Pre-Seed Cohorts

Pre-Seed Cohorts

April 22, 2019 - May 31, 2019

The FG Pre-Seed Cohort is a 6-week virtual program that trains founders on how to raise their very first startup capital. There are two FG Pre-Seed Cohorts operating from April 22, 2019 to May 31, 2019. Both FG Pre-Seed Cohorts operate simultaneously and offer the same exact training. The only difference is that the cohorts will have different trainers and different live training times. FG Cohorts are typically 25-50 founders per cohort. All FG programming is 100% virtual, so founders can participate from anywhere. Trainers for each cohort will be announced as they are confirmed.

Pre-Seed Cohort 1

Daytime Trainings
Monday-Friday
9am-5pm

Pre-Seed Cohort 2

Evening Trainings
Monday-Friday
5pm-8pm PST

Week 1: Orientation

The Gym is officially open, and it’s time to get to know your fellow Gymmates from around the world! FG staff and alumni will help you get a clear understanding of what you need to do, in order to succeed in the cohort, and you’ll feel empowered and inspired to hit the ground running.

Week 2: Legal Prep

Have you had the equity split conversation with your co-founder(s)? Is your company incorporated? Do you have a business bank account set up? Who’s your startup lawyer? It’s crucial that you have all your legal ducks in a row, before asking other people to invest money.

Week 3: Funding Sources

There are many people you can raise your first startup capital from, including friends, family, angel investors, accelerators, pitch competitions, pre-seed venture capital firms, crowdfunding campaigns, and more. Knowing your options is key to making the best use of your time.

Week 4: The Metrics That Matter

What makes VCs invest in some startups and not others? Is it the number of users, the amount of revenue, the size of the market, the founders on the team, the story behind the vision, or something else entirely? Uncover what metrics really matter, so you can stop wasting your time on the ones that don’t.

Week 5: Seal The Deal

What you say and how you say it are incredibly important when fundraising. At this early stage, you likely don’t have much to show in terms of traction, so it’s crucial that you understand what you do have to paint a powerful picture and convince investors to take an early bet on you.

Week 6: Graduation

You’ve learned A LOT in a short amount of time. Now, it’s time to “walk the talk” and show everyone what you’re made of. For graduation, you will present your 2-minute pitch in front of your FG Cohort and invited alumni, plus get a chance to be voted “Best in Cohort!” by your peers.

Expert Trainers

Each Founder Gym pre-seed cohort will have four expert trainers comprised of accelerator directors, angel investors, pre-seed venture capitalists, and funded-founders.

Training Sessions Facilitated By

Paige Hendrix Buckner

Cohort Leader

Program Director at Founder Gym

Trainers for Pre-Seed Cohort 1: Daytime Edition

Justin Hovey

Startup Lawyer

Partner at Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman
Justin Hovey has over 20 years of experience providing legal counsel to hundreds of tech startups at one of the industry’s leading law firms, Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP. His legal practices focus on startup formation, venture and seed financings, mergers and acquisitions, and corporate governance matters. One founder recently said of Justin: “Justin is one of the best in my book! He's there for you, keeps it real with you, and truly has a passion and heart for us little startups! His insights are deep and wise! I love me some Hovey Hov!!”

Tanya Soman

Startup Accelerator Leader

Venture Parter at 500 Startups
Tanya Soman is a Venture Partner at 500 Startups, one of the largest venture capital seed funds and global accelerator programs. With over $300MM in committed capital, 500 Startups has invested in 1,600 technology startups including Twilio, Credit Karma, Grab, and Udemy. Tanya focuses on seed stage investment opportunities in the consumer space, with an emphasis on beauty and fashion. When she’s not leading the beauty and fashion specialty track at 500 Startups’ Mountain View Accelerator, she spends her time scouting companies all over the world. Previously, Tanya worked in the AdTech industry in New York and graduated from Babson College.

Brian Rothenberg

Angel Investor

VP of Growth at Eventbrite
Brian Rothenberg has been a founder, operator, and executive through all stages of startup growth, from bootstrapping through IPO. Over the last 6 years, he has played a key role scaling Eventbrite’s core metrics more than 10x globally as VP of Growth and VP/GM of the company's largest segment of revenue. Brian is an industry-recognized startup growth and marketplaces expert, who both advises and invests in startups as a member of First Round Capital's Angel Track, Sequoia Capital’s Scout program, and Y Combinator’s Growth Advisory Council. Prior to angel investing, Brian co-founded two tech startups and understands what it takes to fundraise.

Charles Hudson

Pre-Seed Venture Capitalist

Managing Partner at Precursor Ventures
Charles Hudson began his investment career at SoftTech VC as one of the first African-American venture capitalists. Today he operates his own VC firm called Precursor Ventures, which is one of the only funds to focus on pre-seed investing. To-date, Charles has invested in over 300 companies and in March 2019 he announced Precursor’s second $31MM fund. Prior to investing, Charles worked at Serious Business (acquired by Zynga), Gaia Interactive, Google, and IronPort Systems (acquired by Cisco Systems). Charles was also the the Co-founder and CEO of Bionic Panda Games.

Mandela SH Dixon

Startup Coach

CEO of Founder Gym
Mandela SH Dixon has helped hundreds of founders raise startup capital and build successful businesses. She was the founding Portfolio Services Director at Kapor Capital, the Global Director of Startup Weekend Education, and a tech startup founder backed by Kapor Capital, 500 Startups, and Imagine K12 (acq. by Y Combinator). Mandela is a member of First Round Capital's prestigious Angel Track program. She is a sought-after speaker and has shared her frameworks on over 80 stages. Mandela has also received various recognitions, including being named to the Forbes 30 Under 30 List and LinkedIn's Top 10 Voices in Venture Capital and Startups.

