Schedule

Luxembourg 2020

In the Founder Institute, you won't "learn" how to build a business. Rather, you will build your business alongside top startup experts using a proven, structured process that has helped some of the world's fastest growing companies raise over $900M in funding. 

Our 14-week, in-person program includes a series of challenging growth sprints, in addition to Weekly Feedback Sessions where you will receive constant feedback on your progress from experienced Mentors and Investors. 

See the schedule for the Luxembourg 2020 program below.

The Final Application Deadline for the Luxembourg 2020 program is 2019-11-24, and you can apply to the program at FI.co/join.

Orientation

Meet the cohort & learn our methodology

Date: 2019-12-04
Starts at: 06:30 PM

This is where it all begins. During Orientation, we will review the Founder Institute program structure, methodology, tools, and requirements. You will meet the cohort and establish how your startup will use the program to push your business forward.

Sprints

During Orientation, your cohort will be split up into the “Launch Track” or “Growth Track”, depending on the stage your business. The "Launch Track" focuses earlier Founders and teams on validation and go-to-markets, while the "Growth Track" focuses teams with a live product and customers on traction and funding. 

The below deliverables are in addition to any custom "Epic Sprints" you may receive based on your specific challenges, and below is a small sample of the deliverables you’ll complete through Working Groups and Office Hours:

 

Launch Track Deliverables

  1. Progress - Outline your business ideas and any testing or progress made to date. 
  2. Hotseat Pitch - Prepare a one minute verbal pitch for the weekly “Founder Hotseat”, where you present to Mentors during the Feedback Sessions. Start with our one-sentence pitch template, and if you do not have a final idea yet, describe yourself and a field that you are passionate about and uniquely qualified to build a business around.
  3. Co-Founders - If you are looking for a Co-Founder, create a basic description of what you are looking for, and this will be shared with the rest of your cohort.

 

Growth Track Deliverables

  1. Program Goals - Outline the monthly objectives your team wants to achieve during the four month Core Program.
  2. Key Performance Indicators - Outline the KPIs that you are currently using to track success. Analyze the validity of these metrics, and create a plan to share updated metrics and progress with your Local Leaders every week in the program.
  3. Hotseat Pitch - Prepare a one minute verbal pitch for the weekly “Founder Hotseat”, where you present to Mentors during the Feedback Sessions. Start with our one-sentence pitch template, followed by why your team is uniquely qualified to execute your business and the progress that you’ve made to date.

Vision

Define a strong business vision

Date: 2019-12-05
Starts at: 06:30 PM

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

Sprints

Below are just a few of the 10-15 deliverables you’ll complete through Working Groups and Office Hours:

 

Launch Track Deliverables

  1. Ideation - Catalogue the ideas that you are interested in pursuing, or examine different variations of the current business you are pursuing.
  2. Initial Interviews - Using our templates, interview at least 15 people that have knowledge of the customer problems or may be potential customers themselves.
  3. Market Research - Utilize our market research template to collect accurate and available market information on the customer problems you are analyzing. 

 

Growth Track Deliverables

  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. 
  3. Visioneering - Describe what your business will look like when it has $100 million in annual revenues, including the vision, culture, and main revenue stream, and outline at least 5 steps that need to happen for your company to reach that goal.

Customer Development

Analyze your customer feedback

Date: 2019-12-11
Starts at: 06:30 PM

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.

 

Sprints

Below are just a few of the 10-15 deliverables you’ll complete through Working Groups and Office Hours:

 

Launch Track Deliverables

  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. Customer Archetype - Use our guidelines to develop or improve an initial customer archetype for your ideal target customer.
  3. Landing Pages - 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.

 

Growth Track Deliverables

  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. 
  3. Interview Competitor Customers - Identify customers of competing products or solutions and encourage them to switch to your solution, ideally securing a letter of intent (“LOI”), or developing an ongoing relationship for feedback. 

Revenue

Validate a scalable revenue model

Date: 2019-12-18
Starts at: 06:30 PM

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. 

 

Sprints

Below are just a few of the 10-15 deliverables you’ll complete through Working Groups and Office Hours:

 

Launch Track Deliverables

  1. 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. Revenue Models - Narrow down that problem to three potential revenue models, and thoroughly analyze the positives and negatives of each model.
  3. 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.

 

Growth Track Deliverables

  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. 
  3. Product Development - Refactor your plans to prioritize the release of a solution that will generate initial customer revenue and validate your riskiest assumptions.

Branding & Design

Get feedback on branding & design

Date: 2020-01-08
Starts at: 06:30 PM

In this session, Mentors will analyze your existing branding and design, and also discuss how to develop an enduring brand and great user experiences.  

Sprints

Below are just a few of the 10-15 deliverables you’ll complete through Working Groups and Office Hours: 

 

Launch Track Deliverables

  1. Competitor Branding - Analyze and compare the name and branding of at least 15 companies with a competing offering, in a related industry, or with a similar value proposition in a different industry.
  2. Name Brainstorming - Use combinations of your naming words to develop a series of business names for the review of your peers and Directors.
  3. Name Research - Research the availability of the combined words as a domain name and list the ones that are most available.

 

Growth Track Deliverables

  1. Branding Expert - Leverage the FI Network to set up meetings with industry experts to get feedback about your name, branding, and customer experience. 
  2. 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. 
  3. 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.  

Mentor Idea Review

Test the core business on a mentor panel

Date: 2020-01-22
Starts at: 06:30 PM

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. 

