Program Update: This accelerator will be run online with local and international mentors, with the potential for some optional in-person networking. Learn more on our Virtual Program FAQ page.

 

Common Questions

Does the Founder Institute only accept tech companies?
The Founder Institute focuses on technology and technology-enabled businesses. This can include hardware and traditional businesses such as food, ecommerce, and brick and mortar, so long as the business has the ability to scale through technology. We typically do not accept founders looking to build non-scalable service-based companies, such as consultancies and agencies. See more information at FI.co/admissions
How is the Founder Institute different from Techstars and Y Combinator?
Seed-accelerators like Techstars and Y Combinator typically take a company with a team, live product, and some traction and provide them with operating capital and/or a small seed investment to help them prepare for an angel or VC round of funding. The Founder Institute works with entrepreneurs before this point in their process, and provides them with a structured process, expert mentorship, and a global network to get to traction and funding.
Is the Founder Institute a pre-accelerator?
Pre-Accelerators exist to help you get into a seed-accelerator. While many Founder Institute Alumni do go on to seed-accelerators like Techstars, Y Combinator, and 500 Startups, this is not the sole purpose of the FI program. In fact, many companies companies leave FI further along than a seed-accelerator, or may not need funding at all. Only approximately 15% of FI alumni go on to join seed-accelerator programs, and we have relationships in place to facilitate that process when it makes sense for the company.
What is the schedule for the Washington DC Virtual 2022 Founder Institute?
To see the full calendar, visit FI.co/program.
Where are the Washington DC Founder Institute Feedback Sessions located?

Program Update: This accelerator will be run online with local and international mentors, with the potential for some optional in-person networking. Learn more on our Virtual Program FAQ page.

When in-person sessions resume, the local session locations are sometimes held in the same venues as the public pre-program events listed on FI.co/program, though this is not always the case. These Sessions are not open to the public, so their locations are not listed on the public website.
How much time does the Founder Institute require?
The Founder Institute requires a minimum of 20 hours of work per week, on average. Participating founders are required to join each three and a half hour weekly session, plus additional networking hours. The sessions will have between ten and fifteen hours of sprint work that needs to be completed before the following session, in addition to team meetings. If a participating Founder is also working on a prototype or some other aspect of the business, then the time commitment can be much greater.
How do I complete the Founder Institute?
In order to complete the program, a Founder must join the Feedback Sessions, complete all of the Growth Sprints in a satisfactory manner, and receive satisfactory ratings from Mentors. The Founder Institute supports the efforts of every entrepreneur, but the program is very hard, because building a meaningful company is harder. On average, about 30% of founders are able to complete program.
Do I need to join every FI session?
Joining the sessions are mandatory, however, it is understood that founders may have emergencies, illness, or pre-planned travel that may prevent them from joining one or two sessions. The Founder Institute makes exceptions on a case by case basis, but founders are advised to communicate any conflicts in schedule as early as possible to their Local Leaders. In particular, the Orientation, Mentor Idea Review, and the Mentor Progress Review sessions should never be missed.
What does the Application Fee for the Washington DC Virtual 2022 program cover?
The application fee covers the cost of processing the Entrepreneur DNA Assessment. The fee is non-refundable.
Is the course fee refundable?
The course fee ($799 USD by Dec 12, 2021 ($999 USD after Dec 12, 2021) for the Washington DC Virtual 2022 program) is fully refundable before the third session of the program (2022-03-28), so that participants can see if the program is right for them.
Are payment plans available?
We offer a payment plan of three equal installments of the regular course fee, in addition to a 5% service fee, with payments due monthly. Installments are payable via Stripe or Credit Card. Please reply to any email you have received from us if you are interested in a payment plan.
Is the Founder Institute only for individuals? Can teams or multiple co-founders also enroll?

The Founder Institute encourages founding teams to apply to the program, and a typical cohort contains roughly 40% teams, and 60% solo-founders. When a team joins the Founder Institute, the 4% pledge to the Equity Collective remains the same (it is 4% per company, not Founder).