Trainers for Pre-Seed Cohort 2: Evening Edition

Brian Patterson

Startup Lawyer

Partner at Gunderson Dettmer
Brian C. Patterson’s business law practice is focused on representing emerging growth companies (startups) throughout their lifecycles. He is also one of the few attorneys who represent venture capital and private equity investment funds. Brian is broadly experienced across many sectors and industries in business and corporate formation and governance, deal structuring, equity and debt financing, public offerings, a variety of M&A transactions, strategic, partnering and commercial transactions, and fundamental IP, employment, and stock and option matters.

Tim Brady

Accelerator Leader

Partner at Y Combinator
Tim Brady is a Partner at Y Combinator, a Silicon-Valley based accelerator that provides seed funding for startups. YC was founded in 2005 and has invested in over 1600 startups, including Airbnb, Dropbox, Stripe, and Instacart. Prior to joining YC, Tim was the Co-Founder of Imagine K12, an edtech accelerator that merged with YC in 2016. Tim was Yahoo's first employee in 1995 and wrote the business plan that attracted Yahoo's first venture capital. Tim spent eight years as Yahoo's Chief Product Officer. He holds a BS in electrical engineering from Stanford and and MBA from Harvard.

Cat Lee

Angel Investor & Venture Capitalist

Partner at Maveron Ventures
Cat Lee is the newest partner at Maveron Ventures, an early-stage consumer-tech venture firm. Founded in 1998, Maveron has invested in over 200 startups, including Ebay, Groupon, Pinkberry, Zulily, Shutterfly, All birds, and Zume Pizza. Prior to joining Maveron, Cat completed First Round Capital’s Angel Track program and was a Scout for Sequoia Capital. Before that, Cat spent six years at Pinterest as Head of Culture and Global Partner of Marketing and Growth. Cat also worked at Facebook across various roles on their developer platform team. She has an MBA from University of Michigan and a BS in Computer Science from Stanford.

Venky Karnam

Pre-Seed Venture Capitalist

Technology Partner at Afore Capital
Venky Karnam leads deal-flow at Afore Capital, leveraging a one-of-a-kind data science platform that is skilled at identifying interesting early stage companies. Afore is based in San Francisco and is one of the few pre-seed venture capital firms in existence. Prior to joining Afore, Venky was an angel investor, and previously worked at Google, AdMob, and Yahoo. Venky holds a BS in Electrical Engineering from Indian Institute of Technology and a MS in Computer Engineering from Northwestern University.

Mandela SH Dixon

Startup Coach

CEO of Founder Gym
Mandela SH Dixon has helped hundreds of founders raise startup capital and build successful businesses. She was the founding Portfolio Services Director at Kapor Capital, the Global Director of Startup Weekend Education, and a tech startup founder backed by Kapor Capital, 500 Startups, and Imagine K12 (acq. by Y Combinator). Mandela is a member of First Round Capital's prestigious Angel Track program. She is a sought-after speaker and has shared her frameworks on over 80 stages. Mandela has also received various recognitions, including being named to the Forbes 30 Under 30 List and LinkedIn's Top 10 Voices in Venture Capital and Startups.

What People Are Saying

Meet a Graduate: Heli PrillimanLacquerbar (Cohort 3)

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, you must be able to pay the program fee. The tuition for all FG Cohorts is the same.

A limited number of scholarships are also offered by our program partners. Within the FG Cohort application, you will find more information on how to qualify for these.

Pay In Full

Pay in full and receive an exclusive bonus training, led by a surprise FG Expert Trainer
$ 2000 one-time
  •  
Save 10%

Payment Plan

Divide your tuition amongst 4 payments
$ 550
/payment
  •  

Scholarships Provided In Partnership With

Choose the Right Cohort for You

The ideal Founder Gym applicant for both pre-seed and seed cohorts has these qualifications:

Tech Company 

Billion Dollar Market 

Scales Fast 

Use the chart below to help you decide which FG Cohort you should apply to:

Pre-Seed Cohort
Seed Cohort
Functional Product
Maybe
Yes
Users and/or Revenue
Maybe
Yes
Chief Technical Officer
Maybe
Yes
Raising Less Than $1MM
Yes
No
Raising More Than $1MM
No
Yes
Understands Pre-Seed Fundraising
No
Yes
Understands Seed Fundraising
No
No

Application Process

Application OpensFeb 12, 2019

Set aside 30 minutes to complete the application. Applications will be reviewed as they are submitted. If you pass the application screen, you will be invited to participate in a video interview.

Application ClosesMar 25, 2019

Late applications will not be accepted, so be sure to leave plenty of time to submit yours before the deadline.

Selections AnnouncedApr 8, 2019

You will receive an email notifying you whether or not you’ve been selected for the cohort. You have 72 hours to submit your down payment to reserve your spot.

Cohorts FinalizedApr 11, 2019

Congratulations! You’re officially a member of a FG Cohort. You will be granted access to the orientation materials, and begin preparing for the start of the cohort.

Cohort BeginsApr 22, 2019

The cohort kicks off with Orientation. You will get the chance to meet your Gymmates and get your life in order, so you can focus on going hard in the Gym for the next 6 weeks.

Cohort EndsMay 31, 2019

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

Ready to take the first step?

The deadline to apply is March 25, 2019.
Read this article for tips and best practices for your application.

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