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Founder First, Founder Always. Join us in 2022: Founder Institute is the #1 place in the world to turn ideas into fundable startups, and startups into global businesses.

Today’s economic 'New Normal' is full of reshuffling industries, and new problems in need of solutions - now is a time for entrepreneurs to act.

Whether you need to test and validate early hypotheses before making a large financial commitment to your startup idea, or you are ready to push your startup to the next level through aggressive weekly growth sprints to refine your vision, improve key metrics, and prepare for investor diligence, Founder Institute has the proven processes and network to help you do it.

If you could use a structured process that tells you what to focus on when, and a lifetime of support from Chicago's top investors and entrepreneurs, then apply to the Chicago Fall 2022 Founder Institute today.

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.

We will be hosting several free startup events in Chicago over the coming weeks, where you can learn from top entrepreneurs all from the comfort of home:

Chicago Events:

  • Meet the Chicago Startup Ecosystem w/ TechStars & More (Online) on 6:00pm, Aug 23, 2022 (America/Chicago):
  • Meet the Top Startup Mentors in Chicago (Open Zoom Meeting) on 6:00pm, Sep 06, 2022 (America/Chicago):
  • [Restricted Access] Meet and Greet with Chicago Directors, Mentors, & Alumni on 6:00pm, Sep 13, 2022 (America/Chicago):

Global Events:

  • WEBINAR: Founder Institute Online Information Session:
  • [Restricted Access] Focus: A Key to Startup Success, with Patrick Lee (Founding CEO of Rotten Tomatoes) + VIP Networking on 6:00pm, Aug 18, 2022 (America/Chicago):
  • Founder Hotseat: Pitch Your Idea to Startup Experts, Online on 12:00pm, Aug 24, 2022 (America/Chicago):
  • Startup Fundraising Q&A: Meet Investors from the FI Venture Network (Online) on 7:00pm, Aug 31, 2022 (America/Chicago):
  • Co-Founder Networking: Find a Business Partner, Online on 12:00pm, Sep 07, 2022 (America/Chicago):
  • $100,000 Quantum & Photonics Pitch Competition on 12:00pm, Sep 08, 2022 (America/Chicago):
  • How to Launch a Startup with NASA Technology (Online Event) on 12:00pm, Sep 21, 2022 (America/Chicago):
  • [Restricted Access] Community Led Growth: Iconic Brands & Raving Fans, with Lloyed Lobo + VIP Networking on 12:00pm, Sep 22, 2022 (America/Chicago):
  • Startup Idea Pitch Practice: Get Friendly Feedback from Experts (Online) on 12:00pm, Sep 28, 2022 (America/Chicago):

Make better, faster business decisions in 2022 by sharing your latest progress, challenges, and strategies for constant feedback and evaluation from our expert mentors and advisors, every step of the way–scale your team, develop new business opportunities, and recruit an amazing advisory board with the world's largest network of international startup founders, CEOs, advisors, and investors.

The Chicago accelerator is led by some of the region's top startup leaders, including Jason Jacobsohn. In addition, some of the greater Chicago area's top entrepreneurs will be participating as mentors in the program, including:

  • Aaron Dallek: VP of Operations and Sales, MD Metals
  • Abigail Ingram: Director, Women in Entrepreneurship Institute, DePaul University
  • Ablorde Ashigbi: CEO, 4Degrees
  • Adeo Ressi: Founder/CEO
  • Aditya Nath: Executive Director, Tada Cognitive Solutions
  • Aidan Salvi: Founder, Angel Investor, Advisor, Technologist, Multiple
  • AJ DeLeon: CEO, Innovare
  • Alex Gorsuch: Co-founder, CTO, Ascent Integrated Tech
  • Alex Glenn: Founder,
  • Amor Montes De Oca: Executive Director, Illinois Women in Cannabis
  • Andrew Lee: CEO, Esper
  • Anne Mayers: Organizer, Chicago Product Management Association
  • Ashish Rangnekar: CEO & Co-Founder, BenchPrep
  • Aviv Shalgi: CEO, Solar Simplified
  • Bart Carlson: CEO, Azuba and Napersoft
  • Blake Allsmith: CEO,
  • Bob Gillespie: Executive Director, Second Century Ventures
  • Brad Schnitzer: Program Manager, Techstars Chicago
  • Brad Spirrison: CEO, Grown In
  • Candace Clark: Founder & CTO, Hi Tech Consulting
  • Carter Goetz: Associate Attorney, Howard & Howard Attorneys PLLC
  • Cate Brady: Founding Director, Bulk AG Innovations
  • Charles Kwon: Managing Partner, Concitor
  • Chereesca Bejasa: CEO, Zenevate, LLC
  • Chintan Oza: Advisor, Lloyds Ventures
  • Chris Sorensen: Founder & CEO, Lake Forest Venture Management
  • Christina Holloway: Executive Coach, Compass Enterprises LLC
  • Cory Warfield: Chief Connection Officer, Coryconnects
  • Dan Cotter: Partner, Howard & Howard
  • Dan Ushman: Founder and CEO, TrendSpider
  • Daniel Roberts: CEO, Scout Security Inc.
  • David Culver: Co-Founder, VentureSHOT
  • David Hurst: CEO, Orbital Transports
  • David Rosen: CEO, Acrelic Group
  • David Zaretsky: CEO, Chief Scientist & Co-Founder, Snips Media
  • David Douglas: Founder & CEO, Yolobe Inc.
  • Derick Jiwan: Innovation and Business Development Manager, WinField United at land O' Lakes
  • Don Bora: Principal Technology/Owner and Co-Founder, Eight Bit Studios
  • Eddie Patzsch: Co-Founder,
  • Eric Broughton: Chief Strategy Officer, InhabitIQ
  • Fabian Geyrhalter: Founder and Principal, Finien
  • Garry Cooper: CEO/ Co-Founder , Rheaply
  • Gary Gaessler: SaaS Community Builder, Nylas, Co-Founder of CloudElements
  • Gavenraj Sodhi: Senior Product Manager, Hitach Vantara
  • Gavin Martin: Founding Partner, onPurpose Growth
  • Genevieve Thiers: Founder, Sittercity
  • George Powell: Founder, CEO, Easy Beauty
  • George Khalife: Vice President, U.S. Capital Formation, Toronto Stock Exchange
  • Heather Holmes: CEO & Founder, Genivity
  • Jacqueline Kuehl: Managing Director, Digital Marketing Concentration, DePaul University
  • Jason Jacobsohn: Managing Director, Propellant Ventures
  • Jason Randolph: Managing Partner, Neuroactive
  • Jed Abernethy: Corporate Innovation and Startup Executive, Entrepreneur / Digital Transformation
  • Jeff Weber: Founder, Chalenj
  • Jeff Lyons: Operating Director, City Capital Advisors, LLC
  • Jeff Hyman: Chief Talent Officer, Strong Suit Executive Search
  • Jeffrey Coney: Executive Coach and Mentor
  • Jeffrey Eschbach: Founder & CEO, Page Vault Inc.
  • Jeremy Baras: Director of Business Development, Startup Space
  • Jill Miller: CEO, Lunum
  • Joe Lee: CEO, Inverse
  • Joe Bezdek: Co-founder, DivX, Inc.
  • Joe Born: CEO, Aiwa Corp.
  • Joe Bellavance: Founder & CEO, Slice Content Technologies
  • John Ernst: CEO, Kinnektor
  • John R Dallas Jr: CEO, Hillview Partners Network LLC and ENCLAVE for Entrepreneurs Foundation Inc.
  • Joshua Furstoss: Chapter Director, Chicago, Founders Network
  • Justin Gingerich: Partner, Howard & Howard Attorneys PLLC
  • Karun Rathi: Finance and Operations Analyst, FONTERRA
  • Katie Hench: Co-Founder, Infiniteach
  • Kelly Fitzsimmons: Co-Founder, Custom Reality Services
