Founder Institute New York: Early Admissions deadline Aug. 15/Final deadline Aug. 29



We have another Founder Institute semester spooling up in NYC, and the early admissions deadline is August 15th, with final admissions on August 29th.  Our host will be local entrepreneur Gabe Zichermann, and the applicant pool so far looks very strong. 


If you are an early-stage entrepreneur, this is a very powerful way to upgrade the sophistication of your company and significantly increase your odds of success.  Among the noteable companies from the inaugural New York Founder Institute are Profitably, Simple.PR, and, and VIMOTA.  Complete list here.


Applications Due: 08/29/2010
Sessions: 09/07/2010 to 12/15/2010


I hope to see you there!

Seeking Head of Engineering for Internet Finance Startup, NY

Internet Map. Ninian Smart predicts global com...

I’m in the midst of assembling the founding team for a new startup, and seeking a head of Engineering. I’ve attached details below.  I welcome suggestions!


Seeking Head of Engineering for Internet Finance Startup, NY


We are seeking a Head of Engineering for the founding team of an internet finance startup, based in New York and soon Asia. This is your chance to get in on the ground floor, shape a new company’s technology and culture from scratch, and create a significant company.


Our first product is, an automated research and analysis engine focused on private companies, and specializing in working with private equity funds. Our technology is somewhat parallel to that developed by such firms as Alacra, Bloomberg, Capital IQ, Connotate, FirstRain, InfoNgen, SkyGrid, and ThomsonReuters; we particularly value experience from these and similar companies. We are also comparable to traditional investment banks. For more on our service and background, please see our site . The startup is led by David Teten, a serial entrepreneur.



+ For each segment of our software platform, make buy/build/tweak decision.

+ Manage full product lifecycle including infrastructure, development, design, scalability and security.

+ Recruit and manage additional team members.

+ Research strengths and weaknesses of different data vendors we are considering.

+ Build hooks into APIs of major online networks (LinkedIn, Facebook, etc.)

+ Design and implement logic and scoring algorithms.


+ Over 2 years management and 5 years development experience.

+ Proven success in large scale, high transaction systems engineering.

+ Use of formal and agile development methodologies

+ Built complex, integrated, sanitized, normalized databases based on many messy data sources (linear, non-linear).

+ Passion about our startup’s vision.

+ Highly motivated self-starter who has a track record of continuous self-improvement, high achievement, and aggressiveness.

+ Strong analytical and math skills. High attention to detail.

+ Have managed development teams over time, with hiring and firing responsibilities.

+ Familiar with machine learning, natural language processing (NLP), screen-scraping technologies, semantic web, and/or agent-based systems.


We also value:

+ Experience in social networks, online dating, and/or finance industry, particularly investment banking and private equity.

+ Built consumer-oriented web applications.

+ Belief in the Edward Tufte school of communication.

+ Strong writing experience. Value a high GPA in writing-dependent courses.

+ Strong verbal communication/sales skills. Experience in debate, public speaking, and acting is pertinent.

+ Familiarity with startup environment and networks with local business/ government related organizations

+ Fluency in languages other than English.


+ Primarily equity initially. We are currently self-funded and expect to raise outside capital in late 2010/early 2011.


Please include with your detailed resume:

+ Link to your LinkedIn profile (or other online identity).

+ Availability.

+ Writing sample

Please send resume and cover letter to Careers(@) with "Head of Engineering" in the subject line. We prefer that you save your resume in Microsoft Word format with the name "Last Name-First Name-Year.doc", e.g., "Hayward-Tony-2010.doc".

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Free webinars on interviewing, recruiting, employee screening, and social network recruiting

accolo logo  My friends at Accolo have some very worthwhile webinars available for free on their site.  These are geared to hiring managers and recruiters.  You can watch these at your convenience:

The Inside Numbers on the Job Market and the Impending Hiring War

How to Conduct the Perfect Interview

Understanding your cost to hire.

Employment Screening, beware and be aware

Social Network Recruiting – Beyond Employee Referrals

Turn disgruntled applicants into raving fans!

