6 Founders Graduate from the Founder Institute Philippines Cohort 2022

Arkayv
4 min readOct 16, 2022

by Greg Balondo

Image from forbes.ge

The Founder Institute (FI) has announced that six startups have graduated from their most recent Philippines cohort this year after its four-month, rigorous startup program. “When we launched this past semester, we began with 22 promising startup founders. Due to natural attrition, less than a third graduated,” said FI Philippines Co-Director Allan Tan. “We maintain a highly selective screening process for the Founder Institute, which aligns with the difficulty of launching and managing a startup. Many of our founders have said that they feel it is ‘harder than a full-time job.’”

The Founder Institute provides a structured four-month acceleration program, including weekly training and mentoring sessions to help early-stage entrepreneurs launch their businesses with the help of experienced startup CEOs around the globe. The program ends with a graduation event or demo day where graduates present to investors and the media.

The graduating cohort for the Manila program

This year’s cohort comes from varied backgrounds: education, healthcare, marketing, and marketplaces to Web3. The graduating companies include:

AdvanceCare, a financing platform for accessible healthcare

Affinitely, an automation tool for helping brands acquire high-quality leads through referral programs and rewards

Arkayv, a marketplace for Architecture & Design

Celebrity Greenbox, a marketplace for buying celebrities’ pre-loved items

StudyDIY, an online platform for processing enrolment & scholarship applications of Filipino students to universities abroad

Writaroo, an app for digital paper planners & journaling toolset

The world’s largest pre-seed startup accelerator

The Founder Institute is the world’s most proven network to turn ideas into fundable startups and startups into global businesses. To date, FI has helped launch over 6,000 companies across 200+ cities and six continents.

The company was founded in 2009 by serial entrepreneur Adeo Ressi and his colleague Jonathan Greechan. The idea for the program spawned from operating TheFunded.com, where it became apparent that most entrepreneurs at the idea and launch stages lacked the structure, feedback, and support network needed to be successful.

Over 10,000 CEO members of TheFunded.com crowdsourced the first Founder Institute program methodology, and the inaugural program started in May 2009 in a small classroom at Stanford University. There were originally no plans to expand beyond Silicon Valley, but upon receiving immense inbound interest to launch the program in other cities, the Founder Institute began to grow. Today the program operates across 200 + cities and is localized into nine languages.

Founder Institute Alumni have raised over $1.75BN and are worth an estimated $30BN.

The intensity of the program is “harder than a full-time job”

The Founder Institute is a selective program that typically sees a high level of attrition due to various reasons, with almost two-thirds of the cohort voluntarily dropping over time. It is not an easy path to take, and, as such, it is designed specifically for those who are 100% committed to their entrepreneurial venture.

The coursework in the program includes entrepreneurship fundamentals such as idea validation, customer acquisition, accounting, and marketing for idea-stage and growth-stage startups. “Startups are hard. Through our program, founders, especially the first-timers, will have guidance and training in how to fail fast and then eventually succeed in their endeavors,” said FI Philippines Co-Director Jorge Azurin.

Weekly training and mentoring sessions

The Founder Institute provides training and mentoring weekly to help early-stage entrepreneurs launch their businesses with the mentorship of experienced startup CEOs from around the globe.

The program ends with a graduation event or demo day where graduates present to investors and the media. Over 30% of participants who graduated from the program have gone on to get funded by venture capitalists (VCs).

For this batch, however, they opted to end the ceremony through a joyous but relaxed celebration. “It is the first on-site, face-to-face graduation ceremony in the last two years, so we really wanted it to be chill and spend bonding moments with the founders, mentors, and directors,” said this year’s cohort president Nikki Batanes. The ceremony was attended by mentors Joseph De Leon, founder of Manila Angel Investors Network (MAIN), and Joey Gurango, CEO of Gurango Software.

The graduating companies will present their startups at different pitching events this November, including Philippine Startup Week.

Four of the six founders attend the graduation ceremony with FI Philippines directors Gerard Escaler (leftmost) and Allan Tan (second from right). They are joined by mentor Joseph De Leon (rightmost), founder of Manila Angel Investors Network.

Trained for grit & resilience

There are many reasons why the graduates are doing so well. They were selected for their aptitude and ambition to build great companies. They are experienced problem-solvers from various industries, backgrounds, and regions all over the country. “We believe our graduates are setting an example for other young entrepreneurs who want to launch their businesses and start something new,” FI Philippines Co-Director Gerard Escaler noted.

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