Founder’s Institute Singapore, BizSpark and me in between

Running for 2.7 years now, Founder’s Institute (FI) is a “global network of startups and mentors that helps entrepreneurs launch meaningful and enduring technology companies”. Founded by Adeo Ressi, an entrepreneur himself, FI aims to help entrepreneurs worldwide with the vision of helping launch 1,000 technology companies per year worldwide.

Just finishing its fourth semester, Singapore is one of the first countries to have FI in Asia (if not the first) and I’m lucky to have been part of it.

Founder's Institute Singapore 4th Semester

I formally joined the second semester as I have some ideas that I wanted to cultivate and it was a challenge that I wanted to conquer. Every week for four months, we were introduced to a new founder that will talk about a specific topic. There were tons of awesome founders that I met from really cool startups from the US and VCs from all over the world.

I had the opportunity of meeting Phil Libin from Evernote and Aaron Patzer from Mint. They both had really solid talks and it was great meeting successful people talking about their previous failures. Those are the stories you rarely hear.

Three months pass and sadly, I wasn’t able to graduate as I wasn’t ready to incorporate. Incorporation is one of the requirements to graduate the class and is one of the last milestones. Of course, your idea will be evaluated as it’s one of the first milestones aside from your commitment and dedication to the program.

Founder’s Institute is of course always compared to other incubators or accelerator programs and Adeo himself has a good answer in one quora thread. They have positioned themselves well and it’s really up to you to find out if the program has value for you. For me, it was a good primer in knowing what to consider when forming a company. For first time entrepreneurs, the basics is always something we won’t know especially if we don’t have a business background. The network is another great value that is not so obvious to outsiders. Starting a company is a hard and lonely path; having a circle of supporters and friends is essential in ensuring your success. I’ve seen the FI family grow in Singapore and the diversity of people just makes the stew even more interesting every semester.

Since the second semester, I’ve been supporting FI through my work in Microsoft. Being the lead for the BizSpark program in Singapore, it was just natural to work closely with the guys behind SGFI. Providing them with all the benefits and other cool stuff that BizSpark and Microsoft has to offer for startups.

If you want to know more about FI or BizSpark, check out their sites and if you’re in Singapore and interested to know more, feel free to ping me.

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