Finding Top Performers

Our new Harvard Business Review article: Time for Investors to Get Social

I’m excited to report that we’ve started to release the results from our first-ever study on best practices in private equity and venture capital deal origination.  My coauthor Chris Farmer (formerly Vice President, Bessemer Venture Partners) and I published a summary in the current issue of Harvard Business Review. 


Evalueserve, a global research firm and the acquirer of my former company (Circle of Experts), provided supporting research and analytics in the initial phases of this study. We also thank Yujin Chung and Neha Kumar (Wharton 2010), research associates who provided invaluable support, and interns Corentin Roux dit Buisson, Dan Clark, Nitin Gupta, and Nikhil Iyer .


A highlight from the HBR article:

We’ve found that late-stage tech investors with geographically diverse portfolios are consistently among the best performers and have continued to attract large limited partner commitments, even during the challenging period since 2007. Almost all such players have been able to raise at least as much cash as they could previously. By contrast, the funds with traditional origination programs, focused on local networks, have had difficulty; most haven’t raised new capital since late 2005.

Read the whole thing.


For more data from the study, see the slides below:

Download this presentation.

Download this presentation.

How Private Equity and Venture Capital Funds Grow the Value of Portfolio Companies

One of the major themes of the evolution of the private equity industry for the past decade has been the growth of internal groups focused on enhancing the value of portfolio companies. Twenty years ago, the great majority of the people working in private equity came out of investment banking, i.e., a deal background. Today, it is far more common for a private equity fund to employ people with an operational/consulting skill set, e.g., Bob Nardelli at Cerberus. I predict we’ll see the same phenomenon among venture capital funds. The latest example: Union Square Ventures announced that they are hiring for a newly created position as General Manager of the Union Square Ventures Network.


Within private equity, these groups are often called "portfolio operations", sometimes "portfolio resources groups", or what Riverside Company calls its Toolkit. At larger funds, "operations" may be distinguished from governance, talent selection, pre-investment involvement, or even strategy, partly because "operations" is a term that management may infer to mean backseat driving.


By definition, these groups focus on improving the operations of the existing portfolio, not on diligencing potential deals or on deal structuring. Just a few of the many major private equity funds that have well-developed private equity operations groups: 3i (Business Leaders Network); Cerberus; Irving Place Capital; Bain Capital; TPG; General Atlantic; and Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe.


A Bain study found that "as much as 80% of private equity returns [going forward] will come from real performance improvement, rather than [ ] financial structuring." According to a 2006 KPMG study of 100 private equity exits (below), 48% of the value-add during private equity ownership came through organic revenue growth, as opposed to capital structure changes and multiple arbitrage.


Source of Gains in Private Equity-Backed Companies




I see six major reasons why limited partners now expect that private equity funds will have a formal operating strategy, minimally an operating partner and/or a formal portfolio resources group. I should mention my thinking throughout this blog post and especially in the list of factors below is shaped by a number of presentations I’ve seen by Jon Weber, who has run portfolio resources groups at three major private equity funds.


1) Global economic crisis. Particularly in 2008-09, most portfolio companies required operating changes to survive. In most cases, the existing management teams were hired for their ability to grow revenues, not their ability to restructure. The funds had to supplement and/or replace the existing teams.


2) Commoditization of financial engineering. The classic question Michael Jensen asked is: if leveraging is so wonderful, why don’t companies do it themselves instead of waiting for an LBO fund to buy them out? Since Jensen first began researching this area, larger companies increasingly chose to lever themselves, and there has been a massive boom in the private equity industry—thousands of funds all of whom can offer leverage. It has become much harder for a private equity fund to make high returns simply by borrowing some money and taking advantage of the interest tax shield.


3) Investors seek differentiation. Building a formal portfolio resources group has been a way that private equity investors can differentiate themselves and ease the capital-raising process.

4) Maturing private equity industry.
According to the Parthenon Group, the larger size and greater complexity of funds has led to greater role specialization. As one investor said to me, "We’ve moved from the ‘great man’ to the ‘great team’ model."


5) Risk mitigation. The deal team tends to have a strong incentive to do a deal, and then move on to the next deal. An operational perspective adds a counter-balance to the deal team.

6) Strategy driven.
Certain strategies — deep value investing, turnarounds, mid-market focus, and industry-specialized funds — require a hands-on approach.


