FG Cohort 11

Raising Money to Scale Your Startup

October 21, 2019 - December 6, 2019

The FG Cohort is a 6-week virtual program designed for underrepresented founders who want to raise money to scale their startup. The entire cohort experience is 100% virtual, so founders can participate from anywhere in the world. Cohort Trainers are announced as they are confirmed. FG Cohort 11 operates from October 21 – December 6, 2019, and the application deadline is October 8, 2019.

Live Training Schedule

October 21 - December 6, 2019
Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays
5:00-7:00pm PST

Week 1: Mindset Matters

The Gym is officially open, and it’s time to get to know your Gymmates from around the world! The FG Team and select FG Alumni will help you get a clear understanding of the mindset you are going to need, in order to succeed in the cohort and in the real world.

Week 2: Startup Formula

Tech startups are unlike any other type of business out there. They are designed to grow as big as fast as possible and require specific ingredients in order to succeed. Before you raise capital, it is crucial that you know what the startup formula for success is.

Week 3: Funding Options

There are many people you can raise startup capital from, including friends, family, angel investors, accelerators, pitch competitions, venture capitalists, crowdfunding campaigns, and more. Knowing your options is key to establishing the best fundraising strategy.

Week 4: Securing Investors

What makes people invest in some startups and not others? Is it the product, the traction, the market, the team, the story, or something else entirely? Uncover what metrics really matter, so you can focus your energy, and stop wasting time on metrics that don’t really matter.

Week 5: Pitch Practice

You only get one chance to make a great first impression and you don’t want to blow it. What you say and how you say it are incredibly important when it comes to fundraising. Whether it is online or in-person, it is essential to learn the communication etiquette that investors prefer.

Week 6: Graduation

You have learned A LOT in a short amount of time. Now, it is time to “walk the talk” and show everyone what you are made of. For graduation, you will present your 2-minute pitch in front of your Gymmates and get a chance to be voted “Best in Cohort.” It’s time to show up and show out!

Live Expert Trainings

For six consecutive weeks, you will receive live training from Founder Gym’s CEO, Mandela SH Dixon, and invited expert trainers. All live trainings will be facilitated by Paige Hendrix Buckner, the FG Program Director. Paige has supported over 250 founders in their completion of Founder Gym’s rigorous training program and is on hand to ensure all founders are set up to both graduate from the FG Cohort and succeed beyond its completion.

Training Sessions Facilitated By


Paige Hendrix Buckner

Program Director at Founder Gym


Mandela SH Dixon

Founder of Founder Gym

Mandela SH Dixon has trained hundreds of founders around the world on how to raise startup capital and build successful businesses. She was the founding Portfolio Services Director at venture firm Kapor Capital, the Global Director of Startup Weekend Education, and a tech startup founder backed by Kapor Capital, 500 Startups, and Imagine K12 (acquired by Y Combinator). Mandela is an inaugural member of First Round Capital's prestigious Angel Track program. She is a sought-after speaker and has shared her frameworks for success on over 90 stages, as well as in over 100 article publications. Mandela has received various recognitions, including being named to the Forbes 30 Under 30 List, as well as LinkedIn's Top 10 Voices in Venture Capital and Startups. You can follow Mandela on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Medium.

Delane ParnellFounder of PlayVS

Delane Parnell

Founder of PlayVS

Delane Parnell is currently the Founder and CEO of PlayVS, the venture-backed startup building the infrastructure for high school esports. Prior to starting PlayVS, Delane worked at IncWell Venture Capital where he became the youngest black venture capitalist in The United States. Delane was then part of the early team at Rocket Fiber that raised $31M and focused on retail strategy directly with the CEO. While at Rocket Fiber, Delane founded Rush Esports, an esports team that was acquired by Team Solomid. In 2017, Delane was introduced to Peter Pham and Mike Jones of Science where Delane founded PlayVS. In April 2018, PlayVS announced their exclusive partnership with the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) to collaborate on the national rollout of esports in high schools. In June of 2018, the company announced a $15M Series A led by NEA, the largest ever for a black founder in the consumer internet industry. In September 2019, they announced a $50 million Series C, bringing their total funding to $96 million. PlayVS’ inaugural esports season will commence in October 2018. You can follow Delane on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.