Founding teams can decide to send one co-founder, multiple co-founders, or all co-founders to participate in the program, but each co-founder must apply separately (noting the name of your company in your application, in the “Company Name” section). Since we are the ‘Founder’ Institute, each co-founder’s application will be evaluated independently by our admissions team (one co-founder gaining acceptance does not mean that their entire team is accepted). However, even if one co-founder is rejected, any accepted co-founders are still invited to participate.

Teams are also able to enroll in the program for a discounted course fee per-founder: Teams of 2-3 are invited to enroll for 1.5x the course fee, and Teams of 4-5 for 2x the course fee.

Each enrolled founder will be responsible for completing assignments and participating in working groups, and 1-2 team members will be responsible for pitching during program sessions. Non-participating co-founders are not permitted to join the FI program sessions, but are welcome to participate in program Office Hours and company-building assignments, as well as many perks post-program.

What is the course fee refund policy?

You can receive a full refund of your course fee in your first Founder Institute program if you drop out before the start-time of the third program session (currently, the "Customer Development" session on 2022-03-28). This gives you the opportunity to try out the program for two sessions, with no risk. You can see the program schedule at FI.co/program, and all refunds are processed within 30 days after the third program session.

Similarly, if all or part of a team decides to drop out before the Refund Deadline, then the course fees paid will be refunded in accordance with the team pricing. So for example, if all co-founders drop out, then all course fees paid will be refunded; if a 4-5 member team downgrades to a 2-3 person team, then the difference between 1.5x and 2x the course fee will be refunded; and if a 2-3 or 4-5 member team downgrades to a solo-founder, then the difference between 1x the course fee and 1.5x and 2x the course fee will be refunded, respectively.

What happens if I drop out after the third session?
After the Customer Development session, if you cannot finish the program for personal reasons or get dropped by the Founder Institute, you can use your already paid course fee towards a future program of the Founder Institute in the same city, so long as that program begins within one calendar year of the start date of the program you dropped out from. If the course fee for the new program is significantly higher than your original one, FI reserves the right to require you to pay the difference in order to enroll in the new program. However, we will not refund the difference if the course fee of the new program is lower.
If I am already accepted, what is the deadline for enrolling in the Founder Institute?

In order to guarantee a spot in the program, we encourage founders to complete their enrollment promptly. Typically we close enrollment approximately 7 days before the start date of the program, but if the class fills up before then you may not be guaranteed a spot.

How do we pay as a team?
To pay as a team, email our support at admissions@fi.co for a link to the co-founder price.
Can full teams be dropped from the program?
Evaluations throughout the program are by team. If a team is not able to meet course requirements they will be asked to leave and re-enroll in the next program. If a team member decides to stop participating, the rest of the team can continue with the program contingent on there being one Full-time team member enrolled.
How do I start a Founder Institute program in my city?
The Founder Institute is always interested in speaking to qualified startup experts and local ecosystem leaders to start a local chapter. For more information, visit FI.co/lead
Still have questions? Feel free to contact us or join an upcoming Q&A conference call with Founder Institute local leaders.

Ideas

Can I submit more than one idea?
This is up to you. FI is more interested in the person, and less interested in the business idea. Founders must select one idea to turn into a company prior to the Mentor Idea Review, roughly 30 days into the program.
How does the program’s ideation phase work?
For early-stage founders, founders are broken into smaller working groups by related ideas. These groups are then given specific assignments for refining, researching, and validating ideas.
Could other participants have similar ideas to mine?
Possibly. Some applicants supply multiple ideas that they intend to pursue, some of which may be similar to yours. That being said, founders in similar spaces have often ended up collaborating in the past, and your intellectual property will be protected by the founder NDA.
How is our intellectual property protected during the Program? Will somebody steal my idea?
All founders, mentors, and local leaders joining sessions of the Founder Institute have to sign NDAs before participating in the program. Your IP is protected under the NDA.
Still have questions? Feel free to contact us, or join an upcoming Q&A conference call with Founder Institute local leaders.

