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 30+ hours per week for 3 months in order to close a pre-seed or a seed round of financin.

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

Funding Lab alumni get the opportunity to pitch in front of aninvestor type audiance in a virtual event format.

Network

Connect with founders, mentors and fundraising experts from around the world.

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.

FightCamp

FightCamp is the market-leading at home connected fitness device for boxing, kickboxing, and martial arts sports. They announced its $90M Series B in June 2021 from top investors.

Leasecake

Leasecake is a commercial real estate lease and location management platform to streamline real estate operations. The company announced a $12M Series A round in April 2022.

Instant Teams

Instant Teams allows hiring managers to build remote teams from the largest database of military-connected remote workers. The company raised a $13M Series A in March 2022 led by Tiger Global.

Involve.ai

Involve AI helps prevent customer churn and grows revenue, through customer intelligence that helps companies proactively reach their goals. They closed a $16M Series A in August 2022.

PaintJet

PaintJet is a robotics and automation helping building owners and property managers to lower the cost of painting large, commercial buildings. They closed seed funding in 2022.

Orange Charger Inc

Orange Charger is an electric vehicle charging network, built specifically for multi-unit properties. The company closed angel funding in 2022.

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.

Jeremy Geiger leads the program. Jeremy has previously raised $45M of Venture Capital financing from diverse investors including institutional investors (ex: Draper fund), incubators (ex: 500 Startups), strategics (ex: Motorola) & Angels in both US & Asia. As a startup founder and CXO, he has generated $65M of revenue growth for new startup companies/regions/products + 100 in new BD partnerships. Jeremy currently leads the Founder Institute alumni success team overseeing the 6000+ alumni companies.

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, targetting international investors will almost certainly yield a lower return-on-investment per unit of time spent fundraising. The earlier the company is in the lifecycle, the more important is the personal connection between investor and founder and as a result it is far more likely for local investors to take the risk to invest in your business. The majority of companies that enroll in Funding Lab raise their pre-seed rounds from investors in their local eco-system.

FI Alumni have successfully closed their rounds in most of the startup ecosystems worldwide. In the 10+ years experience in running 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 30 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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