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Germany Spring 2024
Virtual First

Program Schedule

Our flagship 'FI Core' program combines structured sprints with constant feedback to help you reach the milestones needed for investment and growth.

Jan 28

Early Application Deadline

Feb 25

Final Application Deadline

Mar 12 06:30 pm week 1

Accelerator Kickoff

During the Accelerator Kickoff, you will meet the Local Leaders and your cohort of Founders, and establish how your startup will use the program to push your business forward.

Date
Mar 12, 2024
Time
01:30pm EDT

Sprints

Your cohort will be split up into the "Validate Track", "Launch Track" or "Growth Track", depending on each Founder's stage and existing progress.

The below deliverables are in addition to any custom "Epic Sprints" you may receive based on your specific challenges, and are just high-level previews of the 10-15 deliverables you'll complete through Working Groups and Office Hours:

Deliverables

Validate Track
  1. Introductions - Prepare concise introductions on your background, skillset, and goals in FI to share with the cohort.
  2. Office Hours - Book your first Office Hours with Local Leaders and Mentors to get guidance on the next steps for your business.
Launch Track
  1. Office Hours - Book your first Office Hours with Local Leaders and Mentors to get guidance on the next steps for your business.
  2. Hotseat Pitch - Prepare a one sentence verbal pitch for the weekly "Founder Hotseat", where you present to Mentors during the Feedback Sessions.
Traction track
  1. Hotseat Pitch - Book your first Office Hours with Local Leaders and Mentors to get guidance on the next steps for your business.
  2. Vision Statement - Create a 3-5 sentence "Why Statement" that tells a cohesive story about why your company exists, in preparation for Mentor Feedback during the next session.
Sprints
Mar 13 06:30 pm week 1

Vision & Mission

In each weekly Feedback Session, Founders will pitch and outline their strategies/ progress to the Mentors for feedback, get tips and insights on the week's topic, and have multiple opportunities to ask questions. This week you'll get tips on how to develop a strong vision for your business.

Date
Mar 13, 2024
Time
01:30pm EDT

Sprints

Below are just high-level previews of the 10-15 deliverables you'll complete through Working Groups and Office Hours:

Deliverables

Validate Track
  1. Education - Undergo a crash-course in popular startup and venture capital methodologies, metrics, and terms/ lingo.
  2. Tracking - Research and start tracking the communities surrounding your local and vertical startup ecosystems.
Launch Track
  1. Market Research - Utilize our market research template to collect accurate and available market information on the customer problems you are analyzing.
  2. Personas - Build an initial Buyer Persona to better understand your target customer's needs, challenges, and buying process.
Traction track
  1. Customer Interviews - Using our templates, interview at least 15 customers. If you already have done extensive customer development then outline your current findings and identify areas that require deeper understanding.
  2. Identify Unknowns - Document a detailed understanding of the main customer problem, and fill any required gaps in your customer knowledge.
Sprints
Mar 20 06:30 pm week 2

Customer Development

In this Feedback Session, Founders will present any customer development progress to the Mentors to examine if they are pursuing a scalable business with a clear and actionable customer problem. The Mentors will also provide tips on how to validate your key assumptions, interview potential customers effectively, and best interpret the feedback you receive.

Date
Mar 20, 2024
Time
01:30pm EDT

Sprints

Below are just high-level previews of the 10-15 deliverables you'll complete through Working Groups and Office Hours:

Deliverables

Validate Track
  1. Market Research - Utilize our market research template to collect accurate and available market information on the customer problems you are analyzing.
  2. Competitive Analysis - For each remaining customer problem, develop or improve a professional landing page targeted to your initial customer archetype, and quickly build up a mailing list to receive customer feedback.
Launch Track
  1. Customer Interviews - Develop a longer series of customer interview questions based on your initial interviews and key assumptions, with at least ten open-ended customer interview questions for each customer problem.
  2. Revenue Modeling - For each remaining customer problem, develop or improve a professional landing page targeted to your initial customer archetype, and quickly build up a mailing list to receive customer feedback.
Traction track
  1. Customer Archetype - Use our guidelines to create or update a detailed customer archetype of your target customer, based on either your existing customers or improved research.
  2. Revenue Interviews - Interview customers about the pricing of your revenue model, using three different revenue models/ pricing schemes. Confirm your existing model or select a new one based off these interviews.
Sprints
Mar 21 07:00 pm week 2

Founder Meet & Greet: Berlin In-Person Startup Networking Spring Edition

Berlin has a fast growing startup ecosystem, and entrepreneurs here are lucky to have so many resources available to help them in their journey. However, many people don't know about all of the resources available, the differences between them, or what resources are right for them. At this in-person event, we will feature directors, previous graduates and mentors of the Founder Institute but also make it a good space to meet other people with entrepreneurial mindsets. We bring this as a monthly recurring event to provide an easy way to connect and mingle in the Berlin startup ecosystem.