Applications

How does the application process work?
First, navigate to the join page: https://FI.co/join. After selecting your city, filling out information about your idea or company, and paying the $10 USD application fee, you will be provided with a link (both by email and on the site) to fill out the Entrepreneur DNA Assessment. Learn more about our admissions process at FI.co/admissions.
What is the Founder Institute's Entrepreneur DNA Assessment?
We focus on founders, not ideas. As a result, all applicants are required to take a proprietary psychometric/ aptitude test developed by the Founder Institute and leading social scientists. Learn more about the assessment at FI.co/DNA, and our full admissions process at FI.co/admissions.
How do co-founders or teams apply to the Founder Institute?

The Founder Institute encourages founding teams to apply to the program, and a typical cohort contains roughly 40% teams, and 60% solo-founders. When a team joins the Founder Institute, the 4% pledge to the Equity Collective remains the same (it is 4% per company, not Founder).

Founding teams can decide to send one co-founder, multiple co-founders, or all co-founders to participate in the program, but each co-founder must apply separately (noting the name of your company in your application, in the “Company Name” section).

Teams are also able to enroll in the program for a discounted course fee per-founder: Teams of 2-3 are invited to enroll for 1.5x the course fee, and teams of 4-5 for 2x the course fee.

What are the application deadlines for the program?
The Early Application Deadline is Dec 12, 2021, and the Final Application Deadline is Mar 13, 2022. To apply, visit FI.co/join.
What is the benefit of enrolling before the Early Application Deadline?
If you enroll by the Early Admissions Deadline (Dec 12, 2021) in Washington DC), you will be invited to take the Entrepreneur DNA Assessment for free, and you will be eligible for a reduced course fee.
I applied for a Fellowship. How do I know if I have received one?
Fellowships are normally awarded within 5 days after the Early Admissions Deadline (Dec 12, 2021) in Washington DC). All Fellowship recipients are notified by email no later than 7 days after the Early Admissions Deadline, and unfortunately due to the large number of applications, we cannot always notify all applicants that they have not been chosen for a Fellowship.
After being accepted can I reapply to another program, or do I have to apply all over again?

You can apply to any other Founder Institute program without redoing your application or retaking the Entrepreneur DNA Assessment.

If you want to defer your acceptance from this program to the next program, just let us know via email. We will then mark you as Declined, and you will be notified via email when the next program opens applications. Typically, this will take place in the next 6-12 months. While most people who defer their acceptance are admitted to the future program, we cannot guarantee this because you will be judged against a new cohort of applicants.

If you want to change your city, just log into the Founder Institute website and go to the application page (FI.co/join), where you can see the chapters currently enrolling and pick a new one.

Will information from the application process be shared or made public?
The Founder Institute will not reveal any application information to the public. Once enrolled, founders are given the option to make parts of their profiles public.
Can I apply if I have an established startup?
Yes. The Founder Institute is appropriate for both aspiring founders, and founders that are running a business that is less than two years old and with less than half a million in annual revenues. Founders that are more advanced in the program are put on the "Growth Track", which focuses more on generating traction and preparing for funding.
What is the difference between the "Launch Track" and "Growth Track" ?
Because founders and teams come into the program at different stages of the pre-seed stage, the Founder Institute program bifurcates between a "Launch Track" for earlier-stage founders, and a "Growth Track" for later stage founders and teams. The "Launch Track" is designed to help individuals and teams at the idea-stage validate their business, grow their team, and launch their startup. The "Growth Track" is designed to help teams that are post-launch generate traction and prepare for funding. 
Can I join the program if my company is already incorporated?

If the company is incorporated with an acceptable legal structure, then the company only needs to issue the warrant or option with the help of a law firm, or professional firm. Otherwise, the legal partner needs to work with the company to transition an incorrect structure to the proper structure as part of the engagement.

The Founder Institute does not accept partnership and LLC formats because these companies are not optimal for issuing shares and raising capital.

How many founders will be in the program?
Between 20 and 50 founders typically enroll in a given cohort. A number of factors encourage limiting the group size, such as the capacity of reserved meeting facilities, the ability to deliver a meaningful mentorship experience, and the quality of the shared upside among participants.
I applied, but did not receive an email response. Did you get my application?
Yes. After you successfully apply, you will be logged into the Founder Institute site. On the right hand side, it should say: Semester: Washington DC Virtual 2022, Role: Founder, Status: Applied. This indicates that your application has gone through. As the Founder Institute processes applications, your status will change to "Reviewing," "Accepted," "Finalist" or "Rejected." Within 48 hours, the admissions team will begin reviewing your application and you will receive an email notification. FI will also email you when your application status changes.
Still have questions? Feel free to contact us, or join an upcoming Q&A conference call with Founder Institute local leaders.

