starts at: 06:30 pm (America/New_York)

Product Development with Artificial Intelligence

Get feedback on your product roadmap

Date: Oct 20, 2021
Starts at: 06:30 pm (America/New_York)

Hiring & Onboarding

Improve your team and hiring

Date: Oct 27, 2021
Starts at: 06:30 pm (America/New_York)

In this Feedback Session, Founders will receive feedback from Mentors on their team plans and product progress. In addition, Mentors will discuss how to identify the roles needed to build a world-class company, how to develop a strategy to recruit, onboard and retain the best people, and more. 



Below are just a few of the 10-15 deliverables you’ll complete through Working Groups and Office Hours: 

  1. Candidates - Search for candidates to hire (including Co-Founders) by identifying everyone that you know who is appropriate, or leveraging the FI network, to fill the top two or three roles you are not planning to outsource.
  2. Hiring Process - Develop a hiring and onboarding process using our guidelines to add team members into your organization, and begin executing on the process.
  3. Test Projects - Develop at least one test project for each of your top two or three roles, which should create opportunities for credible candidates to demonstrate their skills.
  4. Advisor Review - Arrange a meeting or phone call with at least one of your advisors to discuss your hiring work. Present everything that you have done, and incorporate their feedback into your planning.
  5. Time Allocation - Meticulously outline your “founder’s schedule” by allocating weekly blocks of time to address your core business activities, providing you with uninterrupted time to work on each activity.
  6. (Optional) Fundraising - If you don’t have sufficient capital to run the company for the next few months, then follow our guides to start a preparing documentation and research for a funding round.  


Establish a scalable engine for growth

Date: Nov 03, 2021
Starts at: 06:30 pm (America/New_York)

In this session, Mentors will provide Founders with feedback on their current growth, metrics, and strategy. Mentors will discuss various growth tactics, setting growth goals and milestones, communicating your startup’s growth progress and setbacks with stakeholders and advisors, and more. 



Below are just a few of the 10-15 assignments you’ll complete through Working Groups and Office Hours:

  1. Growth Plan Update - Review the performance of your growth goals and adjust your growth plan to improve your performance and accountability.
  2. Sales - Pursue aggressive goals to close new revenue or users, which may be signups, payments, a signed contract, a pre-payment or a signed letter of intent.
  3. Growth Tactics - Work with your working group and advisors to brainstorm 15 new ideas to increase the top of your funnel, and provide a bulleted list of these Growth Tactics.
  4. Pivot - Consider a pivot if you are not meeting your growth goals, sales, product or hiring progress targets. If you decide to Pivot, schedule a call with one of your Local Leaders to discuss your proposed pivot in the business and do the same with your advisors.
  5. Hiring Channels - Review all of the candidates that have come through the various recruiting outreach channels and other activities, and identify the most effective channels.
  6. Post-Program Onboarding - Review FI's post-program resources, and work with your cohort on a monthly meeting schedule where you will continue to meet, provide updates, and share learnings on your progress. 

Mentor Progress Review

Test your progress on a mentor panel

Date: Nov 10, 2021
Starts at: 06:30 pm (America/New_York)

Similar to the Mentor Idea Review, the Mentor Progress Review is the second major test in the program. In this session, Founders will focus on give a long presentation their progress and traction to a panel of Mentors for a detailed review. Mentors will evaluate Founders based on their progress in the program, the company’s scalability, and more.



Below are just a few of the 10-15 deliverables you’ll complete through Working Groups and Office Hours: 

  1. Polished Investor Pitch Deck - Create an expanded, 12-slide pitch deck incorporating any feedback from the Mentor Progress Review, using our templates. 
  2. Growth - Make progress on your growth goals, and examine or adjust how your strategy and the system to keep yourself accountable is performing.
  3. Product - Make progress on your next product release, and outline and address any of the setbacks that you have faced with your project team.
  4. Hiring Needs - Score the progress of each member of your project team on a 1 to 10 scale, including yourself, and set up plans to improve those that are struggling. 
  5. Finalize Advisory Board - Set up your advisory board with startup, industry, technology or marketing advisors, and set up a one hour conference call with all of the them, which will be your first quarterly advisory board meeting.
  6. Financial Model Update - Review and update your financial model with the work done to date. Adjust the revenue projections based on your growth thus far, and evaluate the need and requirements for external funding. 

