Entrepreneur DNA Assessment

The Founder Institute was launched in 2009 with a mission to empower talented and motivated entrepreneurs to launch enduring businesses.

To manage thousands of applications at scale, FI worked with leading social scientists to develop an objective 'Entrepreneur DNA Assessment' that predicts the likelihood that someone can become a successful founder of a fast-growth company - regardless of their idea, locale, or demographic.


Tech companies launched


Applicants across 6 continents

Decoding the DNA

Great companies start with great people, so the Founder Institute has been researching the personality traits that correlate with building great companies since 2009.

To date, over 175,000 people have applied, and over 7,000 companies have been launched through FI programs.

Psychographic Testing

Rather than subjectively judging startup ideas, the admissions criteria for the FI accelerator is an online battery of tests that quantifies the greatest variable in startup success: the founder(s).

Pre-Seed Accelerator

Accepted founders join an intense 4-month accelerator to launch a startup. Each week they get ratings on their progress from peers, program leaders, and experienced mentors.

Track Market Performance

After graduation, the FI Portfolio Support team continues rating the founders on their company performance 'in the real world', with all data fed back into the weighting of the assessment.

Analyze and Calibrate

Through a flow of continous data, regression analysis from PhDs, and frequent test updates, FI has built and can maintain a statistically validated test for identifying the highest potential entrepreneurs.

What we evaluate

The Entrepreneur DNA Assessment, which was formed utilizing our own data and extensive peer-reviewed literature, analyzes 25 dimensions of entrepreneurship. Below are just a few.


Can you work effectively in the context of a team?


Are you resilient and intrinsically motivated to succeed?


Are you a self-starter that takes initiative in unclear environments?

Problem Solving

Can you learn quickly and apply that learning to solve complex problems?

... and 21 more traits.

Entrepreneur DNA Report

Applicants to the Founder Institute pre-seed accelerator can get a free Entrepreneur DNA Report Preview immediately after completing the assessment.

The assessment only takes about 30 minutes, and your Report Preview will highlight the personality traits you possess that will help you be a strong entrepreneur, the traits that may hinder you, and how you compare to the average scores of 175,000+ applicants worldwide.

Entrepreneue Report Image

The Founder Institute appears to have developed an assessment that any population, any city, university, or country could use to determine who among them has the best shot at succeeding as an entrepreneur.

What Makes a Good Entrepreneur?

We have found many traits that correlate positively with entrepreneurship. Here is a sampling of some major traits:

Professional Experience

You don't have to drop out of college to be a successful founder. Our data shows that 34+ year-olds with domain expertise and management experience have the advantage.

High Fluid Intelligence

Can you quickly learn a rule set and apply it to solve a novel problem? With a constantly changing playing field, founders must recognize patterns and quickly adapt to survive.

High Openness

Are you constantly seeking new experiences and knowledge? Does your curiosity cause you to challenge accepted norms? The best entrepreneurs seek change - not the status quo.

Moderate Agreeableness

Can you balance cooperation with antagonism? Are you generally warm and considerate, but straightforward and harsh when necessary? The best equipped founders are flexible.

Bad Founder DNA

Some traits can limit you as an entrepreneur. For example:

Predatory Aggressiveness



Emotional Instability


Irrelevant DNA

Some major traits have no correlation with entrepreneurship, such as:


As surprising as it may sound, we have seen no correlation between I.Q. and founder success. So much so, we removed I.Q. from our assessment several versions ago.


Conscientiousness measures the responsibility and industriousness of a candidate, but we have not seen a strong correlation with success.

Typical Entrepreneur DNA Profiles

Working with social scientists, we analyzed the assessment scores for successful founders. The majority of these founders fit into nine main 'personality profiles'

The Hustler

The Hustler

This person is a go-getter. With an outgoing personality and a presence that exudes confidence, they can sell just about anything.

The Innovator

The Innovator

Armed with an adventurous and forward-thinking attitude, Innovators are all about experimenting with the old and exploring the new.

The Machine

The Machine

Equipped with a strong sense of duty and an aptitude for solving problems, The Machine always delivers a product on schedule.

The Prodigy

The Prodigy

The Prodigy is blessed with an inherent business sense and instinct, and leverages these skills across all facets.

The Strategist

The Strategist

A creative and tactical thinker, The Strategist is always coming up with effective and efficient game plans.

The Visionary

The Visionary

The Visionary is constantly on the lookout for new and innovative ideas, and devising new ways to put them into action.

The Architect

The Architect

With thoughtful planning and disciplined thinking, Architects have a natural ability to execute on great visions.

The Inventor

The Inventor

Inventors are constantly uncovering unique market insights that keep them one step ahead of the competition.

The Achiever

The Achiever

The Achiever simply refuses to lose, and will work night and day to ensure that they don't.

Take the Assessment

Take the Assessment

Apply to the Washington DC Founder Institute and immediately get your Entrepreneur DNA Report Preview

Learn More

Learn More

Learn more about our 14+ years of research on Entrepreneur DNA

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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