I remember speaking at a Capital Roundtable Private Equity Portfolio Operations conference back in June 2008, and I was struck at the number of attendees who commented publicly on how they felt like "second-class citizens" at their funds, both in status and in compensation. However, when I spoke at the IIR PE Ops conference in October 2009, in the midst of cleanup from the economic crisis, the mood of the operating professionals was much more buoyant (despite the challenges they faced in their portfolio.) On a relative basis, they knew that their professional contribution had become much more apparent at their firms.


We have not yet seen a similar boom in portfolio resources teams in the venture capital industry, but it’s coming. I recently had a conversation with Chris Farmer about this, which sharpened my thinking considerably (he is the coauthor of my forthcoming study on "Best Practices in PE/VC Deal Origination"). According to the NVCA and PWC Moneytree, the average VC round has doubled in the last 12 years with the growth of the industry (from $4m to $8m). At the same time, the cost of starting a company and proving concept with a new product has declined dramatically in many sectors.


Some such as Marc Andreessen argue that costs have dropped as much as 100x over the last couple of decades since the current venture capital model was created. As a result, many innovative venture capitalists and entrepreneurs are creating new fund models from Andreessen-Horowitz to Betaworks to Founders Collective and Floodgate. Fred Wilson wrote, "The venture capital asset class does not scale . . . . I think ‘back to the future’ is the answer to most of the venture capital asset class problems. Less capital in the asset class, smaller fund sizes, smaller partnerships, smaller deals, and smaller exits. The math works as long as you don’t put too many zeros on the end of the numbers you are working with."


A corollary of Fred’s point is that the small number of portfolio companies which do hit hypergrowth need more support. Chris and I think that one logical new model is: seed a large number of companies with quite modest amounts of capital. Then, double down with follow-on rounds on those concepts that do take off. For those companies that experience rapid growth, it makes sense for a fund to bring extra support, since those companies can’t hire good people fast enough to do everything they need to do. In addition, a portfolio resources group can share learnings across the portfolio. This is much easier in venture than in private equity, because VC funds are much more likely to specialize in tightly defined industries. In addition, the portfolio companies are smaller and so it’s easier for a VC to shape their growth according to the fund’s beliefs in best practices.


In the case of companies that do not reach hyper growth, the companies will have raised modest amounts of capital and can be sold for much smaller amounts while still resulting in a win for entrepreneur and VC alike. Of course, failing to provide a follow-on investment is a signal that can hurt the company, but that has always been a part of the business and we are confident that models will evolve to minimize the negative effects.


Here are some models of VCs Chris and I identified which are building out portfolio resources groups:


Andreesen Horowitz has said very explicitly that their model is to be able to invest at a wide range of capital levels in the 10-20 companies per year which have true potential to scale. They have built out a small value augmentation group: Ronny Conway (point person on business development for the portfolio) and several recruiters (1 for college-level talent, and 1 for experienced talent).


– Insight has the "Insight Onsite team" which is particularly focused on sales, SEO, and SEM.


– Accel has a Venture Development group and firms like Oak Investment Partners and Bessemer have Operating Partners to lend added support to companies. Charles River Ventures had a similar approach during the bubble.


– Bessemer also has a Designer in residence (showing the increasing importance of design for internet companies, e.g.,


– Highland Capital Partners, Union Square, and numerous others have "Thought Summits" with noteable guest speakers. These events usually are organized by portfolio functional role, e.g., a portfolio CTO summit, portfolio CEO summit, etc.


– As I mentioned above, Union Square Ventures announced that they are hiring a General Manager of their portfolio.


– There has been a boom in accelerators: Boostphase (Atlanta, GA); Bootup Labs (Vancouver, BC); (Austin, TX); Charles River Ventures QuickStart (Boston, MA); DreamIT Ventures (Philadelphia, PA); (Bangalore, India); (Washington, DC); (Greenville, SC); seedcamp (London, UK); (Atlanta, GA); SeedStart (New York); Summer @ Highland (Lexington, MA and Menlo Park, CA); (Boston (MA), Boulder, CO, and Seattle, WA; The Difference Engine(Sunderland, UK); Y Combinator (Mountain View, CA); and Y Europe (Vienna, Austria). For more information on how to build a replica of Y Combinator, read Jed Christiansen. For a comparative listing and more background, see Readwriteweb and Dan Veltri. TechStars recently released very positive data on the success of their incubated companies.


