Accelerator & Incubator Program

Accelerator Program

Founders Space is ranked a Top 10 Accelerator in Forbes and Inc. Magazine.

    • Discover what it takes to raise capital in Silicon Valley
    • Learn everything from pitching to term sheets
    • Tap into our network of advisors & mentors
    • Present to angels and VCs on Pitch Day!

Apply to Our Programs

    This page describes our San Francisco Program. For details about China, please contact Heather at fukai@caohejing.com

Why Do Founders Love Us?

    Comprehensive program taught by entrepreneurs who’ve done it all
    Community of founders who are passionate about helping one another
    Co-working space to collaborate with your cohorts during the program
    Network of top advisors, growth hackers, lawyers, angels & marketing pros
    Access to our events, lectures and workshops in San Francisco for 12 months

What Do Founders Say?

    See what founders who have been through our program have to say about it.

Our Space + Community

    Check out our coworking space and community.

About Our San Francisco Program

    Up to 4 founders from your startup can attend. This is an extremely intensive 2-week program. It involves classes, workshops, lectures, mentoring and our investor Pitch Day. During this time, you’ll be at Founders Space every weekday, right up until Pitch Day. After the program, you can continue to attend our events, lectures and workshops in San Francisco for up to 12 months whenever we have them at no charge. You’ll also receive our Startup Kit and 3-month Online Startup Program, with hundreds of pieces of content, including videos, business lessons and startup materials.

What’s Our Secret Sauce?

    Do you really want to wait 3 months to pitch investors at Pitch Day?  We didn’t think so. That’s why we accelerate the process. You get the same type of sessions as a traditional incubator but at a much faster pace, so you only have to wait 2 weeks (not 3 months) to pitch investors on Pitch Day.

    Do you want the program to end right after Pitch Day? Of course not.  But that’s also when most accelerator programs end, leaving startups on their own.  With Founders Space, we allow you to attend our events, lectures and workshops in San Francisco whenever we have them for up to 12 months.

    Isn’t this more work for Founders Space?   Yes, but it’s the right way to run an accelerator. This leads to better outcomes, and we win when our startups win!

Structure

    • This is an extremely intensive 2 week program
    • All classes and mentoring sessions are held at Founders Space
    • During the program, you’ll receive desk space and rigorous training
    • The training includes workshops, lectures, group sessions and mentoring
    • After this, you can continue to attend our events, lectures and workshops for up to 12 months in San Francisco

Classes & Workshops

    Below are the types of topics we cover in our classes:
    • Prepping Startups for Investment
    • Finding & Selling Investors
    • Putting Together a Smart Business Plan
    • Preparing Your Presentation & Investor Deck
    • Proving a Product-Market Fit to Investors
    • Creating a Fundable Business Model
    • Budgeting, Forecasts and Governance
    • Growth Hacking and Gaining Traction
    • Launching and Scaling Your Business
    • Valuations, Discounts, Term Sheets & Debt
    • Marketing & Customer Acquisition
    • Perfecting Your Pitch

Mentoring Sessions

    Below are examples of the types of mentoring sessions:
    • VCs and angels who discuss startup funding
    • Attorneys who discuss patents, IP and startup legal issues
    • Designers who discuss smart UI, UX and product design
    • Marketing experts who discuss branding and positioning
    • Veteran entrepreneurs who discuss their experience running startups
    • Financial advisors who discuss operating plans, forecasts and P&L
    • HR professional who discuss employee retention, happiness & benefits
    • Authors and consultants who discuss management and leadership
    • Growth hackers who discuss customer acquisition, virality and funnels
    • PR experts who discuss visibility, press and story development

    • NOTE: Classes, workshops & sessions will vary depending on availability of mentors

More Benefits

    • Free legal templates, sample pitch decks, marketing plans, term sheets and more
    • Free startup docs, eBooks, abstracts, video lectures and more
    • Plus up to $100k worth of special offers from our partners

Terms

    While most accelerators require 5% to 10% equity to enter their programs, Founders Space is 3.5% equity (or less). This makes our program more attractive for later stage companies that value their equity.

Location

    • Founders Space is located in SOMA, the heart of San Francisco’s startup district
    • We’re in the same neighborhood as Uber, Airbnb, Techcrunch, Twitter and Dropbox
    • One block from CalTrain, which links San Francisco with all of Silicon Valley
    • A 10 minute walk from BART (subway)
    • On the major Muni bus lines
    • Two blocks from Zip Car
    • Free internet access & utilities
    • Free coffee & filtered water
    • Open space for socializing
    • Conference nooks and rooms
    • Strong sense of community

Virtual Tour

    Virtually walk through our space in San Francisco.

