I recently finished the four-month-long startup accelerator Founder Institute. I am the CEO of My Cookshelf, which will be a recipe-sharing website.
Founder Institute is an international early-stage startup accelerator program started by Adeo Alessi. It is aimed at nurturing would-be startup founders in launching their dream company. Jeanine Jacobson ran the Los Angeles chapter of Founder Institute, where I graduated from. She was our main point person for the program and was very helpful.
Founder Institute schedules weekly meetings with various mentors who give you their own version of “startup rules of the road”… things to watch out for, practical advice, etc. Each week Founders are required to be prepared to pitch their business idea to the mentors and be graded in the pitch “hot seat.” In return, Founders rate the mentors so there is an incentive for each side to do their best.
The program is extremely rigorous and demanding, but it was just what I needed to move my “great idea” into the next level. Founder Institute is part-time (meaning, expect to spend 15-20 hours a week on assignments), but that allows people who, like myself, have jobs, kids, responsibilities to work on their companies around their regular schedules. But if you can’t keep up with the workload, you will be asked to leave the program. The goal is to replicate the demands of starting your own business. I guess you could say that it is designed to make you fail, but so is the real world. Can you cut it?
Just stay on top of the workload. Take the assignments seriously, and you’ll be fine.
And you are guided along the way. It’s not just sink or swim. I learned to develop my pitch, create a solid pitch deck, write an executive summary, do market research, find revenue models among other things. Practical steps you need to build a business, gain traction and attract investors.
I have now incorporated my business, My Cookshelf, Inc. and am in the process of looking for seed funding to launch my site.
Wish me luck!