This approach differs from the incubator and acceletor trend (e.g., cmgi, antFactory) of a decade ago. That model was often criticized for selection bias: the less-competent entrepreneurs found the incubators more attractive. In addition, too much of the core competency of the company was driven by the incubator instead of in the company itself, creating ambiguity in attribution of value between the two entities. The new model looks more like the VC as consigliere instead of a bacteria splitting off new progeny.


I’ve had a front-row seat to this phenomenon, since I’ve done a lot of work in the past with portfolio resources groups at some of the major private equity funds. I’ve presented in the past on "Finding New Deals and Improving Portfolio Company Valuations by Working with Operating Executives," which covers some of the structural options private equity funds have in working with their portfolio.

Internet Business Models

I’ll be presenting on April 26 to the Founder Institute Singapore on "Earning Revenue and Internet Business Models".  I give a lot of credit to Munjal Shah, some of whose slides I incorporated directly into this deck. 

My draft slide deck is below; I would welcome feedback.

Hiring and Firing for Entrepreneurs

I’ll be presenting on April 27 to the Founder Institute Singapore on "Hiring and Firing for Entrepreneurs".  My draft slide deck is below; I would welcome feedback.

Visiting Singapore April 23-29: Presenting to Founder Institute, Venture Capital & Private Equity Association, CFA Singapore, and others

Approaching Singapore

I’m very excited to be visiting Singapore for the first time April 23-29; I may stay longer in Asia depending on business exigencies. I’m visiting as part of the faculty for the local launch of Founder Institute, with sponsorship from the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore and others.  I will also be meeting with some local investment funds, incubators, and  entrepreneurs. If you have any suggestions of people or institutions with whom I should meet, please contact me.


Thank you to Jeffrey Paine, Partner, Battle Ventures, for coordinating the trip.


I have scheduled six speaking engagements as part of my trip, and I hope that some readers can join us:  


Where are the Deals?! Private Equity and Venture Capital Funds’ Best Practices in Originating New Investments

Sponsors: Singapore Venture Capital & Private Equity Association and CFA Singapore

Preview presentation at .

Monday, April 26, 12-2:00pm

FTSE Room, Level 9 Capital Tower, 168 Robinson Road

Members: $0, Candidates: S$15, Non-members: S$30. RSVP: programs(@)



Earning Revenue and Business Models for Startups 

Sponsor: Founder Institute

Panel with Chester Ng, Co-Founder, Chief Business Officer at OpenCandy, and Derrick Morton, CEO at FlowPlay

Preview presentation at .

Monday, April 26, 6:30-9:00 PM

Microsoft Singapore, Level 22, NTUC Centre, One Marina Boulevard, Singapore

No Cost. Very limited room for guests. RSVP: jeff(@)


Bulldog Conversation: Best Practices in Deal Origination for VC and Private Equity Funds

I’ll be discussing the findings of my research study on best practices of venture capital and private equity investors in sourcing new investments.

Sponsor: Yale Club of Singapore. Also invited are members of DUAL, the organization for graduates of some of the more distinguished universities globally.

Preview presentation at .

Tuesday, April 27, 12-2:00 PM

Brewerkz Riverside Point, 30 Merchant Road #01-05/06 Riverside Point

Cost: S$10 for Yale Club members, S$20 for others. RSVP: shawn(@) .



Hiring and Firing for Startups

Sponsor: Founder Institute

Panel with Eric Tachibana, Director at Bank of America- Merrill Lynch, and Derrick Morton, CEO at FlowPlay

Preview presentation at .

Tuesday, April 27, 06:30 PM

NUS – Extension @ PARK MALL, 9 Penang Road, #12-01, Park Mall (opposite Dhoby Ghaut MRT)

No Cost. Very limited room for guests. RSVP: jeff(@)


Free (or Nearly Free) Market Research for Entrepreneurs and Other Misers

Sponsor: National University of Singapore Techno Venture Forum

Preview presentation at .