Date
Mar 21, 2024
Time
02:00pm EDT
Sprints
Mar 27

Refund Deadline

Mar 27 06:30 pm week 3

Revenue & Business Models

In this Feedback Session, Founders will share their pitch and revenue model with Mentors for feedback and continued refinement. You will also get tips on how to sustain your startup before receiving financing or revenue, identifying the most lucrative revenue source for your business, testing different revenue sources with your target customers, and more.

Date
Mar 27, 2024
Time
01:30pm EDT

Sprints

Below are just high-level previews of the 10-15 deliverables you'll complete through Working Groups and Office Hours:

Deliverables

Validate Track
  1. One Customer Problem - Based on your research, select one customer problem to pursue in the program that has the greatest chance to generate significant revenue.
  2. Founder-Product Fit - Assess which of your current ideas align best with your unique capabilities and passions.
Launch Track
  1. Revenue Models - Narrow down that problem to three potential revenue models, and thoroughly analyze the positives and negatives of each model.
  2. Professional Pitch Deck - Use our templates to develop a professional three minute long pitch deck, based on the feedback, concepts and flow that have resonated from your Hotseat pitches.
Traction track
  1. Expert Interviews - Speak with three financial people who have experience in a similar industry to your customer problem, and get their insights and opinion on the scalability of your revenue model.
  2. Key Performance Indicators - Based on your research thus far, identify the final key metrics that will impact your ability to secure revenue (and funding). Discuss these with your Local Leaders, and finalize a tracking system for these metrics.
Sprints
Apr 10 06:30 pm week 5

Pitch Mastery

An entrepreneur never stops pitching, so this session focuses 100% on helping you build a great pitch. First, the mentors will share the latest best practices for pitching your startup - whether the pitch is for investors, team members, customers, partners, or otherwise. Then, you'll share your most recent pitch and receive constructive feedback on how to improve.

Date
Apr 10, 2024
Time
12:30pm EDT

Sprints

Below are just high-level previews of the 10-15 deliverables you'll complete through Working Groups and Office Hours:

Deliverables

Validate Track
  1. Choose a Pitch Narrative - The best fundraisers craft a story about where the world is headed, and why their business will benefit. Review other similar company pitches, and then utilize our guidelines to pick the right narrative pitch structure for you.
  2. Identify your "Elephants in the Room" - Every pitch contains obvious components that will be questioned by any seasoned entrepreneur, advisor, or investor. Identify yours and plan to mitigate them.
Launch Track
  1. Build your Pitch Script - Practice makes perfect, especially with an early version of your pitch. The average 3 minute pitch consists of 450 words at normal talking speed. Create the written version of your script and get feedback from your peers.
  2. Idea Review Pitch Deck - Finalize your 3-minute pitch deck for the Mentor Idea Review, using our templates and guidelines. Practice the pitch at least five times with your peers, and revise it based on feedback. Upload a final video on the deliverables page.
Traction track
  1. Close Sales - Follow-up on your previous sales activities, and measure the time allocated, conversion rates, financial spending and other metrics for each activity. Your goal is to convert new sales and/or show quantifiable traction before the Mentor Idea Review.
  2. Idea Review Pitch Deck - Finalize your 3-minute pitch deck for the Mentor Idea Review, using our templates and guidelines. Practice the pitch at least five times with your peers, and revise it based on feedback. Upload a final video on the deliverables page.
Sprints
Apr 17 06:30 pm week 6

Mentor Idea Review

This is the first big checkpoint in the program to determine your progress. During the Mentor Idea Review, you will present a longer presentation to a panel of FI Mentors for extensive review. You will receive a rating, as well as feedback on the long-term viability of your offering, revenue model, growth strategy, and more.

Date
Apr 17, 2024
Time
12:30pm EDT

Sprints

After the Mentor Idea Review, Founders receive a larger number of custom "Epic Sprints" with deliverables based on their specific challenges. Below are high-level previews of standard deliverables.