Program

What is a typical Feedback Session like?
Do founders need to quit their day job?
No. The Founder Institute has a mix of full-time and part-time founders in the program. Many businesses get started with part-time founders until the company gains traction. Once a company gets off the ground and properly capitalized through revenues or investment, FI expects that the founders will start working full-time.
Can I find a co-founder in the program?
Yes. Since participants have shared areas of interest and hail from a variety of backgrounds, it is common for founding teams to be established with different program participants. In one case a Mentor even joined one of the Founder Institute companies as a Co-Founder.
What is the Founder Institute’s graduation rate?
Graduating from the Founder Institute is challenging. First, only roughly 30% of applicants are admitted to the program. Then, less than 30% of accepted founders generally make it through the program. In order to graduate, a Founder needs to develop an engaging idea for a technology company that is validated by the program mentors, plan out the business, work on an offering, incorporate their company, and complete all of the required assignments - all within a four month timeframe. Reasons for not graduating differ, but each Founder who leaves is invited to join a future program, when they are ready to launch a business.
If I drop out of the program or get dropped after the refund deadline, can I return to the next program for free? Can I join a different location?

If a solo-founder drops out after the Refund Deadline (the third session of the program), they are able to apply any course fees paid towards the next Founder Institute program in their city. Approximately 30-40% of founders that drop out of the program return to the next program.

If you want to enroll in the next program, you will need to pay a small re-enrollment fee ($50), plus any difference in course fee. We will not refund any fees if the course fee for a future program is lower.

Still have questions? Feel free to contact us, or join an upcoming Q&A conference call with Founder Institute local leaders.

Mentors

How does the Founder Institute select Mentors?
The Founder Institute selects Mentors with a broad range of industry experiences, including hardware, software, manufacturing, biotech, entertainment, digital media, investment, services, and B2B/B2C. Most Mentors have started multiple companies and are currently running a well-known startup. In addition, all Mentors are anonymously rated by program participants for the sake of quality control.
How do founders get paired with mentors?
The pairing process is informal. Founders have the opportunity to ask questions of mentors before, during, and after each session. While some mentors are extremely busy, it is expected that the majority of mentors will help founders where they have common interests. The mentors are compensated through the Equity Collective, and mentor compensation increases with positive ratings from participating founders. This gives mentors the extra incentive to help the founders, provide introductions, etc. In addition, a final review is done after the program is completed, creating an incentive for longer term mentor involvement.
Still have questions? Feel free to contact us, or join an upcoming Q&A conference call with Founder Institute local leaders.