3-Month Online Startup Program

    The Online Startup Program is included in our Full Accelerator Program. You’ll receive hundreds of pieces of content, including videos, business lessons, and startup materials delivered to your inbox every day for 3 months.  Each lesson is from 5 to 15 minutes. These are designed to cover the most important concepts and information necessary for entrepreneurs launching and running their companies.

Advisors

    Our advisors and speakers include Silicon Valley’s top influencers, entrepreneurs, domain experts, venture capitalists and angels.

Mentors

    Our mentors include top lawyers, marketing experts, PR professionals, growth hackers, developers, CFOs, veteran entrepreneurs, angel investors, VCs and designers.

Investors

    Founders Space has an extensive investor network.

Questions & Answers

    Do I have to attend all the classes and mentoring sessions?
    Yes. Once you commit to our intensive 2-week program, we expect you to attend all sessions. We don’t want startups that drop out in the middle. This is a rigorous program, and we need you 100% committed.

    Can I work out of your space?
    Yes, from 9 am – 6 pm on weekdays, you’re free to use the desks in Founders Space while you’re enrolled in the intensive 2-week program.  If you require a permanent space for your startup with 24/7 access, you can rent a private office or desk upstairs.

    What if I haven’t incorporated yet?
    Just use the name you intend to incorporate under and your home address.  It will be treated as a sole proprietorship, and then you can incorporate at a later time and change the address, if necessary.

    Can you help me get a U.S. Visa to enter the United States?
    The easiest thing to do is to apply for a business Visa to enter the United States.  If you need a letter of admittance into the program, we’d be happy to provide you with that.  We can also recommend an immigration attorney who specializes in U.S. Visas.  Keep in mind that you must cover the cost of hiring your attorney and applying for a Visa.

    How does mentoring work at Founders Space?
    Mentors come into Founders Space and give lectures to our batch of startups on topics like fund raising, convertible notes, marketing, PR and growth hacking. These are interactive sessions where the startups are encouraged to ask questions. We also schedule one-on-one mentoring sessions, where we invite a number of mentors into Founders Space and have them give individual feedback to each of the startups.

    How do I find housing?
    Startup Basecamp – contact Guillaume at guillaume@startupbasecamp.org and mention Founders Space
    Zeus – contact hello@zeusliving.com or 415-856-9387 and mention Founders Space
    Looky Home – contact them at 415-515-9876 and mention Founders Space
    StartupHouse – contact bookings@startuphouse.com and mention Founders Space
    StartupCrashpad – contact Sanita at sanita.laivina@gmail.com and mention Founders Space
    20Mission – contact them at management@20mission.com and mention Founders Space
    1412 Market St. – contact Ari King at aking@minervaproject.com and mention Founders Space
    Embassy Network – contact them and mention Founders Space
    • And, of course, you can try Live Lovely, CraigsList, HomeSuite & Airbnb

    What are my chances of getting funded?
    We routinely invite investors to Founders Space to meet with our startups.  We also offer pitch events throughout the year.  If you have a strong startup with traction and know what to do, raising capital in Silicon Valley isn’t hard.  We increase your chances of getting funded, but it’s impossible for us to tell you exactly what your odds are.  That is something no one really knows.

    Can you help me incorporate my startup in the United States?
    We can provide you with sample templates for incorporating your company in the United States.  We can also recommend experienced startup lawyers who can help you at a discounted price.

    Do you cover my costs, including food, housing, travel and expenses?
    You are responsible for all your own costs.

    What if I can’t make it to the program for some reason, like an illness?
    As long as we’re offering the Founders Space Accelerator Program and have space available, you can attend a later session.  Let’s say you signed up for the August session but can’t make it because you get sick.  In this case, you can join a later batch.  You can also access all the online course materials and videos at any time, so don’t worry.  We know that problems come up all the time with Visas, illnesses and family issues.  We will do our best to accommodate you.

    How do I connect with your investors?
    We invite angel investors, corporate investors and VCs to come into Founders Space and meet with our startups.  We don’t make personal introductions to investors. That’s not how our program is structured. Instead, our investors come to Founders Space to meet all of our startups on Pitch Day and other special days, and they will choose which of our startups they wish to invest in.  Upon entering the program, no investment is made.  Instead, as startups participate in the program, they’ll have opportunities to pitch investors and the best ones will receive funding.

    How many startups do you have in the program?
    We don’t have a set number of startups in the program.  We only select the best startups each quarter.  Some batches can be as few as 5 startups, and others can be 20 or more startups.