Deliverables

Validate Track
  1. Corporate Materials - Immediately update your 3 minute pitch deck and video based on the Mentor Idea Review feedback, and develop a new and updated Executive Summary using our template.
  2. Advisor Candidates - You will create (or fill out) an Advisory Board in the next 5 weeks, so develop a target list of new advisor candidates based off your identified needs and gaps in knowledge/ connections.
Launch Track
  1. Advisor Candidates - You will create (or fill out) an Advisory Board in the next 5 weeks, so develop a target list of new advisor candidates based off your identified needs and gaps in knowledge/ connections.
  2. Advisor Outreach - Leverage the FI network to get introductions to your targets where necessary, and follow our templated process to make progress on your advisory board.
Traction track
  1. Financial Model - Develop or professionalize your financial model based on our template that focuses on expenses ("burn") to understand your cash needs. Develop a revenue forecast for 12-18 months and factor in timing considerations from your sales follow-up work.
  2. Legal Assessment - Identify your short to medium term legal needs, and if you don't already have a law firm, identify at least two local law candidates that have experience working with startups. Begin vetting new or existing law firms using our guidelines.
Sprints
Apr 18 07:00 pm week 6

Founder Meet & Greet: Berlin In-Person Startup Networking (Easter Edition)

Berlin has a fast growing startup ecosystem, and entrepreneurs here are lucky to have so many resources available to help them in their journey. However, many people don't know about all of the resources available, the differences between them, or what resources are right for them. At this in-person event, we will feature directors, previous graduates and mentors of the Founder Institute but also make it a good space to meet other people with entrepreneurial mindsets. We bring this as a monthly recurring event to provide an easy way to connect and mingle in the Berlin startup ecosystem.

Date
Apr 18, 2024
Time
01:00pm EDT
Sprints
Apr 24 06:30 pm week 7

Legal & Equity

In this Feedback Session, startup lawyers and CEOs will explain various legal agreements, startup legal components (such as equity), cap tables, how to protect intellectual property, the best practices for managing a law firm, and more. As usual, Mentors will also provide Founders with ratings and feedback on their startup pitch and progress.

Date
Apr 24, 2024
Time
12:30pm EDT

Sprints

Below are just high-level previews of the 10-15 deliverables you'll complete through Working Groups and Office Hours:

Deliverables

Validate Track
  1. Legal Review - Review our Legal Guide to fully understand all critical startup legal components, including granting equity, vesting equity, granting options, issuing common stock versus preferred stock, and more. If any of your existing legal structure is in conflict with these best practices, then create a plan for resolution.
  2. Finalize Co-Founder Legal (if any) - Create a list of any co-founders, co-founder candidates or founding Team Members that you have for your Founder Institute company, and begin the next steps in formalizing the relationship.
Launch Track
  1. Law Firm Engagement - If you don't already have a law firm, meet with your law firm candidates and sign an "engagement letter" with your chosen firm.
  2. Corporate Formation Agreements - If you don't already have a suitable corporation, secure all of your corporate formation agreements which govern how the business conducts itself.
Traction track
  1. Capitalization Table - Develop or improve your capitalization table ("Cap Table") that shows the ownership structure of the business, using our template and guidelines.
  2. Equity Collective - Prepare to join the Equity Collective, and send your law firm the necessary agreements and request their help to properly fill out the required fields.
Sprints
May 02 06:30 pm week 8

Go-to-Market & Scale

In this Feedback Session, Mentors will provide Founders with feedback on their current go-to-market plans and progress, and cover topics like marketing messaging, unit economics, customer acquisition, and more.

Date
May 02, 2024
Time
12:30pm EDT

Sprints

Below are just high-level previews of the 10-15 deliverables you'll complete through Working Groups and Office Hours:

Deliverables

Validate Track
  1. Alternatives - Identify two alternative models (markets or "pivots") for your go-to-market solution to discover the most lucrative market opportunity. Interview at least 2 customers for each alternative.
  2. Test Marketing Messaging - Write at least three separate marketing messages for your solution, and A/B test them using landing pages with at least 100 engagements each.
Launch Track
  1. Alternatives - Identify two alternative models (markets or "pivots") for your go-to-market solution to discover the most lucrative market opportunity. Interview at least 2 customers for each alternative.
  2. Advisor Follow-Up - In the next Step you will finalize advisors, so begin finalization meetings with your top candidates, and set up test Advisor Test Projects where necessary following our templates.
Traction track
  1. Customer Acquisition Channels - Identify at least five initial or new major marketing channels to acquire customers that are appropriate for your solution.
  2. Conversion Rate - Begin testing at least three of your new customer acquisition channels, pushing as much traffic through them as possible to evaluate their comparative conversion rates.
Sprints
May 08 06:30 pm week 9

Product Development

In this Feedback Session, Mentors will provide Founders with feedback on their current product, and/or product roadmap. Expert in product development will also discuss best practices in product management, roadmapping, managing product teams, and more.

