Funding Lab

Accelerate Your Seed Funding

Funding Lab is a virtual advisory program that helps early-stage startups raise seed funding. Over the course of a regimented 3 month program, participants work closely with the Founder Institute's Silicon Valley HQ team to improve their pitch materials, build an investor pipeline, pitch to angels, negotiate terms, and generate strong investor interest.

Funding Lab is conducted solely via email, phone, and online tools, and is only available to Graduates of the Founder Institute program.

Applications to the next Funding Lab are open now. FI Alumni can apply to the program on their Alumni Dashboard.

Program Benefits

Funding Lab participants are required to dedicate 20 hours per week for 3 months in order to close a seed round.

Improve your Pitch

Work with a dedicated fundraising coach to prepare your business and improve your pitch, and pitch deck.

Create a Fundraising Strategy

Get access to fundraising experts and senior advisors to create a winning strategy.

Access a Database of Angels

Get access to a shared database of investors and advisors from the global FI network.

Tactical Fundraising Assistance

Leverage our experience to negotiate your term sheet and manage your investor meetings.

Virtual Demo Day Eligibility

Founders that secure lead investors are eligible for Virtual Demo Days to fill out their round.

Attend Global Events

Get all-access invites to all global Founder Institute networking events and conferences.

Funding Lab Schedule

The goal of Funding Lab is to help you close the lead investor to your seed round in less than 6 months.

Weekly focus
1 Training
2 Planning
3 Refining
4 Networking
5 Outreach
6 Progress Review
7 Pitch Blitzing
8 Iteration
9 Follow-Up
10 Create Demand
11 Initial Closing
12 Final Pushes
Sprints
Office Hours
Investor Pipeline Building
Pitch & Pitch Deck Editing
Investor Prospecting
Pitch Practice
Data Room
Closing

Featured Funding Lab Alumni

FI Companies from six continents have used Funding Lab to achieve the next steps in their business.

Braze Mobility

Braze Mobility is an affordable blind spot sensor turning any wheelchair into a 'smart' wheelchair. They were selected in August 2021 to participate in Google For Startups Accelerator.

BR Polen

Polen is B2B platform enabling corporate buying and selling of waste stream products. The company signed many customers and was ranked in the Top 10 of the 100 Open Startups Ranking.

Lessonbee

Lessonbee is comprehensive health, wellness and mental health education for grades K-12 to build social-emotional skills. The company raised funding in 2021 and was featured in Forbes.

Kudoti

Kudoti connects brands, manufacturers, collectors, and recyclers to build a more circular economy. The company received the $40k Creating Shared Value Prize from Nestlé in July 2021.

Zowasel

Zowasel is a vetted agriculture marketplace to buy and sell crops. The company received $100k in funding at UN World Food Programme’s Zero Hunger Sprint.

MAA'VA

MAA’VA is a carbon-negative building material; turning plastic and nonplastic waste into eco-materials. They won Pitch For Progress 2021 Global Impact Startup Competition in July 2021.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • The Founder(s) must be working exclusively on their FI company
  • The company needs to have a functioning product ("Beta" version, at a minimum)
  • The company needs demonstrable customer demand or traction
  • Be willing to spend at least 25 hours per week for the next 3 months to raise seed funding
  • Your team has to be larger than two including yourself

Fundraising takes an organized and concerted effort. Weekly fundraising sprints will take a minimum of 30 hours+ per week

The Founder Institute developed Funding Lab because many of our Alumni struggled to raise pre-seed and seed money due to an ineffective fundraising process. There are many nuances in the fundraising process that first-time fundraisers will need to get acquainted with.

To help, we meticulously developed a playbook based on many years of experience from multiple top Founder Institute mentors that provides founders structure and guidance to increase their probability of success.

You are in the sweet spot of Funding Lab if you are looking to raise a pre-seed or seed round from professional investors. If you are raising a friends & family round, you may be too early. If you are raising a Series-A round, we can work with you directly on this.

The program is free and cost 0$ for Founder Institute Alumni companies.

Funding Lab is a virtual program. We host a series of live and interactive webinars on various fundraising topics with various influencers. We cover topics such as best practices for developing your target list and the in-depth due diligence process of a VC.

Once you begin meeting investors starting in Week 5, we work to address your specific situation 1:1 via Office Hours and on Slack.

We help 100s of FI Alumni companies raise money every year worldwide. We provide you with advice on all facets of the fundraising process via webinars and office hours. You will receive extensive feedback on your pitch deck, investor target list, your data room, and your term-sheets. We will guide you through every step of the investor outreach, negotiation, and closing process.

Mike Suprovici leads the program. He helps hundreds of Alumni companies raise money each year. You will set up regular office hours and you will be able to reach him on Slack. The Alumni Success team is frequently available for extended work hours. Your Local Leader (f.k.a. Director) is given a structure around providing support as well. In addition, various FI mentors are brought in to help.

The Alumni Success team works to help you develop the best process to leverage the Founder Institute mentor network. The key here is for you to understand that connections cannot be forced and that is it ultimately your responsibility to generate interest, follow up, close the meeting, and build the relationship. Luckily, we can give you the best advice to make connections.

This guide on how to write a forwardable email introduction is a great place to start.

In general, no, because Founder Institute Headquarters may not be connected in your specific local area. FI Alumni have a pretty solid head start in this area because most of your local mentors and leaders are either investors or know investors.

Yes, however, the earlier your company is in your startup's lifecycle, the closer that investors want to be to your company. As a result, the majority of companies that enroll in Funding Lab raise their rounds from investors in their local eco-system.

FI Alumni have successfully closed their rounds in most of the startup ecosystems worldwide. As we are on the 15th iteration of Funding Lab, we have gained nuanced experience working with Founders in emerging markets with inexperienced investors. The team at Founder Institute Headquarters as well as your Local Leaders will also help you navigate your local fundraising environment.

This is not just a requirement of Funding Lab, but also for most professional investors. You must be working exclusively on your company to have a realistic shot at raising money from professional investors. If you're not full time on your company, you are shifting all the risk onto the investor. As a result, professional investors will not fund you.

The majority of companies that finish Funding Lab close investment by the end of the program.

You will need to dedicate a minimum of 25 hours per week to fundraising in order to be successful. We recommend that you begin to start delegating work to other team members so that you can make the necessary time for fundraising.

We will recommend that you come back to a future program. We run Funding Lab 3 times per year and we’ve had multiple companies successfully close their round on their second try.

By the end of the program, there is a high likelihood that you have hard-circled investors and are in the process of closing your round. From here, our team is available for continued support on anything regarding your business from your next funding round, to syndicating your latest press coverage.

No. The most valuable asset that you have as a founder is your time. Fundraising is one of the most difficult and time-consuming tasks that a founder can take on. If you’re not 100% committed to fundraising right now, this effort will be a massive waste of time and will severely affect your business in a negative way. If you are not making progress towards your fundraising targets, we will ask you to come back to a future program.

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