Wednesday, April 28, 6-8:00pm: National University of Singapore, I3 Auditorium, 21 Heng Mui Keng Terrace Level 1

No cost. RSVP


A map of all the presentations is at


Among the other speakers are Nolan Bushnell (Founder of Atari),  Michael Robertson (Former CEO of, Aaron Patzer (Founder and CEO of, Phil Libin (CEO of Evernote), and many more.  More background from the site:


The Founder Institute in partnership with Battle Ventures and Ascendas iAxil is bringing to Singapore a four month training program for both new and seasoned entrepreneurs. The Institute prepares founders to lead the next generation of world-class technology companies across a wide range of industries, from the biotech to the internet. Weekly company-building sessions are guided by experienced CEOs from the US and Singapore/region, and they are held in the evening to allow participants to keep their day job or develop their companies during business hours. All of the program stakeholders, from the participating founders to the experienced CEO Mentors, share in the upside generated by the companies formed during the program. Participants also enjoy free services from three dozen Institute Partners, fundraising opportunities at fair market value, and a teamwork-oriented environment to build a company.



(Image by Storm Crypt via Flickr)

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Invitation for angel investors: New York Founder Institute graduation ceremony, Thursday 3/25, 6pm

Image representing Founder Institute as depict...


The New York Founder Institute graduation ceremony and investor preview is this Thursday, March 25, at 55 Broad Street, 6:00. Up to fourteen businesses are poised to graduate, ranging from a fantasy sports company with a family focus to a business designed to cure cancer. The best business to present, according to a vote by the guests, will win a $5,000 prize on the spot.

Accredited angel investors are welcome to attend. In addition to a free dinner and some fun pitches, Adeo Ressi (founder of the program) will give a 30 minute talk about the lessons learned after aptitude and personality testing nearly 1,000 people interested in becoming an entrepreneur. You’ll be one of the first to hear some of the surprising results about age, intelligence and personality.

Recent success stories from Founder Institute: Skimble, a Founder Institute Graduate, is a finalists for the "Innovative Web Technology" category at the SXSW conference in Austin.  TechCrunch has recently profiled a number of graduates: Molo Rewards; RewardChart; Monstrous.

If you’d like to attend: RSVP.

The Finalists are:

Aaron Price of makeMania

– enables a community of Do-It-Yourselfers (DIYers) to connect, compete with, and learn from one another, while accessing relevant exclusive discounts.

Adam Neary of Profitably

– Profitably is a web-based business intelligence solution for small businesses with a simple proposition: Give us 10 minutes, and we will help you run your business more profitably.

Alexander Ressi of

– is a tracking tool that blends user-contributed milestones with social media and 3rd party data-sources to create timelines for personal intelligence.

Bryan Housel of Ditto Health

– Ditto Health allows patients to enter their medical data in one place on the web, rather than on paper at every doctor’s office that they visit.

Edward Kim of Simple.PR

– Newswire enabling businesses to reach targeted local audiences.

Jacob Howerton of Zipmark

– Zipmark enables people to make financial transactions with their smartphones.

Joshua Bernstein of Ancile Biomedical, Inc.

– Ancile Biomedical develops medical devices that accelerate wound healing, saving money for payers and providers while addressing the results of global obesity and diabetes epidemics.

Kyle Jasey and Thomas Pierce of Wepoli

– To bring citizens, elected officials and political candidates closer together, and to facilitate and enhance their interaction.

Olivier Couronne of Genomes United Inc.

– Genomes United sequences the genomes of cancer patients in order to identify novels biomarkers.

Shirley Chow of ProjectChow

– Food pictures exist in fragmented areas all over the web. ProjectChow will serve both as an organized repository for these photos by presenting these images alongside the restaurant menus allowing diners to more informed of a restaurant’s offerings.

Tobin Schwaiger-Hastanan of

– Plan.FM is a social utility for collecting the plans you make on other sites and organizing them into a single source that you can access from anywhere. "It’s for your events."

Vincent DiBartolo of

– FanSprout is a family-friendly fantasy sports site with educational components that allows dads and kids to connect in the context of sports.

Vincent Mota of vimota

– vimota creates the tools & intelligence which helps monetize the costs of rich media.


Again, RSVP at: .  See you there!

