I have been running experiments related to Startups and investing in startups in Iceland for the past 6 years. I write this blog and I also host the Startup Iceland Conference. I was the first outside investor in CLARA which was acquired by Jive Software (NASDAQ: JIVE) and I also invested in a company called Buuteeq which was acquired by Priceline.com (NASDAQ: PCLN). I have been CEO of a startup called GreenQloud which is no longer a startup and has become an established company. I have invested in over 30 startups (I am still investing my own money and my partners, watch out for news on my new fund). I have been working with Founders and startups in Iceland as a Mentor in Startup Reykjavik and Startup Energy Reykjavik, Mentor Camp and working with a network of startups all around the globe from Silicon Valley to Ljubljana to Chennai, India. One common theme that I have realized in all the craziness of building companies, is the Founder.

Founders make things happen. Great Founders make great things including world class companies. I wanted to go to the root and understand the X factor of why some startups succeed and some startup fail. The X factor is the Founder. The path to building companies is riddled with a lot of challenges and those founders who have “the magic” touch are able to ride through all the challenges and build great products, teams and companies. This led me to look for programs that we could employ in Iceland and I bumped into the Founder Institute. This is what their “About” page stated:

The Founder Institute is the world’s largest entrepreneur training and startup launch program, helping aspiring founders across the globe build enduring technology companies.

In the Founder Institute’s four-month, part-time program, promising startup entrepreneurs “learn by doing” and launch a company through structured training courses, practical business-building assignments, and expert feedback. Plus, aspiring founders are not required to quit their day job to participate, so they can test their business ideas and start building a company without putting their livelihood at risk.

Based in Silicon Valley and with chapters across 92 cities and 50 countries, the Founder Institute has helped launch over 1,563 companies, which have created over 15,000+ new jobs. The company’s mission is to “Globalize Silicon Valley” and build sustainable startup ecosystems that will create one million new jobs worldwide.

The Founder Institute was founded in 2009 by serial entrepreneur Adeo Ressi. It is operated out of a small office in Palo Alto, California.

I thought that was interesting, what was even more interesting for me was the statistics about Founder Institute:

Founder Institute Statistics*

*These statistics are updated frequently, but not in real-time.

  • Operations in 92 cities, 50 countries, and 6 continents
  • 1,563 Graduate Companies
  • An estimated portfolio value in excess of $12 billion
  • Eight exits or liquidity events (public exits include Shopalize and Gridblaze)
  • Over 15,000+ estimated new jobs created
  • 87.5% Graduate companies still operating (versus 115 companies dissolved)
  • 73.5% Graduate companies operating at or ahead of schedule (versus 146 companies with Founders still employed or companies struggling)
  • 4,112+ Mentors worldwide
    • > 90% are CEOs or founders

I applied to lead a chapter in Iceland. The Founder of Founder Institute Adeo Ressi, reached out to me and said that I had to take their Entrepreneur’s DNA Test. I was curious so I took the test. It was an hour long psychology test, I was happy to get through it.  I believe the best way to build a startup is to build great founders.

Founder Institute Iceland is in the exploratory stage what this means is that we need to have many people applying for the program (You can apply here http://fi.co/join). We had an information session hosted in the new co-working space in Hlemmur.

The Founder Institute Iceland is led by myself (Bala Kamallakharan), the co-directors to the program are Gisli Rafn Olafsson and Ævar Rafn Björnsson. We are partnering with Nýsköpunarmiðstöð Íslands.

The Founder Institute is currently testing the demand for opening a new program in Reykjavik. To move forward, a sufficient number of interested applicants need to apply using the interest form below.

What is the Founder Institute?

The Founder Institute is an early-stage startup accelerator and global launch network that helps entrepreneurs create meaningful and enduring technology companies. Through a part-time four month program, existing and prospective founders can launch their dream company with expert training, feedback, and support from experienced startup CEOs – while not being required to quit their day job. Our unique Graduate Liquidity Pool also enables graduates and mentors to share in the equity upside of each class, creating local, teamwork-based ecosystems where great new businesses can flourish.

In just 5 years of operation, the Founder Institute has helped launch over 1,563 companies across 92 cities and six continents – making us the world’s largest startup accelerator.

Who Should Apply?

Anybody who is passionate about building a technology company is welcome to apply: idea or no idea, full-time job or unemployed, young or old, male or female, experienced in business or straight out of school. We also support a wide range of technology industries: including digital media, software, biotech, cleantech, ecommerce, advertising, consumer electronics, and more.

What to Expect?

Completing the Interest Form below does not guarantee a semester in your locale, nor your acceptance to it. Should we generate a sufficient number of interested applicants and move forward with a local program, you will be notified via email and invited to take our Predictive Admissions Test for free to complete your application. There is no obligation.