  • Kevin Taylor: Assistant Professor of Entrepreneurship, Stetson University
  • Kim Rubenstein: Cofounder, Chief Research + Product, Compatibility
  • Kord Kutchins: Principal, Shared Value Advisors, LLC
  • Laurence Hayward: Partner, Independence Equity
  • Louis Morales: President, The Catnip Times
  • Mara Rada: CEO & Chief of Strategy, Citronade Naming and Branding
  • Marcos Polanco: CTO, Bellwether Coffee
  • Marisa Bryce: Co-Founder & CEO, CityXones
  • Mark Achler: Managing Director, Math Venture Partners
  • Marsha McVicker: Founder & CEO, Lyla
  • Marshall Stanton: Executive Vice President, Global Operations, Catalina Marketing Corporation
  • Matt Mandell: Principal,
  • Matthew Miller: Director, Product Strategy & UX, Digital Intent
  • Matthew Willis: General Manager Americas, Broadbean Technologies | Green Planet Group
  • Meghan Hoover: CEO, SceneSave
  • Michael Kelly: CEO , DeveloperTown
  • Michael Carney: President, MWC Accounting
  • Michael Kramer: Founder and CEO, ManageHub, Inc.
  • Michael Carruth: President/Founder, Fiodan Corporation
  • Mike Kritzman: Founder & CEO, SkillNet
  • Mike Anguiano: Founder, SupplyHive
  • Mindi Knebel: Founder & CEO, Kaizan Health
  • Neil Kane: Founder & President, Illinois Partners, LLC
  • Nick Arnold: Associate, HG Ventures
  • Nicole Loftus: Founder & CEO, Pop Venture
  • Noah Wallach: Founder, Hope OS
  • Parminder Batra: CEO, TraknProtect
  • Patricia Riskind: Head of Global Healthcare, Qualtrics
  • Patrick Noel Daly: Founder/CEO, Icon Global Innovations
  • Peter Tapling: Managing Director, PTap Advisory, LLC
  • Phil Leslie: Managing Director, TechNexus Venture Collaborative
  • Phil Libin: Founder & CEO, All Turtles
  • Pinaki Saha: Founder & CEO, Anshar Labs
  • Prateek Mathur: CEO, Activated Scale
  • Rajesh Voddiraju: Founder & Group President, HealthiPASS Inc
  • Reva Minkoff: Founder and President, DigitalGroundUp Inc. and Digital4Startups Inc.
  • Ronald Franczyk: CTO & Partner, Red Foundry
  • Ross Kimbarovsky: Founder and CEO, crowdspring
  • Russ Gottesman: Founder/CEO, CommuterAds
  • Scott Issen: President & CEO, Future Founders
  • Shaniqua Davis: CEO and Founder, Noirefy
  • Shashank Aiisvari: Founder, Aiisvari
  • Sneha Lundia Agrawal: Founder & CEO, Step2Growth
  • Stephen Meade: Founder & CEO, MonetaPro
  • Steven Kemmerling: CEO, CRB Monitor
  • Timothy Kelley: CEO, TeleRay
  • Tom Giles: Founder, Megatron Ventures
  • Ujjwal Gupta: Cofounder & COO, BenchPrep
  • Victor Gulley: Founder & CEO, Upstage
  • William Furlong: Founder & CEO, SquareStack
  • William Mortimore: CEO, Project Foundry
  • Yarin Gaon: Strategy & Marketing Specialist, Y.G.
  • Zareen Khan: Program Manager, gener8tor Sustainability

  • And many more to be announced.

Since 2009, Founder Institute’s highly-structured accelerator programs have helped over 6,000 entrepreneurs to grow quickly, know what to do next, and make key connections through the largest community of startup advisors in the world.

It all starts with our renowned ‘FI Core’ accelerator, which pushes founders at the idea and pre-seed stages to reach the milestones needed for investment and sustained growth. Alumni of FI Core then receive free access to our advanced ‘Founder Lab’ accelerators for years to come, and can get matched with prospective investors in the FI Venture Network - a collection of global funds actively investing in the earliest rounds of funding.

The results speak for themselves: FI Alumni have raised over $1.75BN in funding, and are building impactful businesses across 200+ cities and 95+ countries all across the globe. (see the FI 50 Report here).

Join us in Chicago to get funded and build a global business. 

Apply to the Chicago Fall 2022 Founder Institute today, or learn more at  


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