Amy NelsonFounder of The Riveter

Amy Nelson

Founder of The Riveter

In 2017, Amy launched The Riveter, a modern union for working women, while pregnant with her third daughter in three years. The next year, Amy graduated from Founder Gym’s inaugural FG Cohort and has since raised over $20 million in venture capital. Amy welcomed daughter number four in June 2019. Amy is a contributor for Inc., has written for Forbes, and has been published broadly, including on The TODAY Show, Refinery29, Buzzfeed, The Washington Post, and The Seattle Times. Amy has spoken across the world on many stages, including Forbes Under 30, United State of Women, Cannes Lions, and SXSW. A graduate of Emory University and the NYU School of Law, Amy practiced corporate litigation, worked with President Carter's The Carter Center, and served on President Obama's National Finance Committee. You can follow Amy on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.

Mercedes BentPartner at Lightspeed

Mercedes Bent

Partner at Lightspeed

Mercedes Bent is a Partner at Lightspeed Capital. Over the past two decades, Lightspeed has backed hundreds of entrepreneurs and helped build more than 300 companies globally, including Calm, Snap, Stitch Fix, The Honest Company, Task Rabbit, Nest, Nutanix, AppDynamics, MuleSoft, Zola and GrubHub. The firm currently manages over $4 billion of committed capital and invests in the U.S. and internationally, with investment professionals and advisors in Silicon Valley, Israel, India and China. Previously, Mercedes served as an executive at a VR startup and a General Manager at General Assembly where she oversaw multi-million dollar business lines during periods of explosive growth. She has an MBA and a Masters in Education from Stanford University and an AB from Harvard University. She serves as a board member for the non-profit Birthright AFRICA and wrote a piece for the NY Times on this topic. She is an African-American of Bermudian, Grenadian, Colombian, and African heritage and was named a 40 under 40 for Tech Diversity. You can follow Mercedes on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Exclusive Video Library

Over 65 accelerator directors, angel investors, venture capitalists, startup lawyers, and funded-founders in Silicon Valley and beyond have joined Founder Gym to train the next generation of successful tech startup founders. Founders selected for the FG Cohort will receive exclusive access to Founder Gym’s extensive video library that features world-class trainings from select FG Trainers, including:

Cat LeePartner at Maveron Ventures

Cat Lee

Partner at Maveron Ventures

Topic: Funding Sources

Phin BarnesPartner at First Round Capital

Phin Barnes

Partner at First Round Capital

Topic: Inside the Mind of a VC

Michael SeibelCEO & Partner at Y Combinator

Micheal Seibel

CEO & Partner at Y Combinator

Topic: The Metrics That Matter

Arlan HamiltonPartner at Backstage Capital

Arlan Hamilton

Founding Partner at Backstage Capital

Topic: Communication Counts

Kathryn MinshewCo-Founder & CEO of The Muse

Kathryn Minshew

Founder & CEO of The Muse

Topic: Founder-to-Founder Advice

Charles HudsonPartner at Precursor Ventures

Charles Hudson

Founding Partner of Precursor Ventures

Topic: Sealing the Deal

Tanya SomanVenture Parter at 500 Startups

Tanya Soman

Venture Parter at 500 Startups

Topic: Fundraising for Founders Based Outside the United States

Justin HoveyPartner at Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman

Justin Hovey

Partner at Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman

Topic: Legal Matters

Megan MaloneyAssociate at General Catalyst

Megan Maloney

Associate at General Catalyst

Topic: The Math of Fundraising

Structure to Succeed

If you already had everything you needed to succeed, you would not be here. The truth is, everyone needs help to get where they want to go, and Founder Gym is here to provide you with the an inclusive community, rigorous accountability, and a clear roadmap that will get you the results you have been searching for. Founder Gym has custom-designed a virtual experience unlike anything out there, and our model continues to prove effective in accelerating founder success.





Global Community of Founders

Being a founder is definitely hard. Being a founder can also be extremely lonely. The Founder Gym community consists of more than 350 founders living in 18 countries that span 6 continents! Once you join our ranks, you will never again have to navigate the entrepreneurial journey alone. Seeking feedback on a go-to-market strategy? Someone in our community can give you advice. Preparing for an upcoming investor meeting? Founders in our community love to help each other practice. Looking for great talent to join your team? Our graduates have amazing networks you can leverage. Our motto at Founder Gym is “We All Go Up Together,” because we know it’s going to take all of us working together in order to succeed.

During the FG Cohort, every founder must complete their fundraising toolkit in order to graduate. The toolkit includes the most essential materials needed to successfully raise startup capital. Once a founder becomes a FG Graduate, their fundraising toolkit is shared with Founder Gym’s exclusive network of accelerator directors, angel investors, venture capitalists, startup lawyers, funded-founders, and ecosystem partners in Silicon Valley and beyond.