Date
May 08, 2024
Time
12:30pm EDT

Sprints

Below are just high-level previews of the 10-15 deliverables you'll complete through Working Groups and Office Hours:

Deliverables

Validate Track
  1. Solution Goals - Evaluate the current state of your solution, and outline the three solution goals that you would like the next product release to solve for your target customers over the next year.
  2. Minimum Viable Tests - Design a lightweight method to test the key assumptions for your business before beginning product development.
Launch Track
  1. Intellectual Property - If you have not already, secure and protect the intellectual property for all of the work done to date. Examine the need for patents, if applicable, following our guidelines.
  2. Team Analysis - Define and get extensive feedback on the requisite technical skills, soft skills, expertise, and networks will be needed in your core team.
Traction track
  1. Product Roadmap - Develop an updated product roadmap, using our guidelines, in order to meet your solution goals with your project team.
  2. Investor Pitch - Prepare a five minute presentation for the Investor Progress Review that includes sufficient information to enable Mentors to evaluate your progress and plans.
Sprints
May 15 06:30 pm week 10

Investor Progress Review

Similar to the Mentor Idea Review, the Investor Progress Review is the second major test in the program. In this session, Founders will focus on give a long presentation their progress and traction to a panel of Investors and Advisors for a detailed review. Founders will be evaluated based on their progress in the program, the company's scalability, and more.

Date
May 15, 2024
Time
12:30pm EDT

Sprints

Below are just high-level previews of the 10-15 deliverables you'll complete through Working Groups and Office Hours:

Deliverables

Validate Track
  1. First Investor Pitch Deck - Create a first investor-focused pitch deck incorporating any feedback from the Investor Progress Review, using our templates.
  2. Viability Testing - Make progress on your Minimum Viable Tests, and outline and address any of the setbacks that you have faced.
Launch Track
  1. Polished Investor Pitch Deck - Create an expanded, 12-slide pitch deck incorporating any feedback from the Investor Progress Review, using our templates.
  2. Growth - Make progress on your growth goals, and examine or adjust how your strategy and the system to keep yourself accountable is performing.
Traction track
  1. Finalize Advisory Board - Set up your advisory board with startup, industry, technology or marketing advisors, and set up a one hour conference call with all of the them, which will be your first quarterly advisory board meeting.
  2. Financial Model Update - Review and update your financial model with the work done to date. Adjust the revenue projections based on your growth thus far, and evaluate the need and requirements for external funding.
Sprints
May 22 06:30 pm week 11

Co-Founders & Team

In this Feedback Session, Founders will receive feedback from Mentors on their team plans and product progress. In addition, Mentors will discuss how to identify the roles needed to build a world-class company, how to develop a strategy to recruit, onboard and retain the best people, and more.

Date
May 22, 2024
Time
12:30pm EDT

Sprints

Below are just high-level previews of the 10-15 deliverables you'll complete through Working Groups and Office Hours:

Deliverables

Validate Track
  1. Candidates - Search for candidates to hire (including Co-Founders) by identifying everyone that you know who is appropriate, or leveraging the FI network, to fill the top two or three roles you are not planning to outsource.
  2. Hiring Process - Develop a hiring and onboarding process using our guidelines to add team members into your organization, and begin executing on the process.
Launch Track
  1. Hiring Process - Develop a hiring and onboarding process using our guidelines to add team members into your organization, and begin executing on the process.
  2. Test Projects - Develop at least one test project for each of your top two or three roles, which should create opportunities for credible candidates to demonstrate their skills.
Traction track
  1. Advisor Review - Arrange a meeting or phone call with at least one of your advisors to discuss your hiring work. Present everything that you have done, and incorporate their feedback into your planning.
  2. Fundraising - Develop your fundraising plan by building a comprehensive, targeted list of connectors and investors focused on your specific stage and sector.
Sprints
May 29 06:30 pm week 12

Growth

In this session, Mentors will provide Founders with feedback on their current growth, branding, metrics, and strategy. Mentors will discuss various growth tactics, setting growth goals and milestones, communicating your startup's growth progress and setbacks with stakeholders and advisors, and more.