 

Sprints

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

 

  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. 
  3. 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.  
  4. Sales Follow-up - Continue to work on securing sales or commitments for revenue, growing the rate month over month. For B2B solutions, get as many contracts or letters of intent as possible. For B2C solutions, aggressively increase your revenue (or submitted information indicating they will pay you). Document all lessons learned.
  5. 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.
  6. Legal - 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. 

Legal & IP

Review your legal infrastructure

Date: 2020-01-29
Starts at: 06:30 PM

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.

 

Sprints

Below are just a few of the 10-15 deliverables you’ll complete through Working Groups and Office Hours:

  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. Capitalization Table - Develop or improve your capitalization table (“Cap Table”) that shows the ownership structure of the business, using our template and guidelines.
  3. 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.
  4. 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. 
  5. 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.
  6. 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.

Go-to-Market & Scale

Improve your strategy to launch or scale

Date: 2020-02-05
Starts at: 06:30 PM

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 ecomomics, customer acquisition, and more.   

Sprints

Below are just a few of the 10-15 deliverables you’ll complete through Working Groups and Office Hours:

  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.
  3. 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. 
  4. Customer Acquisition Channels - Identify at least five initial or new major marketing channels to acquire customers that are appropriate for your solution.
  5. 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. 
  6. Unit Economics - Research any data on the standard Cost of Customer Acquisition (CAC) and standard Lifetime Value (LTV) for your industry and segment, and compare and analyze against the metrics you have collected thus far. 

Product Development

Get feedback on your product roadmap

Date: 2020-02-12
Starts at: 06:30 PM

In this Feedback Sesison, 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.

 

Sprints

Below are just a few of the 10-15 deliverables you’ll complete through Working Groups and Office Hours:

  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. 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.
  3. Project Team - If you have not already, organize the skills and roles needed to execute on your solution goals, whether using existing team members or supplementing through hiring or outsourcing. 
  4. Product Roadmap - Develop a first or updated product roadmap, using our guidelines, in order to meet your solution goals with your project team.
  5. Project Plan - Fine tune the schedule of releases in your product roadmap to be as simple as possible to each test one hypothesis of the business, using our guidelines.
  6. Hotseat Pitch - Prepare a five minute presentation for the Mentor Progress Review that includes sufficient information to enable Mentors to evaluate your progress and plans.

Mentor Progress Review

Test your progress on a mentor panel

Date: 2020-02-19
Starts at: 06:30 PM

Similar to the Mentor Idea Review, the Mentor 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 Mentors for a detailed review. Mentors will evaluate Founders based on their progress in the program, the company’s scalability, and more.

 

Sprints

Below are just a few of the 10-15 deliverables you’ll complete through Working Groups and Office Hours: 

  1. Polished Investor Pitch Deck - Create an expanded, 12-slide pitch deck incorporating any feedback from the Mentor 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.
  3. Product - Make progress on your next product release, and outline and address any of the setbacks that you have faced with your project team.
  4. Hiring Needs - Score the progress of each member of your project team on a 1 to 10 scale, including yourself, and set up plans to improve those that are struggling. 
  5. 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.
  6. 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. 

Hiring & Onboarding

Improve your team and hiring

Date: 2020-02-26
Starts at: 06:30 PM

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. 

 

Sprints

Below are just a few of the 10-15 deliverables you’ll complete through Working Groups and Office Hours: 

  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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Time Allocation - Meticulously outline your “founder’s schedule” by allocating weekly blocks of time to address your core business activities, providing you with uninterrupted time to work on each activity.
  6. (Optional) Fundraising - If you don’t have sufficient capital to run the company for the next few months, then follow our guides to start a preparing documentation and research for a funding round.  

Growth

Establish a scalable engine for growth

Date: 2020-03-04
Starts at: 06:30 PM

In this session, Mentors will provide Founders with feedback on their current growth, 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. 

 

Sprints

Below are just a few of the 10-15 assignments you’ll complete through Working Groups and Office Hours:

  1. Growth Plan Update - Review the performance of your growth goals and adjust your growth plan to improve your performance and accountability.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Hiring Channels - Review all of the candidates that have come through the various recruiting outreach channels and other activities, and identify the most effective channels.
  6. Post-Program Onboarding - Review FI's 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. 

Equity & Funding

Fix any impediments to fundraising

Date: 2020-03-11
Starts at: 06:30 PM

In this session, Mentors will analyze Founder pitches from the perspective of an investor, identifying any remaining issues or areas for improvement. Mentors will also cover numerous topics related to fundraising, including different fundraising options, how to raise funding, and more. 

Sprints

Below are just a few of the 10-15 deliverables you’ll complete through Working Groups and Office Hours:

  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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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. 
  5. 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.'
  6. Target List - Identify local Angel Investors and Seed Accelerators, ignoring Venture Capitalists and Seed Funds. The Target List should include at least 100 local angels, 25 regional and 50 global seed accelerators, using our guidelines.

Showcase & Celebration

Celebrate & onboard to our post-programs

Date: 2020-03-18
Starts at: 06:30 PM

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.

Post Program Resources

The 4 month Core-Program is just the beginning. We have developed extensive support programs and resources for our Alumni that far exceed any other comparable startup program.

Continued Support

FI Alumni
  • Dedicated Alumni Support Team in Silicon Valley
  • Access to the world's largest network of mentors and investors (14,000+)
  • Private Alumni mailing lists
  • $2M+ in partner discounts
  • Invites to FI sessions & network events
  • Economic upside in the Equity Collective

Post-Programs

Founder Lab
  • 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
  • P/M Fit Lab helps you get to Product Market Fit
  • Venture Lab helps you close a Series-A round
  • 100% customized and FREE for Alumni