The Founder Institute, which according to its website is the “world’s largest entrepreneur training and startup launch program,” is starting an Atlanta chapter and the application deadline for the Atlanta Winter Semester is December 6, 2013.
Since 2009, the institute has helped launch more than 1,017 companies across 55 cities and six continents. It’s mission: build sustainable startup ecosystems that will create in excess of 20,000 new jobs annually by 2020.
Unlike other accelerator programs, participants in this four-month course are not expected to quit their full-time jobs. Nor do they need to have a co-founder to apply. In fact applicants don’t even need to have an idea for their startup. Instead, the highly structured curriculum is designed for anyone with aspirations to entrepreneurship.
Prem Bhatia, Founder Institute Atlanta co-director
“From the global network of graduates of 1,000 companies, 43 percent have raised funding,” says Prem Bhatia, co-director of the Atlanta chapter and CEO of Cooleaf. “But funding is not the focus,” he added. In fact, he characterizes the program curriculum as “mining for diamonds versus making jewelry” and that the program serves as a feeder for other accelerator programs.
Classes are to be held each Tuesday evening beginning December 10, 2013 and confirmed venues include Atlanta Tech Village, ATDC and Hypepotamus. Applications from the region will be given equal consideration but participants will be required to attend weekly classes in person.
The Atlanta chapter is led by Prem Bhatia, CEO of Cooleaf and Praveen Ghanta, co-founder of HiddenLevers.
Jonathan Greechan, partner at Founder Institute
In explaining the chapter leadership selection process, Founder Institute partner Jonathan Greechan says, “When evaluating new local leaders, first and foremost we look for experienced tech founders who can help new founders be successful. Then, we look for people who are passionate about building their local startup ecosystem.”
As a testament to the strength of the Founder Institute brand, both Bhatia and Ghanta volunteering their time. The former spearheads sponsorship enrollment while the latter is responsible for mentor recruitment. While the list of sponsors wasn’t available when this post went live, the duo has quite the list of mentors signed up including Ashish Mistry of BLH Venture Partners, Brooks Robinson of Springbot and Jeff Hilimire of Dragon Army.
According to Bhatia, Atlanta had been on the institute’s expansion list. But momentum in the startup scene here of late coupled with what the institute saw as a gap, pushed the city up on the priority list.
“As the Atlanta startup ecosystem has matured, we see a large unmet need in the early stages of company formation…we don’t see a program that helps people with an idea get off the ground, or that helps empower talented people to quit their jobs and pursue a startup full-time,” explains Greechan.
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