↑ Return to G90 Founders

G91 Orientation (1)

George Morgan
My articles
Follow on:

Page no: G91


Meet the cohort & learn our methodology

Date: Apr 6, 2021
Starts at: 06:30 PM (Europe/Zurich)

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.


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.

Feedback Sessions


Min Director Welcome
30 Min Working Group Reports (Optional) Each Working Group President should stand up for a couple minutes and quickly outline the key positive highlights and the key negative setbacks that they face in their two Working Group meetings.
30 Min Hotseat Set 1 Between 5 and 10 Founders get up in front of the room and present their business to the Mentors. Mentors then rate the presentation from 1 to 5 (no threes allowed), holding up a rating card and inputting their specific score for tracking. Mentors collectively give up to 10 minutes of verbal feedback per pitch. Rating results are showed publicly at http://fi.co/leaderboard. Before the Mentor Idea Review, the Founder is given 1 minute to pitch on the Hotseat. After the Idea Review, the Founder has either 3 or 5 minutes, depending on the preference of the Director, and it is requested that the Founder use slides.
20 Min Mentor 1
20 Min Mentor 2
20 Min Mentor 3
15 Min BREAK
30 Min Mentor Q&A Three Mentors sit together in the front of the room and answer questions from the Founders.
30 Min Hotseat Set 2
Between 5 and 10 more Hotseats (see above).
Working Group Meeting
Any remaining time should be used for the Working Groups to meet, and Mentors should be encouraged to roam the room and get a quick update from each Working Group.
3.5 Hours (session) TOTAL
2+ Hours Post-Session Networking
Once the session has concluded, Founders are encouraged to join the Mentors at a nearby bar or restaurant for informal networking and socializing. In many cases, this is where the best networking and information exchange takes place.

Review Sessions

There are two critical “review sessions” in each semester:

  1. Mentor Idea Review: This session, which takes place at the 1/3 point of the program, is 100% devoted to pitching your idea to a panel of Mentors for feedback on the viability of your startup idea. This is the first major “checkpoint” for the progress of Founders in the program.
  2. Mentor Progress Review: This session is identical to the “Mentor Idea Review”, except that it takes place at the 2/3 point of the program, and focuses Mentor feedback on your program progress, financial model, product development, and scalability.

In these sessions, all Founders present to a panel of Mentors to receive a multivariate rating on their business, as well as detailed verbal feedback. 6, 9 or 12 participating Mentors are broken into groups of 3, and the Founders are divided equally by the number of Mentor groups. So, if there are 30 Founders and 6 Mentors, two Mentor groups will be formed with 15 Founders pitching. Co-founders pitch together once.

It is expected that as many as 50% of the semester will fail the Mentor Idea Review either by a poor score during the session or a weak Special Assignment. Founders that do not score above a 2 out of 5 average Mentor rating are dropped out, while Founders that score between a 2 and a 3 are given difficult “Special Assignments”. Founders that score above a 3 continue in the program without any special work. Once the poorest scoring businesses are eliminated, then Working Groups are switched, and eventually grouped by sector/ industry/ stage.

5 Min Director Welcome The Director explains that this is the critical juncture in the program where the strong Founders are invited to continue and the weak Founders are invited to re-enroll in a future semester.
10 Min Pitch Group Formation The Director breaks the Mentors into groups of 3 and the Founders into groups of 5 to 15 individuals.
20 Min Pitch Batch 1 The first set of companies present to the Mentors. For the Idea Review, each company is given 1 to 3 minutes, depending, and a pitch deck is optional. For the Progress Review, each company is given 3 to 6 minutes, depending, and a deck is mandatory. Mentors have up to 10 minutes of total feedback.
20 Min Break
20 Min Pitch Batch 2 The second set of companies present to the Mentors.
2+ Hours Post-Session Networking
Once the session has concluded, Founders are encouraged to join the Mentors at a nearby bar or restaurant for informal networking and socializing. In many cases, this is where the best networking and information exchange takes place.




Founders’ Guide
(Login required)

High-Level Advice

Via Medium

Experience at FI

  1. Check Mail
  2. Meet Deadlines,
  3. Results only, no matter who does it.
  4. Time: Use document saver, look at time assigned to task
    First focus on Epic Sprint
  5. For your own sake: don’t do a poor job
  6. Upload so that progress can be seen
  7. Additional assignments may happen just like in real startup life
  8. Be ready to accept very tough feedback, so that you avoid costly mistakes.
  9. Mentors/leaders may contradict each other.
    Convince them with facts: e.g. we have already 50 customers.
  10. Focus, don’t get distracted by dropouts.
  11. Be honest, not nice. The nicest thing may be to be honest and stop a business.
  12. Get feedback from mentors.
Weekly deliverables Ahead of time,
based on Silicon Valley Best Practices
Epic Sprint When a founder falls behind, special assignments
Working Group President Regular meetings, Absences, Notes into Group 
Working Group Meetings In-Person Progress Meeting: product or service development milestone accomplished
In-Person Assignment Meeting: Discussion on assignments for next week
Virtual Progress Meeting: brainstorm solutions to specific challenges with creating an offering
Virtual Assignment Meeting: positive and negative experiences
10 Min President Introduction
15 Min per founder,
30 Min discussion
Rating and Profile Rate the Mentors, peers: https://fi.co/ratings
Update Profile: with company name etc

