We are proud to announce this week, that the world’s largest pre-seed accelerator platform, Founder Institute, has eight new graduates from its first Frankfurt cohort. The founders who joined, worked since October 2019 to develop their idea, together with the support of the directors and a pool of experienced founders and mentors.
With an initial group of almost thirty people, the founders went through a four month well-structured program, laid out to help early stage founders get from the idea stage to traction and growth stage. The program included weekly pitching in front of mentors, company-building assignments and tasks and finally the requirement of legal incorporation.
Fernada Alvarez, one of the local directors explains: “It’s a tough program, the primary reasons for not finishing are that some projects need more development time and some people don’t keep up with the assignments due to other personal priorities. We expect several first cohort participants will come back with projects ready to move forward.”
The graduating companies are very diverse and the Frankfurt Founder Institute portfolio includes now:
- Guided Doing – Providing an application to help every person, businesses and consumer-product-companies to explain everything they need or want to explain in a totally easy way;
- Mary and Jarvis UG – offering the visit of personal home assistant into their client’s home;
- Numinous Blue – a mobile and web based platform, to help independent Millenial and Generation Z travelers;
- āmasian Event & Business UG – the European branch of Shu & Shan Elite Matchmaking International, an upscale and offline matchmaking service for selective marriage-minded singles;
- Supplino – providing end-to-end product supply services to entrepreneurs and small businesses;
- TribeLync – a Social Connection Platform (SCP) to help people find other people with shared interests and manage their relationships/connections focused on shared mutual benefits;
- LeadZen – the first vendor independent referral marketing platform;
- Manycent – a Fintech saving app to create savings from every cashless purchase.
“The honesty of this program is great”
Karsten Helbig, one of the founders that joined the program and is about to launch Guided Doing says: “Those 4 months were so well invested – and I really enjoyed the ride. The honesty of this program is great. I felt from the beginning, that there is NOT the wish to make money out of me, or steal my idea. The opposite: everybody involved is interested in helping me and other founders. And I really mean help! I found FI, and with it not only powerful knowledge and information to start and grow a digital business – but friends, mentoring, insights, help and massive support.”
Benjamin Scherer, Founder of LeadZen, says: “What FI really did was give me a 360 degree view on how I want to build my business. It‘s more than just building a product and hunting customers. Really understanding your purpose, your value system, envisioning the type of company you want to create and what kind of impact you want to have on yourself, your employees and your customers. That‘s where FI helped push far beyond my initial understanding. Beyond that FI helped really cross off the minimum viable boxes on branding, business model, getting out the door for feedback. In the end, it‘s us and our grit that makes our companies succeed. But the people, our peer, the mentors, the directors, really helped shape everything. And the intensity of the program gave a first glance on the workload ahead. My key takeaway for everyone who wants to join? Find a co-founder that you want to burn some midnight oil with early. And get to work!”
Michelle Peters, founder of Supplino, seems to share the idea and she adds: “When I started the FI program I was totally immersed in my solution – how I could craft it, what features it would have, etc. FI pulled me back and forced me to consider bigger questions like, how will this be a scalable business, not just a product? Do customers really want this, and will they actually pay for it? Between the Mentors, Directors and fellow Founders, they were not shy pushing me and asking tough questions. To have all of this now answered after just 14 weeks is amazing : I have gone from a rough idea to a viable business, incorporated and launched. Thanks FI!”
Philipp Weber, corporate & venture capital partner at FPS Partnerschaft von Rechtsanwälten mbB and mentor at the Founder Institute, says, “it has been a great pleasure to provide the entrepreneurs with legal mentoring in all fields of the law and it was very interesting for us to discuss the legal aspects of innovative business models and technologies with the founders. We were impressed by the ambition and passion of the founders to develop their ideas and to turn them into reality.”.
What’s next for the founders?
As Pedro Ferreira, local director, says: “The marathon is just starting. Some companies still need to finish their MVP, some already have it but need to gain traction and scale. The job of FI is not finished and and we will all do our best to support their success, through national and international synergies on our network, as well as, special post-programmes to increase their chances to get funding when needed.”
What’s next for the Founder Institute in Frankfurt?
The team will be setting up the next cohort, eventually starting during Q3 of 2020.
Meanwhile, there will be active and continuous engagement in the regional ecosystem to keep supporting the Founders of the first Cohort, but as well to recruit the new batch of Founders.
Carolina Yeo and Britta Mues-Walter, local directors, highlight: “Making the Founder Institute semester successful has been primarily the work of the Founders themselves, but it could not have been done without the extensive ecosystem support of incredible Mentors and our Partners like FPS Partnerschaft von Rechtsanwälten mbB and WeWork Labs”.
And watch this space, as Eugenio Grapa, the fifth director points out, “the Frankfurt Founder Institute team is innovating, looking to extend the program and improve the local fit, possibly with a FinTech/PropTech or Blockchain vertical program. But shhhhh, it’s too early to discuss the details. If you want to get an update on the next program make sure to check out the FI site”
Author: Pedro Ferreira, Frankfurt FI director