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Entrepreneurial Education Programs in New York/Invitation to Founder Institute Investor Session


I’ve been very excited to see the boom in the New York startup community in the last 2 years, driven in large part by the shrinkage in the NY industries that traditionally lured some of the most entrepreneurial and aggressive personalities (finance, consulting, etc.) Michael Karnjanaprakorn posted a detailed list of resources and players in the local community.

One category of resources I wanted to add to Mike’s list are educational programs for entrepreneurs. I’m faculty in a number of these organizations, particularly the Founder Institute. I was a Mentor in the Winter 2009 New York semester, and will be faculty for the inaugural program in Singapore, in late April 2010.

Next Thursday night, March 25, the participants in the current Founder Institute program will be presenting to some angel/VC investors downtown. If you would like to join the audience, please contact me and I’ll forward your request to the lead organizer for New York’s Founder Institute, Craig Kanarick.

I’m excluding here some of the many organizations that run conferences/events geared to entrepreneurs in New York, such as Bootstrapper Summit; Bootup; DigitalMediaEvents; Entrepreneurs Roundtable; Feedback Forum; Fashion 2.0; The Founders Club; Founders Roundtable / Pluggedin NYC; Gaming 2.0; Girls in Tech; IxDA; Microsoft Startup Zone; MIT Enterprise Forum of NY; New York Entrepreneur Week; NextNY, New York Technology Council; New Work City; NYVideo; NY Tech Meetup; NY Video; Private Equity Forums; Semantic Web Meetup; Silicon Alley Insider; Startup at Work; Summit Series; Talk NYC; TechAviv NY; The Hatchery; Ultra Light Startups; youngStartup Ventures; NYC Economic Development Corp.; and Y+30. I think these programs are very worthwhile; I excluded them because they don’t offer a formal training and faculty.


We’ve drafted profiles below of the major selective educational programs in NY for entrepreneurs. Please advise if you know of any that I’m missing.






Organizational Sponsor: Levin Institute

Location: New York

Faculty: academics and entrepreneurs

Duration: 7-day intensive boot camp (2 full days a week over 4 weeks)

Cost: These programs are currently offered at no charge to qualified applicants, through funding from the NYC Department of Small Business Services, and with support from the Kauffman Foundation.

Selectivity Ratio: NA

Info: The FastTrac program has trained over 700 individuals to launch new businesses (through its NewVenture program) or to grow existing businesses (through GrowthVenture).  SBS surveys indicate that over a third of the brand new businesses have recorded sales since completing New Venture, and half of the GrowthVenture firms have indeed grown their businesses.



First Growth Venture Network

Organizational Sponsor: First Growth’s executive committee/founding growers includes venture capital firms – Bain Capital Ventures, Battery Ventures, Charles River Ventures, First Round Capital, Flybridge Capital Partners, Highland Capital Partners, North Bridge Venture Capital, OpenView Venture Partners, Valhalla Partners and Venrock; angel investors Grape ArborVC and AngelVineVC; the Tech Group at Lowenstein Sandler, and the tech investment banking firm GCA Savvian.

Location: New York

Faculty: entrepreneurs, tech executives, VCs, professional advisors

Duration: seven half day sessions over two "semesters"

Cost: $0

Selectivity Ratio: Most recently accepted about 15 out of 60+ applicants.

Summary: "First Growth is a program for high potential, seed and early stage start-up tech entrepreneurs in and around New York City. First Growth takes high potential entrepreneurs and accelerates their "first growth" by (1) connecting them with venture capitalists, angel investors, successful entrepreneurs and advisors, all of whom have spent years in and around technology start-ups; (2) connecting each start-up with a First Growth Advisor Team of 3 or 4 successful network members who will serve as mentors to the team; (3) providing regular opportunities for substantive information and networking with the broader First Growth community; and (4) providing a peer group of other high potential tech leadership teams in the First Growth program."


9 of the first 15 companies have already received seed funding, which is a very high ratio.  One company recently announced that it was acquired in a successful exit.  Two advisors (successful serial entrepreneurs) also received funding from First Growth connections.



Image representing Founder Institute as depict...Founder Institute

Organizational Sponsor: TheFunded.

