2021 is the time to rebuild. Learn more here.
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This is the time to rebuild: as the economy fully reopens in California, the world needs more entrepreneurs to lead the way in creating a brighter future for all.

As a result, the Founder Institute, the world’s largest pre-seed startup accelerator, is excited to announce that it is officially launching its newest chapter in Santa Cruz. While the Silicon-Valley based program has chapters in over 200 cities worldwide, early-stage entrepreneurs in Santa Cruz can finally now take advantage of the Founder Institute's renowned structure, mentor support, and network to build an enduring company that will survive and thrive in the new economy.

Applications to the first ever Santa Cruz Founder Institute are now open, and anyone interested in building an impactful technology company can apply at FI.co/apply/santa_cruz

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.

The Founder Institute provides high-potential entrepreneurs and teams with the support network and structured growth process needed to get to traction and funding, and build something that matters. So whether you already have a business or are still in the idea-phase, now is the time to act. 

Since 2009, the Founder Institute has helped over  5,000 Alumni raise over $1 billion funding, get into seed-accelerators, generate traction, recruit a team, build a product, transition from employee to entrepreneur, and more (see the FI 10 Year Impact Report here).

To celebrate the launch, the Founder Institute will host several free online startup events in Santa Cruz, where you can learn from top entrepreneurs and hear more about the program from the comfort of your home:

The experts that have been critical in bringing the Founder Institute to Santa Cruz include local startup leaders Kirill Satanovsky and Pete Biggam.

Opportunities are flourishing in Santa Cruz, California. There is a growing ecosystem of support for entrepreneurs of all stages, from crowdfunding platforms to co-working spaces. Founder Institute will increase an aspiring technology entrepreneur's chance of success by providing the structured support that comes from a proven methodology and deep mentor network - and, a direct link to Silicon Valley!

In addition, many of the region's top founders, CEOs, advisors, and investors have signed on to mentor new entrepreneurs in the Santa Cruz Virtual 2021 Founder Institute program, including:

  • Ali Ahmed: CEO, Robomart
  • Andrea Varriale: Chapter Director, Startup Grind
  • Andy Van Valer: COO, Esaiyo, Inc.
  • Andy Marse: Director of Customer Success, Ecology Action
  • Andy Billings: Profitable Creativity, Electronic Arts
  • Anne Cocquyt: Founder & CEO, The GUILD
  • Atsuko Jenks: Founder & CEO, Japan Accelerator
  • August Anderson: CEO, Concept Squared
  • Bryan Talebi: CEO, Ahura A.I.
  • Chris Cromwell: UX Motion Designer, Indeed.com
  • Chris Miller: CEO, ScratchSpace Inc.
  • Chris Frost: Director of Technology and Infrastructure, Cruzio Internet
  • Dada Nabhaniilananda The Monk Dude: Mindfullness & Meditation Leader, Google
  • David Butler: Director, Startup Grind Zurich
  • David Chung: Regional VP Sales, VirnetX
  • David Dennis: Principal Program Manager, Microsoft
  • Deka Dike: CEO, Omatochi
  • Dianthe Skurko: Venture Partner, Growth Warrior Capital
  • Don Samoil: Managing Partner, Vendere LLC
  • Elio Asuncao: Founder, Venture Capital World Summit Inc
  • Felipe Castro Quiles: CEO, Emerging Rule
  • Feron Mcgurrin: Creative Team Lead - Product Innovation Team, Samsung USA
  • Francisco Cruz Mendoza: Community Manager, Notion
  • Gabriela Covay Moore: Agency Owner, Bright Valley Marketing, LLC
  • Gil Allouche: Founder & CEO, metadata.io
  • Gina Cavuoto: Media Specialist, Believe Agency
  • Ian Gordon: DevOps, Orcale
  • Irina Berkon: Member, Golden Seeds
  • Jake Tital: Co-Founder, Sproutways
  • Jake Kuczeruk: Business Development, The Arcview Group
  • James Leaverton: Partner Marketing Manager, Startups, Equinix
  • Jay Rooke: Executive Coach, Jay Rooke Coaching
  • Jean Garcia Periche: Co-Founder, GENIA Latinoamerica
  • Jean-Claude Junqua: CEO, CE2Innovate
  • John Cleveland: Lead Advisor, SkyDeck Berkeley
  • Jon Baer: Managing Partner, StoneHearth Ventures
  • Jonathan Lu: Managing Partner, Transformation Equity Partners
  • Jordan Layman: Co-Founder, Idea Fabrication Labs, LLC.
  • Jose Ostolaza: Co-Founder, Red Rock Rebels
  • Josh Jacques: COO, Mautto Handbags
  • Joshua Krammes: https://www.linkedin.com/in/joshuakrammes/, Equinix
  • Julio Casado: Founder, Full Funnel Growth
  • Katrin Jakob: Managing Partner, California Business Associates, LLC
  • Kevin Noble: Co-Founder, Red Rock Rebels
  • Kirill Satanovsky: Co-Lead, FI Santa Cruz
  • Madeline Ulivieri: Chapter Lead: Europe, North America, & LATAM, Startup Grind
  • Marius Ursache: CEO & Co-founder, MetaBeta
  • Mark Ciotola: CEO, SustainSpace
  • Matt Mathias: Faculty, CSU Monterey Bay
  • Maurits Werdmuller Von Elgg: CMO, Blacksite.Solutions, Inc.
  • Melonee Hawkins: Certified Public Accountant, Hawkins CPA, Inc.
  • Mikhail Holst: Program Manager, CITRIS Foundry
  • Mitch Altman: CEO, Cornfield Electronics, Inc.
  • Molly Pyle: Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Lead, Center on Rural Innovation
  • Neil Cohen: Marketing Therapist, Brand, Marketing & Sales Consulting
  • Newton Paskin: President & CEO, Explorer Technologies
  • Nicholas Larkins Perez: Innovation Manager, Samsung America
  • Patrick McCullough: Impact Coach, Patrick McCullough
  • Pete Biggam: Co-Lead FI Santa Cruz | CEO @ Blacksite Solutions, Blacksite.Solutions, Inc.
  • Peter Cardilla: Web Developer, Bay Photo
  • Phnam Bagley: Partner and Creative Director, Nonfiction
  • Rafael Viana: Co-Founder, Bee Family
  • Rich Foreman: CTO, Cordico
  • Russell Cole: CEO, AGXactly
  • Ryan Frederick: Principal, AWH
  • Ryan Coonerty: 3rd District Supervisor, County of Santa Cruz
  • Samantha Jewel: CEO, Urth.io
  • Shahar Matorin: CEO, Crumbiz
  • Simone Bertolone: Managing Director and Partner , Orka Ventures/CollectionHub/Anglo-American University
  • Stephen Pieraldi: Founder, Pieraldi, LLC.
  • Subramaniam Eassuwaren: Co-Founder, The Carbon Consulting Company
  • Sven Eenmaa: Director, Investment and Economic Analysis, ISS U.S. National Laboratory
  • Ted Holladay: CEO, Studio Holladay
  • Theron Mc Collough: CEO, fiifi
  • Tom Denison: CRO, SmartHealth Catalyzer
  • Torrey Smith: Co-Founder & CEO, Endiatx
  • Victor A. Robledo: CEO, Trokero, Inc

  • And many more to be announced.

The Founder Institute is designed for founders and teams all throughout the pre-seed stage, including aspiring founders with a full-time job, solo founders, teams, and founders of established companies that are pre-funding. The organization's mission is to "Globalize Silicon Valley" and build sustainable startup ecosystems that will create one million new jobs worldwide.

Join us in Santa Cruz and help build the future. 

Apply to the Santa Cruz Virtual 2021 Founder Institute today, or learn more at FI.co/overview.  


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