The Founder Institute Bootcamp took place last night in Bern, at Swisscom Innovation offices.
Switzerland is on top for innovation and has a lot of support programs for wannabe entrepreneurs, but mainly for those who are university graduate or still students. But what’s about industrial professional desiring to start their business alongside their day-job?
No real program was available until now and these 2 guys thought that “The Founder Institute” was the perfect answer for those wannabe founders, struggling to put legs to their projects and getting necessary support.
The program is based on 15 sessions during 15 weeks, where you’ll get advices surrounding all topics you need to build up a company. The Founder Institute will take place in the most central location in Switzerland: Bern (reachable within more or less than one hour from almost everywhere in Switzerland!) and at 3 minutes walk from train station. Main purpose of FI is really to allow every wannabe founder to get into the program and doing it according to their day–job constraints.
FI Switzerland has recruited some famous serial entrepreneurs from Switzerland like
- Amir Suissa, who founded his first – web – company 16 years ago and last venture 2 years ago (DeinDeal.ch)
- Dorian Selz, cofounder of Local.ch and Memonic/Squirro
- Bernino Lind, founder of several startups and amazing coach
- Laurent Haug, founder of most famous tech conference in Switzerland (Lift Conference)
- Alexander Osterwalder, creator of the amazing and worldwide recognized Business Model Canvas
Half of the mentors will from tech hot spots like Silicon Valley, London, etc. FI gives 2 majors reasons for this purpose:
- helping FI graduates establishing a global network from day one
- Switzerland is not big enough!
Lot of people still looking for cofounders… Here’s a place to find one!
In addition to the cost of the program (CHF 1’100.-, to cover logistics cost), The Founder Institute developed a community-driven business model: the start-up give 3.5% of the share to FI, which will be, if the startup is successful, distributed to FI (40%), to the mentors (30%) and to you and your batch-founders (the whole class attending the program). Great model that encourages a strong incentive to collaborate among founders of the class: when one succeeds, everyone receives financial upside!
At least twice year, The Founder Institute organize a big event worldwide, where lots of VC’s, blogs editors like TechCrunch, etc. attend to discover FI startups… As a FI graduate, you’ll get automatically an invitation!
Registering process is dead easy:
- Apply for free
- Take the test (funny test to assess if you’re really an entrepreneur
- If you are selected you’ll have to pay the program cost of CHF 1’100.–
- Start on May 21st
I’m pretty convinced that The Founder Institute will solve a latent problem, as I’ve met a lot of wannabe founders outside of Universities complaining that you cannot be helped if you’re no more student or PhD candidate. Launch event of last night confirmed my thinking: most of attendees are not really present in the CTI process, and CTI’s CEO Walter Steinlin also confirmed that they’d like to support the initiative to fill out this real need.
Furthermore, The Founder Institute is also an interesting program to find your future cofounders (as Startup Weekend can also be), as most people just don’t know how or where to find them!
Amir Suissa also gave also take-away advices:
- Focus or fail: focus on the right thing and focus doing it right
- Execution is the key: make sure you know what’s going on in your company and focus on making things happen!
- Listen to your intuition and follow you instinct!
- listen to the skeptics!
- believe everything investors tell you!
- fall in love with your features… focus rather on customer development!
Amir also told to try, do things, iterate, figure out what works, what doesn’t work… Just don’t be afraid! And his final interesting quote: ”Just do things you have no idea how to do!”