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The Equity Collective

Since 2009, the Founder Institute has utilized a unique "Equity Collective" model to align financial incentives and ensure long term support for our Alumni throughout the entire lifecycle of their business.

More than just a series of classes, FI is invested in your success and your community's success by literally aligning our business model with your company's achievements for the long term.

How it works


About 2/3 of the way through each program, companies pledge 2.5% of their future equity in the form of a Warrant.


From that 2.5% share, any future financial returns from a liquidity event (for example, an IPO or acquisition) are distributed back to those who helped you, with the majority returned to your local ecosystem to support local growth.

0.5 % Mentors
For providing feedback and guidance both during and after the Core Program.
1 % FI HQ
For providing assistance for years to come.
1 % Local Leaders
For running the local program and building the FI community.
Please note that Founders do not sign the Warrants to join the Equity Collective at the start of the Core Program. Instead, you will be asked to join approximately two-thirds of the way through the program (Nov 20, 2024 for the Washington DC Fall 2024 cohort), allowing you to fully understand the value the Founder Institute Network provides before committing equity in your business.

Why Shared Equity?

There are several benefits to the Founder Institute's Equity Collective model.

Build a Large Support Group

Most individual startup advisors receive between .25%-1% of your company. The FI Equity Collective allows you to immediately build a network of 40+ helpful Local Leaders, Mentors, and FI HQ Staff that are financially incentivized to help and support your growth for the long term. When you're successful, everyone that helps you receives financial upside.

Support Your Community

To encourage local startup community growth, the majority of financial returns to the Equity Collective (60%) go back to your Local Leaders and Mentors. To date, over $8.5M in Equity Collective contributions have been distributed by FI HQ.

Reduced Fees

Other accelerator programs charge up to $40,000 and take up to 10% equity to attend. Our Entrance Fees are kept reasonable because our costs are offset by Equity Collective returns. Alumni also access all post-program benefits and Founder Lab for life with no additional fees or equity requirements.

Founder-Friendly Terms

The Equity Collective is enforced via a Warrant, which is a stock options-like agreement, and is activated only if you raise a threshold amount of outside capital. We don't sit on your board or have any voting powers.

Frequently Asked Questions

No. If you apply and are accepted, you only need to sign the "Entrance Agreement" to start the program. Joining the Equity Collective takes place about 2/3 the way during the Core Program (Nov 20, 2024 for the Washington DC Fall 2024 cohort).

The agreements can be found on our Agreementspage. You may have localized agreements in place for your specific country.

No. The Equity Collective is in no way a profit or revenue-sharing mechanism.

Absolutely not. The Equity Collective is designed to share in the success in your business over the long term, and if your company fails or closes then the warrants in your company simply get dissolved.

Absolutely. Most chapters work with local legal firms who are well versed in our agreements and can walk you through the process. You are welcome to work with your own legal team to review the documents. We also provide localization of some agreements so they apply to your specific country.

Please visit our FAQ page for detailed information about the Equity Collective and the Warrant. Want to talk to someone directly? Attend a live Info Session call or chat with our Admissions Support Team.

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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 $1.8BN 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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