Incorporation

Will the Founder Institute help me incorporate?
The Program will include a session about legal topics during the Startup Legal and IP session. If you need help with getting incorporated, you can always ask for help during the program's office hours, or speak with our local legal partner, leaders, or mentors.
Do I need to be working with a law firm now?
You should engage a law firm for incorporating your company during the Program, and we will provide you with the guidance and tools to do so. In some countries, professionals, such as corporate secretaries or accounting firms, are customarily hired to incorporate a company. It is important that you hire a professional to create the corporation to ensure that it is done properly and investors can fund your company.
Do I need to use the Founder Institute’s legal partner?
The Founder Institute strongly recommends that Founders go with our legal partner, but we do not mandate it. Our legal partners deeply understand the Founder Institute process and know how to help early stage Founders. Most legal partners also provide discounted and/or deferred pricing.
Cheap legal alternatives will not be able to help you when very technical problems happen. In the long run, it can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. We suggest that you check with your lawyer and research on local prices and policies.
Am I required to incorporate in my home country?
You are allowed to incorporate in whatever country you see fit, as we have localized agreements in many jurisdictions. During our Startup Legal & IP session, we will give you advice on how/where to incorporate as well. For those incorporating in the United States, we recommend Delaware C-Corps as they are the most conducive to raising venture capital. There are similar safe-havens for corporations all across the globe.
What if I can’t incorporate due to work, unemployment, or visa conflicts?
This question should be asked to your law firm as each country has different laws and policies. The legal partner should review existing employment contracts and basic visa situations to determine if a Founder is able to incorporate a business without significant ethical breaches. The Founder Institute does not sponsor nor facilitate any processes with regards to Visas. If you cannot incorporate a company, you cannot graduate from the program.
What if my company is already incorporated? Can I or should I still enroll into the program?
We have had many successful cases of Founders that go through the program to receive valuable feedback from mentors even while they have already had an incorporated company. If the company is incorporated with an acceptable legal structure, then the company only needs to issue the warrant or option with the help of a professional law firm. Otherwise, the legal partner needs to work with the company to transition an incorrect structure to the proper structure as part of the engagement.
The Founder Institute does not accept partnership and LLC formats because these companies are not optimal for issuing shares and raising capital.
I already own a company, but I want to work on a new company in the Program. Will FI own part of my old company?
No. At approximately 2/3 of the way through the Founder Institute program, you will be asked to sign the warrant or option agreement for the company you are building in the program.
How is our intellectual property protected during the program? Will somebody steal my idea? How do I know nobody will steal my idea in the program?
All founders, mentors, and local leaders joining sessions of the Founder Institute have to sign NDAs before participating in the program. Your IP is safe. We also tell all of our Founders that in many cases, Founders change their ideas in the program and realize that for example there is no market for the idea to scale or that there are holes in the idea that cannot be filled and therefore should be dropped.
Additionally, your idea will never be able to be replicated the same exact way that you visualize it. Ideas are worthless, execution is everything. If you actually have a good idea, then there is a big chance that someone else out there is already working on it.
By restricting yourself to talk openly about your ideas, you forgo valuable opportunities to get feedback on your startup.
I have legal questions about the FAST agreement.
The FAST agreement (https://fi.co/FAST) gives you the legal framework to engage with mentors and advisors. It was developed by our CEO, Adeo Ressi with our partner law firm, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, LLP (WSGR). It is a public document for anyone to use and edit. For any questions regarding the document, please consult a legal counsel.
Still have questions? Feel free to contact us, or join an upcoming Q&A conference call with Founder Institute local leaders.

Equity Collective and Warrant Agreements

Where can I see the Equity Collective and Warrant agreements?
You can see all of the agreements at FI.co/agreements.

Equity Collective

What is the Equity Collective?
The Equity Collective is a unique business model that allows your local community and YOU to be part of your cohort’s future success - giving back is literally written into our process. Our idea-to-exit support is made possible by sharing in the financial upside of our alumni. 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.
Founders pledge 4% of their company equity to Founder Institute to be used for future financial distributions.
The Equity Collective can only be signed in conjunction with the Warrant. The Warrant is the legal document allocating the 4% equity to Founder Institute, and the Equity Collective is the legal document detailing how those future financial returns are distributed.
The Equity Collective Agreement can be viewed here.
Do I need to sign the Equity Collective?
Yes, you must sign the agreement to graduate the program and receive our post-accelerator benefits.
How are funds distributed?
Of the 4% companies contribute:  1% goes to Alumni in your cohort, 1% goes to Mentors in your program, 1% goes to your Local Leaders, and 1% goes to Founder Institute.  Essentially 75% of the Equity Collective distributions go back to your local community.  These are your stakeholders in your agreement.
Individual checks are sent to all stakeholders associated with that company's distribution.
What triggers a distribution?
When a founder achieves a liquidity event such as selling their business or by going public.  Founder institute may also try to make a distribution near the Equity Collective’s 15-year expiration if it will benefit the founder and the stakeholders.
What do financial distributions look like?
To date, the Founder Institute has distributed returns of approximately $8.5M.  Financial returns are paid out to individual founders, not their company, and therefore can be spent on whatever you like - business or personal.  