Date
May 29, 2024
Time
12:30pm EDT

Sprints

Below are just high-level previews of the 10-15 deliverables you'll complete through Working Groups and Office Hours:

Deliverables

Validate Track
  1. Team-Building Channels - Review all of the candidates that have come through the various recruiting outreach channels and other activities, and identify the most effective channels.
  2. Growth Tactics - Work with your working group and advisors to brainstorm 15 new ideas to increase the top of your funnel, and provide a bulleted list of these Growth Tactics.
Launch Track
  1. Sales - Pursue aggressive goals to close new revenue or users, which may be signups, payments, a signed contract, a pre-payment or a signed letter of intent.
  2. Pivot - Consider a pivot if you are not meeting your growth goals, sales, product or hiring progress targets. If you decide to Pivot, schedule a call with one of your Local Leaders to discuss your proposed pivot in the business and do the same with your advisors.
Traction track
  1. Growth Plan Update - Review the performance of your growth goals and adjust your growth plan to improve your performance and accountability.
  2. Post-Program Onboarding - Review the FI post-program resources, and work with your cohort on a monthly meeting schedule where you will continue to meet, provide updates, and share learnings on your progress.
Sprints
Jun 05 06:30 pm week 13

Funding

In this session, Mentors will give you insider tip and tricks to raise funding for your startup in the current market, and in your locale. Mentors will also cover numerous topics related to fundraising, including different fundraising options, how to raise funding, and more.

Date
Jun 05, 2024
Time
12:30pm EDT

Sprints

Below are just high-level previews of the 10-15 deliverables you'll complete through Working Groups and Office Hours:

Deliverables

Validate Track
  1. Minimum Victory Condition - Work with your Local Leaders to establish your "Victory Condition" to achieve before the "Impact Deadline" (three months after the program ends), and add it to your business calendar.
  2. Advisor Strategy - Set up a call with each of your advisors and briefly review your "Victory Condition", the funding strategy, hiring plan, sales plan and product plan.
Launch Track
  1. Advisor Strategy - Set up a call with each of your advisors and briefly review your "Victory Condition", the funding strategy, hiring plan, sales plan and product plan.
  2. Use of Proceeds - Examine the capital needs of the business, and extend your financial model to project revenues and expenses for a total of 24 months from now.
Traction track
  1. Final Investor Pitch Deck - Refine your investor pitch deck, and update it with all of your work to date, including details from your various plans. Test the presentation on peers and Directors and upload it to the FI site for review.
  2. Deal Room - Create a Deal Room for future investors that includes relevant files like Company documents with legal, Pitch Deck, Team bios, Board Materials, Financials, Sales information, Marketing materials and Intellectual Property.
Sprints
Jun 07 06:00 pm week 13

Startup Investor Connect: Masterclass on Securing Funding in Germany

Join us for an exclusive masterclass designed to equip founders and startup teams with essential strategies to connect with investors and secure funding. Whether you're struggling to get replies or unsure how to showcase your startup's potential, this session will provide the tools and strategies you need to effectively capture investor interest.

Date
Jun 07, 2024
Time
12:00pm EDT
Sprints
Jun 14 07:00 pm week 14

Graduation

Completing the Founder Institute is an honor. The program is challenging, and the expectations are demanding.In this final session, you will celebrate with your peers, friends and family, as well as select Mentors. Some Founders will also pitch to a live audience, and you will officially onboard to all of the post-program resources and assistance the Founder Institute provides.

Date
Jun 14, 2024
Time
01:00pm EDT
Sprints
week 15+

Post Programs

The FI Core Program is just the beginning of a life long journey.

Founder Institute Alumni get access to a series of advanced accelerator programs, ongoing support from our Silicon Valley Team, valuable partner and service discounts, and more to continue building the business for years to come.

There are no hidden costs, additional contracts or surprise subscription fees: all our post-program support is free and exclusive to FI Alumni companies, for life.

Continued Support
Continued Support
  • Dedicated Alumni Support Team in Silicon Valley

  • Access to the world's largest network of mentors and investors (35,000+)

  • Private Alumni mailing lists

  • 2M+ in partner discounts

  • Invites to FI sessions & network events

  • Potential introductions to investors

Structured Post-Programs
Structured Post-Programs
  • A series of virtual advisory programs where you work with our Silicon Valley HQ team to reach next milestones

  • Funding Lab helps get your lead investor within 6 months

  • The FI Venture Network matches Alumni ready for funding with a massive pool of investors that specialize in writing 'first or second checks' of funding

  • 100% Free for FI Alumni

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