Below is a list of the investor groups in the Founder Gym community:

  • 500 Startups
  • Afore Capital
  • AngelList
  • Backstage Capital
  • Base 10
  • Base Ventures
  • Catalyst Fund
  • Collaborative Fund
  • Cross Culture Ventures
  • Defy VC
  • Emerson Collective
  • First Round Capital
  • General Catalyst
  • Kapor Capital
  • Learn Capital
  • Maveron Ventures
  • New Enterprise Associates (NEA)
  • NFX
  • Overkill Ventures
  • Owl Ventures
  • Precursor Ventures
  • Reach Capital
  • Sterling Road
  • Storm Ventures
  • Y Combinator
  • 500 Startups
  • Afore Capital
  • AngelList
  • Backstage Capital
  • Base 10
  • Base Ventures
  • Catalyst Fund
  • Collaborative Fund
  • Cross Culture Ventures
  • Defy VC
  • Emerson Collective
  • First Round Capital
  • General Catalyst
  • Kapor Capital
  • Learn Capital
  • Maveron Ventures
  • New Enterprise Associates (NEA)
  • NFX
  • Overkill Ventures
  • Owl Ventures
  • Precursor Ventures
  • Reach Capital
  • Sterling Road
  • Storm Ventures
  • Y Combinator

What People Are Saying

Meet a FG Graduate: Heli PrillimanLacquerbar (Cohort 3)

Meet a FG Graduate: Derrick JohnsonEncounter AI (Cohort 4)

The Founder Gym Impact

Cohort Tuition

Founder Gym does not take equity in startups; we are an application and fee-based training program. Just like college, you must apply to be admitted, and if accepted, a tuition fee is required. The FG Cohort is a professional development opportunity for tech startup founders who are ready to make an investment in their growth.

Pay In Full

Pay in full and receive a BONUS training from Founder Gym's CEO, Mandela SH Dixon
$ 2,000 one-time
Save 20%

Payment Plan

Divide your tuition into 5 bi-weekly payments
$ 500

Compare: 2-Day Conference vs 6-Week Cohort

Up to this point, most founders have been limited to in-person conferences as their only option to participate in live learning experiences. Founder Gym is changing that. Our new model provides greater benefits than most conferences and is offered at a lower daily cost. Review the comparison charts below to learn more.

Designed Just for You

The FG Cohort was specifically designed for founders who meet these qualifications:

Underrepresented Founder 

Tech Company 

Billion Dollar Market 

Scales Fast 

Application Process and Important Deadlines

Attend a FREE MasterclassSeptember 19 & September 26, 2019

On September 19th and September 26th, the FG Team will be hosting a FREE Masterclass for founders who are interested in experiencing the power of the FG Cohort before submitting their official cohort application. Masterclass attendees will receive exclusive bonuses, not offered anywhere else, so be sure to register here.

Apply to the FG CohortSeptember 10 - October 8, 2019

Set aside 30 minutes to complete the FG Cohort application. Applications will be reviewed as they are submitted. The sooner you apply, the sooner you will be notified and be able to secure one of the limited spots in the cohort. Once the cohort reaches capacity, it will be closed, so take action quickly. The last day to apply is October 8th. Late applications will not be accepted.

Get Notified of Your StatusSeptember 10 - October 16, 2019

The earlier you submit your application, the earlier you will be notified of your admittance status. By October 16th, all applicants will receive an email notifying them if they have been admitted into the cohort or not.

Confirm Your MembershipWithin 72 Hours

Once you receive the email notification that you are admitted into the FG Cohort, you will have 72 hours (or 3 days) to accept the invitation and submit the $500 down payment for your tuition.

Begin the FG CohortOctober 21, 2019

On October 21, you will be on-boarded into the cohort. The following day, on October 22, you will attend your first live training session: The FG Cohort Orientation. There, you will meet your Gymmates, receive a detailed overview of the 6-week programming, and hear from invited FG Alumni who will share their best advice for what it takes to succeed in the FG Cohort.

Graduate from the FG CohortDecember 6, 2019

You did it! You completed one of the most intense founder training programs. Now it’s time to use your new knowledge, network, and know-how to take your startup to the next level.

Ready to go to the next level?

The deadline to apply is October 8, 2019.
Read this article for tips on how to submit a great application.


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