As a part of our pivot to a desktop product we looked around at the options in Australia to grow our idea into a real business. After a month or two researching and asking the advice of a wide range of people, we settled on the Founder Institute (FI).
The Founder Institute is the world’s largest entrepreneur training and startup launch program, helping aspiring founders across the globe build enduring technology companies. At its heart is a four-month, part-time program, where you “learn by doing” and launch a company through structured training courses, practical business-building assignments, and expert feedback.
At the Sydney program there are over 40 mentors involved in the current program and the whole thing is being orchestrated by Benjamin Chong of both Right Click Capital and the Sydney Seed Fund. Lets just say that the man is a human dynamo and he brings an energy and intensity that is refreshing after the more staid world of corporate global media.
The simple reason we chose the FI were that they seem to offer a very practical approach to accelerating high tech start-ups. So we applied and were (thankfully) accepted after passing a set of tests.
Well it is now 6 weeks since we were accepted into the Sydney 2014 program. That's about the half-way mark and the pace has been hectic. But Six Degrees of Data is still in the program. Of the 28 founders who started, there are now only 11 left. The reasons for such a big withdrawal rate are:
- That's the way the program (and the real world) is structured. There are multiple hurdles that each founder has to overcome. All parts of the program must be completed on time and mentors must rate the work and idea as being good enough to continue.
- Some (many?) people are either not sufficiently prepared for the cut-throat environment at the FI. It's not at all unfriendly and I have seen an extraordinary amount of support offered by mentors and co-founders throughout the program. But it is emotionally 'intense' to say the least, and
- The program workload is a lot heavier than many expected. Perhaps heavier is not the right word. Personally challenging describes it better.
I'm pretty happy to still be around as the FI is proving true to its word and it is directly helping to build Six Degrees of Data. I can highly recommend the program to anyone who is serious about getting out and building their own dream high tech start-up.
It ain't peaceful, but boy it's fun!