Mentors contacts one sentence to introduce yourself, your vision, your need, your request
understand office hours
Reporting [email protected] with confidential as part subject
Pitching Company
Market Size
Unique as compared to competitors
Growth plans
Raise money
Avoid during Pitching Useless words,
Keep it short, brief
Ask for feedback
Be the expert in your industry
Incorporation use local legal partners (recommended)
GmbH, AG, like Delaway C or Subchapter S
Review existing employment contract
if required to quit job, either quit or drop out of FI
U.S. 1000$ founding costs
Joining Equity Collective (bonus pool) Pay 4% in form of warrants
1% to graduating founders
1% to Mentors
1% Local Operator
1% to FI Institute
  1. Attend all sessions
  2. All weekly assignments
  3. Scores from mentors
  4. Incorporate
  5. Issue warrant/option
Benefits of graduating Equity Collective
FI Worldwide Network
Founders Lab Advisory Program
Silicon Valley Events
Posts Program Resources
media outreach
Dropping out between 40% and 80% drop out.
warning when close to dropout


Orientation: Company Building Work 


Questions Answer

#1 (Founder Guide)

Read the Founder Guide at https://FI.co/guides/1. Write a couple of bullet points of things you learned in reading the Guide. (30 Minutes)

#2 (Curriculum)

Read the curriculum for the first 4 sessions. If you are still exploring multiple ideas and if you are not working on a final solution, contact your Local Leader about using the Launch Track curriculum. (30 Minutes)

#3 (Working Group)

Founder Institute makes an effort to put all Founders in groups with their peers for the first third of the program. Virtually meet your group members for a brief introduction to each other before the next session. For each of your group members write at least one bullet point listing an area of expertise they have that you can learn from. (30 Minutes)

#4 (Why)

Write a couple of sentences about how your life will be better in three to five years by being an entrepreneur and launching your company. In a second paragraph, write another couple of sentences about how your life would be worse in three to five years if you stop pursuing entrepreneurship. (30 Minutes)

#5 (What)

Write a detailed list of monthly objectives you want to achieve with your business as a result of participating in the Founder Institute. Write one paragraph on specific support you feel that the Founder Institute, the Local Leaders and the Mentors could give you to succeed above and beyond the curriculum itself, and one paragraph on steps that you will take to help ensure you get this support. Go to https://FI.co/ohours to arrange Office Hours with your local Local Leader to discuss in more detail. Please ensure that your timezone is set correctly at the top of the page. (30 Minutes)

#6 (How)

Name any specific metrics or key performance indicators (KPIs) that you use to track your business progress, and write a few sentences on why you chose these ones, your structure to hold yourself accountable, and your plan to share your progress on a weekly basis with your local Local Leaders during the program. (30 Minutes)

#7 (Time)

Write how many hours per week that you can commit to developing your business, and write “Full Time” if you are only working on the business and nothing else. If you have a day job or are working on other projects, write a few sentences on how you will allocate the time to develop your business idea, which we refer to as a Customer Problem, throughout the program. (30 Minutes)

#8 (Progress)

Describe your progress to date. Write one paragraph that describes the progress that you have made to date on your Customer Problem that (1) describes the business using the Madlibs format (https://FI.co/madlibs), (2) describes if you have incorporated the business, (3) identifies the team or freelancers that you currently have working on the Customer Problem, including their status, (4) describes the state of the product and (5) outlines any traction to date. If you have not made significant progress on an Customer Problem, contact your Local Leaders about being moved to the Launch Track curriculum. (1 Hour)

#9 (Life Story)

Write your Life Story in five short paragraphs with one paragraph dedicated to each of the following topics: (1) early childhood, (2) schooling, (3) professional career, (4) entrepreneurship and (5) the future. For entrepreneurship, explain why you are starting a company and how entrepreneurship fits into your life story. For the future, explain how your experiences and strongest skills will help you succeed on your entrepreneurial journey. (1 Hour)


#10 is empty for the growth track.
But still I added a little hotseat video.


(Optional – Co-Founders)

If you are looking for a co-Founder and are interested in potentially recruiting someone from the program, click ‘Account,’ and write a phrase on what you are looking for under ‘Public Contact Settings.’ Check the ‘Founders’ link in the navigation to read what other people are looking for. Continue to check this page over the next few days to see what things that other people are looking for.

Director Feedback

George, thank you for the insights, interesting feedback. No doubt, you know what is awaiting you, you ticket all the boxes and I am sure you have the resilience and stamina to push through. My concern is: do you know WHY and WHAT keeps you awake by night? What are the problems and issues that engage you so much that you want to deal with them and find solutions? Question 4….in a couple of years you feel better because…?? You did not clarify it. You should feel better, because you started to work on solving a specific problem. What is this problem? And why this problem? Did you have a personal experience why you want to deal with it? Make it more personal, show WHY you are sooo thrilled and excited about solving it…and why you will go that extra mile. You will get there within the next couple of weeks, don’t worry, but start thinking on it. Best, Daniel




  • The Founder GuideThis is a guide meant to be read before starting the program to help enrolled Founders navigate the four month curriculum.
  • The Hotseat GuideA list of tips to help you be successful during your Founder Hotseat sessions.
  • The Contacting Mentors GuideA guide on how to contact Founder Institute Mentors.



  • The Founder InstituteFor aspiring and idea-stage entrepreneurs up to the challenge, the Founder Institute provides a comprehensive step-by-step program to launch a startup, support from to startup mentors, and a global network of entrepreneurs to help you be successful.


A virtual office for remote teams More Details 



See more for GP9 Founders