    How many of your startups have successfully raised capital?
    We’ve worked with hundreds of startups, and the majority of them have gone on to raise capital.  We expect many of the startups graduating our program this year to raise funding within 12 months, but we cannot make any guarantees.  It depends on your startup’s potential and the funding climate.

    What is the deadline to apply to the program?
    There is no deadline.  We have rolling admissions.  That said, space fills up, so you’ll need to apply in advance.

    What types of investors show up on Pitch Day?
    Here are some of the investors who came our previous Pitch Days:

    Abstract Ventures
    Accel Partners
    Addwings Capital
    Air Liquide Ventures (ALIAD)
    AME Cloud Ventures
    AngelList
    August Capital
    Azure Capital
    B Capital Group
    Bain Capital Ventures
    Band of Angels
    Battery Ventures
    BCCL Worldwide, Brand Capital
    Benhamou Global Ventures, BGV
    Berkeley Angel Network, South Bay Angels
    Bessemer Ventures
    Blue Run Ventures
    BlueFocus
    Brand Capital (investment arm of Times Group)
    BV Capital / eVentures
    CableLabs
    Canaan Partners
    Citi Ventures
    ClearPath Capital Partners
    CLI Ventures
    Compass Technology Partners
    Corporate investor
    Cote Capital
    Creative Ventures
    Crosslink Capital
    Cybernaut
    DAN Fund
    Das Ethos
    Dolby Labs
    Doll Capital Management
    Draper Fisher Jurvetson
    Draper Nexus
    E. ON SCI USA
    Eastlink Capital
    Eleven Two Capital
    Emergence Capital
    Enplas
    Envision Ventures
    Essential Angel Fund
    Eumax Innovation Capital
    Felicis Ventures
    Fenox Venture Capital
    First Round Capital
    Floodgate
    Forerunner Ventures
    Formation 8
    Freestyle Capital
    Frost Data Capital
    Garage Technology Ventures
    Gateway Venture Partners
    General Catalyst Partners
    GGV Capital
    Global Innovator Fund
    Goodwater Capital
    Granite Ventures
    Greylock
    GSR ventures
    Handmade Ventures
    Hangzhou High-Tech Venture Investment
    Harman International
    Healthcare Angels
    Highland Capital Partners
    ICP Inventus Capital Partners
    Innotech Capitals
    Innovation Works
    K Cube Ventures
    Keiretsu Forum
    Khazanah Nasional
    LAB360
    LeEco (corporate investor)
    Lightspeed Ventures
    Lux Capital Management
    Matrix Partners
    MAVA
    Maveron Ventures
    Microsoft Ventures
    Mistletoe
    Moment Ventures
    Morgenthaler Ventures
    Motorola Solutions Venture Capital
    Nautilus Venture Partners
    New Angle Capital
    New Enterprise Associates (NEA)
    New Leaf Venture Partners
    Newdo Ventures
    NewGen Venture Partners
    NexStar Partners
    NIN Ventures
    Northern California Investment Fund
    Norwest Venture Partners
    Onset Ventures
    Opt Ventures
    Perfect World Ventures
    Pinnacle Ventures
    Procyon Ventures
    Propel Venture Partners
    RainmakeMe
    Redpoint Ventures
    Rothenberg Ventures
    RPM Ventures
    Rubicon Venture Capital
    Rungain Venture Capital
    Ruvento Ventures
    SAIC Capital / Shanghai Motors Ventures
    Samsung Global Innovation Center
    Samsung Ventures
    Sand Hill Angels
    SanDisk Ventures
    Sazze Partners
    Scale Venture Partners
    Screens for M&A
    Scrum Ventures
    Shasta Ventures
    Signia Ventures
    SoftTech VC
    Sparkland Capital
    Stanley Ventures
    Startup Capital Ventures
    Steelhead Ventures
    Strong Ventures
    Structure Capital
    SumaVision Venture
    SUVC
    SVC Angel
    Tandem Capital
    TEEC Angel Fund
    The Batchery
    Thomvest Ventures
    Translink Capital
    Trinity Ventures
    True Ventures
    VantagePoint Capital Partner
    Venrock
    Vertex Venture Holdings
    Walden Venture Capital
    Western Technology Investment
    WestSummit Capital Management
    WI Harper Group
    XG Ventures
    XSeed Capital
    Yang Ventures
    Yun Family Enterprises
    Zenity Asset Management
    Zetta Venture Partners
    Zhen Fund
    zPark Venture
    And many more…