Even in small acquisitions of $5 MM or less, the financial return from the Equity Collective far exceeds the average Course Fee by multiple times. The Founder Institute predicts that exits from any one semester will occur between five and ten years after the semester ends, which is slightly longer than for the average angel funded startup.  Below are four hypothetical situations where a founder sells their company.  You’ll notice how Founder Institute’s equity share is diluted due to subsequent funding rounds.

Alumni companies continue to participate in the Equity Collective distributions until its termination (15 years) even if their equity has been sold.

Exit Valuation $5,000,000 $10,000,000 $50,000,000 $250,000,000 Notes
Warrant or Option Strike Price $1,000,000 $1,000,000 $1,000,000 $1,000,000 *Conservative of $1M to exercise a warrant
Initial Equity Collective % 4.00% 4.00% 4.00% 4.00%  
Dilution of Equity Collective % 10% 30% 40% 50% *Estimate based on typical dilution
Final Equity Collective % 3.60% 2.80% 2.40% 2.00% *Warrant % after estimated dilution
Total Equity Collective Return $144,000 $252,000 $1,176,500 $4,980,000 *Final Warrant % * (exit valuation - strike price)
All founders Equity Collective Return $36,000 $63,000 $294,000 $1,245,000 *25% of liquidity goes to the cohort's alumni
Personal Equity Collective Return $3,600 $6,300 $29,400 $124,500 *Based on avg FI graduating class size of 10
What do financial distributions look like for Co-Founders?
Each company, not each co-founder, pledges 4% to the Equity Collective.  The maximum equity any one company can allocate, regardless of the number of co-founders attending or not attending the accelerator, is 4%.

Monetary value in the Equity Collective is derived from companies and shares in the Equity Collective are allocated for each company who signed the Equity Collective and Warrant.  Each company receives an equal share of the 25% allocated to founders which is distributed to the founders directly. If there are 10 founders each representing 10 companies in the cohort, then each Founder gets 1/10 of the collective, or 2.5%. Co-founders split their company’s allocation. So, If there were 12 founders contributing 10 companies, and two of the 10 companies each had two co-founders, then each co-founder would get 1.25%, while all other single founders would get 2.5%.

Additional Hands-On Help
Still have questions?  Chat with our admissions team:  support@founderinstitute.freshdesk.com 

**The information you obtain on this website is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult with an attorney for individual advice regarding your own situation.

Still have questions? Feel free to contact us, or join an upcoming Q&A conference call with Founder Institute local leaders.

Warrant

What is a Warrant?
Similar to a stock option, a warrant is an agreement between two parties that gives one party the right to buy the other party’s stock at a set price, over a specified period of time. Once a warrant holder exercises their warrant, they get shares of stock in the issuing party’s company.  Additional information here.
Why Do I Sign a Warrant for Founder Institute?
The Warrant agreement can be viewed here.

Our idea-to-exit support is made possible by sharing in the financial upside of our alumni.  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.

The Equity Collective can only be signed in conjunction with the Warrant.  The Warrant is the legal document allocating the 4% equity to Founder Institute, and the Equity Collective is the legal document detailing how those future financial returns are distributed.

Rather watch a video?  

Why a Warrant and not equity?
Warrants have a number of advantages over equity.
  1. Warrants ensure that any equity placed in the Equity Collective for the Founder Institute and other stakeholders is priced by the market, creating a win-win scenario for the founder and Founder Institute.

  2. Warrants do not give the Founder Institute any control or voting rights in the company.

Will you own 4% of my company right after graduation?
No, but maybe in the future, or possibly never.  The Warrant grants the Founder Institute 4% when the Warrant is activated.  This 4% is fully dilutable over future rounds of investment.  If the Warrant is not activated, we do not own shares in your company.
When is the Warrant activated?
The Warrant grants the Founder Institute 4% at the time of the first Qualified Equity Financing.

There are two types of investments done by founders, either a convertible investment or an equity investment. The Warrant only matters with respect to a Qualified Equity Financing, which is defined as any equity investment for $100,000 USD or more completed by external investors - people other than the founder or founders themselves. If you join a qualifying startup program, such as YCombinator, after graduation from the Founder Institute program, a Qualified Equity Financing is defined as any equity investment for $25,000 USD or more. The Founder Institute maintains a list of qualifying startup programs.

