Graduating from the Founder Institute is hard - in fact, less than 30% of accepted Founders generally are able to make it through the program. This is by design, because one of our key values is that The Founder Institute is hard, because building an enduring company is much, much harder.
That said, like any startup program or startup accelerator, Graduating from the Founder Institute is by no means the end --- it is simply the means to the end. The 3.5 month Founder Institute semester is just the beginning.
A key focus at Founder Institute HQ for the last several years has been to develop support programs and resources for our Founders post-Graduation, to ensure that we are giving them the best possible chance to succeed in the marketplace.
The result of this work spawned our 3-step approach to Graduate Support, which far exceeds any other comparable startup program.
- Dedicated support contact in Silicon Valley
- Private Grad mailing lists
- Access to 7500+ mentors
- $2M+ in partner discounts
- Invites to FI sessions & network events (FounderX)
- Economic upside in Liquidity Pool
- Dedicated fundraising coach in Silicon Valley
- Access to shared database of investors & advisors
- Pitch deck editing/ feedback
- Virtual training sessions
- Assistance on building investor pipeline & term sheet negotiation
- Deal syndication across Founder Angels lists
- Facilitated introductions to investors & advisors
- Virtual Demo Days
- Office Hours with FI team
- Elite partner deals
- Business development & PR assistance
Our goal is to make sure that once someone Graduates from the Founder Institute, they get lasting assistance that extends far beyond our intensive 3.5 month program.
Every Founder Institute Graduate gets access to a number of resources to push them to the next level, such as:
- Economic Upside in the Shared Liquidity Pool: When any founder in a cohort has a liqudity event, every Graduate in that cohort receives a financial return. Learn more about the Shared Liquidity Pool at FI.co/liquidity.
- A dedicated support contact in Silicon Valley, to answer emails about company strategy, growth tactics, and more. We often host Private Conference Calls and Virtual "Master Sessions" on advanced topics as well.
- Access to a Global #FIworldwide Network: Each Graduate immediately joins an elite global network of 4,000+ startups and 14,000+ CEO Mentors from 185+ cities. Graduates can email any mentor and use our private tools to make connections and get feedback, advice, best practices, and support. In addition, we facilitate communication through a mailing list, Facebook Groups, and online discussion tools. See the most recent network activity at FI.co/global.
- Invitations to Exclusive Events in Silicon Valley and Beyond: The Founder Institute hosts a bi-annual, invite-only event to gather the global network called FounderX, where startup founders and leaders meet for a series of networking events, workshops with top speakers, formal dinners, and fun! Speakers at past global FI events include Elon Musk (SpaceX, Tesla), David Sacks (PayPal, Yammer), Aaron Levie (Box.com), Scott Painter (TrueCar), Scott Heiferman (Meetup.com), and countless others. Learn more about the FounderX event at FounderX.com.
- Access to Advanced Post-Program Resources: Graduates gain access to an assortment of advanced, step-by-step guides on things like generating traction, negotiating a term sheet, hacking growth, getting media, and more. In addition, we leverage our global scale to crowdsource useful resources like a shared media list of 15,000+ journalists for Graduates.
- Access to Founder Institute training sessions in any chapter worldwide.
- Ability to distribute news and content through the FI Network, which reaches over 1M impressions per month across a variety of global and local platforms.
- Investment Support: Not all Graduates seek external funding. But for those that do, we often have local relationships to fast-track investment, refer Graduates to various seed-accelerators around the world, and run regular conference calls to provide fundraising advice and feedback. Countless FI Graduates have gone on to seed-accelerators like Techstars, Y Combinator, 500 Startups, Seedcamp, and more.
When an FI Graduate wants to raise an angel or seed round, they can get invited to the Founder Institute's Founder Lab.
The Founder Lab is a virtual advisory program where Graduates work closely with our Silicon Valley HQ team to improve their pitch materials, build an investor pipeline, pitch to angels, negotiate terms, generate strong investor interest, and close a lead investor within 6 months. This program is truly global, as it is solely conducted via email, phone, and online tools, and is only available to Graduates of the Founder Institute program.
The Founder Lab program includes:
- A dedicated Fundraising Coach in our Silicon Valley Headquarters.
- One-on-one advisory time with Adeo Ressi (CEO of Founder Institute).
- Access to a shared investor database, with proven email outreach templates.
- Facilitated connections to advisors, experts, and investors through the FI network
- Professional pitch deck editing and feedback (we will actually edit your deck for you!)
- Help on your term sheet, cap table, equity allocation, managing investor meetings, negotiations, and general fundraising strategy.
- Access to advanced virtual training sessions, on tactical fundraising topics like Prospecting Investors and Due Diligence Best Practices.
- Complimentary tickets to all FounderX Conferences.
- Eligibility to pitch on our Virtual Demo Day events, which are broadcast globally, attended by hundreds of people, and reach over 100,000 people in re-broadbasts.
Founder Lab does not require additional equity, but it is only available to FI Graduates that have a functioning product (“Beta” version, at a minimum), are showing demonstrable customer demand or traction, and are willing to spend at least 20 hours per week for the next 3 months to raise seed funding (HINT: This is minimum requirement, whether with our help or not!).
Learn more about Founder Lab at Founderlab.com.
The top 2% of Founder Institute Graduates in the seed or post-seed stage can then be invited to be part of our Select Portfolio.
The Select Portfolio represents the Elite FI Graduates that have demonstrated strong early traction, and they are hand-selected by the Founder Institute as companies with the potential to quickly scale and grow into an enduring, global business.
In order to faciliate this growth, these Graduates receive special assistance and increased support from experts at the Founder Institute's Silicon Valley HQ, including fundraising assistance, strategic advisory help, office hours, access to special events and partnerships, and more.
Full benefits of being in the Select Portfolio include:
- Deal syndication across the Founder Institute’s Founder Angels consortium of angel investors across six continents.
- Facilitated introductions to potential investors, mentors, and partners from the FI Global Network.
- Access to all future Founder Lab programs and FounderX Conferences.
- Increased support from Founder Institute HQ and Adeo Ressi.
- Access to Elite Partnership Benefits that our top tier service providers only offer to our best Graduates.
- Assistance on PR strategy and access to global media lists.