Startup Bootstrapping: Putting Revenue Before Fundraising

The Pros and Cons about Bootstrapping

Date: Nov 17, 2021
Starts at: 06:30 pm (America/New_York)

In this session, mentors will share their experience on the pros and cons about startup bootstrapping. What is bootstapping? What are the main sources of funding for bootstrapping (loans, grants, revenue from sales, savings)? What are the benefits of bootstrapping? How founders must prepare themselves to bootsrap? What are the downsides of startup bootstrapping? How can bootstrapping help you retain more equity for your company? If founders raise too early from private investors, can it hurt a business? 

Equity & Funding: Angel Investors

Fix any impediments to fundraising

Date: Nov 24, 2021
Starts at: 06:30 pm (America/New_York)

In this session, Mentors will analyze Founder pitches from the perspective of an investor, identifying any remaining issues or areas for improvement. Mentors will also cover numerous topics related to fundraising, including different fundraising options, how to raise funding, and more. 


Below are just a few of the 10-15 deliverables you’ll complete through Working Groups and Office Hours:

  1. Minimum Victory Condition - Work with your Local Leaders to establish your “Victory Condition” to achieve before the “Impact Deadline” (three months after the program ends), and add it to your business calendar.
  2. Advisor Strategy - Set up a call with each of your advisors and briefly review your “Victory Condition”, the funding strategy, hiring plan, sales plan and product plan.
  3. Use of Proceeds - Examine the capital needs of the business, and extend your financial model to project revenues and expenses for a total of 24 months from now.
  4. Final Investor Pitch Deck - Refine your investor pitch deck, and update it with all of your work to date, including details from your various plans. Test the presentation on peers and Directors and upload it to the FI site for review. 
  5. Deal Room - Create a Deal Room for future investors that includes relevant files like 'Company' documents with legal, 'Pitch Deck', 'Team' bios, 'Board Materials,' 'Financials,' 'Sales' information, 'Marketing' materials and 'Intellectual Property.'
  6. Target List - Identify local Angel Investors and Seed Accelerators, ignoring Venture Capitalists and Seed Funds. The Target List should include at least 100 local angels, 25 regional and 50 global seed accelerators, using our guidelines.

Equity & Funding: Venture Capital Funds

Prepare to fundraise from investors

Date: Dec 01, 2021
Starts at: 06:30 pm (America/New_York)


Celebrate & onboard to our post-programs

Date: Jan 26, 2022
Starts at: 06:30 pm (America/New_York)

Completing the Founder Institute is an honor. The program is challenging, and the expectations are demanding.

In this final session, you will celebrate with your peers, friends and family, as well as select Mentors. Some Founders will also pitch to a live audience, and you will officially onboard to all of the post-program resources and assistance the Founder Institute provides.

Post Program Resources

The 4 month Core-Program is just the beginning. We have developed extensive support programs and resources for our Alumni that far exceed any other comparable startup program.

Continued Support

FI Alumni
  • Dedicated Alumni Support Team in Silicon Valley
  • Access to the world's largest network of mentors and investors (20,000+)
  • Private Alumni mailing lists
  • $2M+ in partner discounts
  • Invites to FI sessions & network events
  • Economic upside in the Equity Collective


Founder Lab
  • A series of virtual advisory programs where you work with our Silicon Valley HQ team to reach next milestones
  • Funding Lab helps get your lead investor within 6 months
  • P/M Fit Lab helps you get to Product Market Fit
  • Venture Lab helps you close a Series-A round
  • 100% customized and FREE for Alumni