The Founder Institute does not intend to purchase the Warrant until a liquidity event occurs with a greater value than the strike price, at which point FI will purchase the Warrant to return value to the Equity Collective.

What will future investors think about my Cap Table?
FI is not a shareholder of your company until the Warrant is exercised. Until the exercise of the Warrant, FI will appear on your capitalization table alongside other convertibles, such as safe notes and convertible debt notes. FI will be the only entity on your cap table in relation to the Warrant.

Upon exercising the Warrant, The Founder Institute would become an official common shareholder for easy corporate housekeeping, but the contractual allocation distributes returns from the Warrant as indicated by the Equity Collective.

Hundreds of founders have raised capital with the Founder Institute Warrant in place. Most investors are used to investing in companies with Warrants or options present.

What if I bootstrap and don’t raise money from investors?
The Warrant grants the Founder Institute 4% at the time of the first Qualified Equity Financing, which is a minimum of $100,000 for outside capital or $25,000 through an additional accelerator program.  The Qualified Equity Financing must also be considered a priced round, meaning a valuation and subsequent stock price is assigned to your company.  If you raise money outside of a priced round, such as a SAFE or convertible note, the Warrant is not exercised.

You are, however, still entitled to the Equity Collective distributions from your cohort peers.

Does Founder Institute have voting rights in my company?
The Founder Institute does not have any voting rights in our alumni companies, and we do not hold any board seats either.
What happens if I drop out of the program?
If you drop out with more than 45 days left before Graduation, then you are not obligated to issue the Warrant. However, if you drop out with less than 45 days left in the program, then you are contractually bound to issue the Founder Institute Warrant in accordance with the Equity Collective Agreement. This prevents people from cheating the system and leaving the program at the very end, thereby purposefully avoiding contribution into the Equity Collective and cheating their peers, mentors, and the Founder Institute.
Additional Hands-On Help
Still have questions?  Chat with our admissions team:  support@founderinstitute.freshdesk.com

**The information you obtain on this website is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult with an attorney for individual advice regarding your own situation.


Still have questions? Feel free to contact us, or join an upcoming Q&A conference call with Founder Institute local leaders.

Investment

Can I apply if I am not planning to raise money?
Yes. FI encourages founders with standalone business ideas that are capital efficient to apply. The majority of topics covered in the program are relevant to any business, such as team building, vendors, and revenue. The Founder Institute is working with two dozen partners on discounted or free offerings to dramatically reduce the cost of launching a new company, making enrollment worthwhile.
Can I apply if I am already fundraising?
Yes. The Founder Institute encourages active fundraising throughout the program for founders that are prepared and require outside capital. The goal is to get founders in front of investors multiple times before the program ends.
How will founders interact with investors?
At graduation, top rated angel investors and venture capitalists will be invited to join and contribute. At this investor session, you will be experienced and very well prepared to pitch. In past investor sessions, over a dozen venture capital companies have been represented, with additional angel investors. FI also facilitates investor meetings outside of the program.
Are investors turned off by the Class F stock and Equity Collective?
Some are, yes, and others are not. Only the best teams and the best companies will receive financing in the current economic climate, and these strong opportunities will be able to push for better terms. The Founder Institute aims to foster the best, and that is reflected in the terms. FI does not mandate that companies use the documents nor that the founders participate in the collective.
How much money should participating founders plan on raising?
The Founder Institute invites a wide range of founders from different sectors to apply. Some companies need more capital and will raise more capital during the program. The amount of money that a participating Founder can expect to raise is ultimately based on the business, its specific needs, and the execution.
Does the Founder Institute make investments?
The Founder Institute does not invest directly in alumni companies. However, we do facilitate investment through introductions, local/ regional/ global events, and more.
Does the entrepreneur have input into and veto power over the valuation?
The founders choose the investors, negotiate the terms, and sign the deal with assistance of - but no control from - the Founder Institute. Everything is up to the founder and the shareholders. Keep in mind that the Founder Institute will not be a shareholder of any kind pre-funding.
Still have questions? Feel free to contact us, or join an upcoming Q&A conference call with Founder Institute local leaders.