Locations: NY, Denver, San Diego/Orange County, Singapore/Asia Pacific, Paris, LA, Bay Area, Seattle Area, Greater DC, others to come later

Faculty: serial entrepreneurs

Duration: three months

Cost: In US, $600 per program + an application cost of $50. In addition, The Institute takes a small percentage (3.5%) of warrants in a company that is formed by a Founder during the program, priced at the value the company receives in its first outside round of financing. 

Selectivity Ratio: Accept under 40% of applicants. Approximately 45% of the enrolled Founders graduate. In New York, approximately 30% will graduate.

Summary: "The Founder Institute is a four month training program for both new and seasoned entrepreneurs. The Institute prepares founders to lead the next generation of world-class technology companies across a wide range of industries, from the biotech to the internet. Weekly company-building sessions are guided by experienced CEOs, and they are held in the evening to allow participants to keep their day job or develop their companies during business hours. All of the program stakeholders, from the participating founders to the experienced CEO Mentors, share in the upside generated by the companies formed during the program. Participants also enjoy free services from three dozen Institute Partners, fundraising opportunities at fair market value, and a teamwork-oriented environment to build a company."





Mentor Capital Foundation

Organizational Sponsor: Reitler Kailas & Rosenblatt

Location: New York

Faculty: Primarily service providers. Steven and Bill Harding of Financial Summit Ventures are the "guiding spirits".

Duration: ten three-hour sessions, over 10 weeks

Cost: $500

Selectivity Ratio: Accept all or almost all applicants. Currently 15 companies are participating.

Info: "Mentor Capital Foundation is a newly formed non-profit entity involved in various philanthropic activities and early stage technology investments." They lead a series of seminars structured for technology companies seeking the knowledge and leadership needed to secure venture capital.




JumpStart NYC

JumpStart NYC

Organizational Sponsor: Levin Institute

Location: New York

Faculty: academics and entrepreneurs

Duration: 3 months

Cost: $0

Selectivity Ratio: NA

Info: "A proven, three-month educational program to help individuals leaving jobs in the financial services sector to apply their knowledge, skills, and abilities in opportunities beyond financial services.  One of Mayor Bloomberg’s initiatives to boost the New York City economy, JumpStart NYC was pilot tested in Spring 2009, delivering a program that helped participants develop new skills, explore project opportunities in New York’s entrepreneurial firms, and in many cases create new career paths and opportunities." The program targets primarily people interested in joining startups/technology companies, as opposed to founders themselves. Disclosure: I was faculty for the launch program of JumpStart NYC.




NYC Seed logo


Organizational Sponsor: NYCSeed

Location: New York

Faculty: VCs and entrepreneurs

Duration: 8 weeks

Cost: includes funding

Selectivity Ratio: NA.  Currently applications are closed for 2010.

Info: An incubator program, providing up to 10 startups $20,000 plus mentoring and guidance for any worthy entrepreneurial idea. SeedStart is a joint effort among Contour Venture Partners, IA Ventures, NYC Seed, RRE Ventures and Polaris Venture Partners, and also includes Fish & Richardson, Manatt, Phelps & Phillips and Silicon Valley Bank.

SeedStart is clearly inspired in part by similar seed fund incubator programs such as Boostphase (Atlanta, GA); Bootup Labs (Vancouver, BC); (Austin, TX); Charles River Ventures QuickStart (Boston, MA); DreamIT Ventures (Philadelphia, PA); (Bangalore, India); (Washington, DC); (Greenville, SC); seedcamp (London, UK); (Atlanta, GA); Summer @ Highland (Lexington, MA and Menlo Park, CA); (Boston (MA), Boulder, CO, and Seattle, WA; The Difference Engine (Sunderland, UK); Y Combinator (Mountain View, CA); and Y Europe (Vienna, Austria). For more information on how to build a replica of Y Combinator, read Jed Christiansen. For a comparative listing and more background, see Readwriteweb and Dan Veltri. TechStars recently released very positive data on the success of their incubated companies.




I’m excluding here some of the traditional incubators that typically offer a physical plant but not formal training. For a list, see the Business Incubator Association of New York State, Inc., and particularly NYU-Poly’s incubators


(Thanks to Nikhil Iyer for his help re
searching this post.)

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