Graduating from the Founder Institute, the world’s largest pre-seed start accelerator is no small feat. Every year, more than 1,000 startups apply to this prestigious accelerator, only a few dozen get accepted and even fewer make it through the challenging programme. The three Luxembourgish startups Recube, Rolela and SaltyLama were among the 16 startups who graduated on the 27th of May.
Founded in Silicon Valley in 2009, the Founder Institute has supported more than 5,000 entrepreneurs in getting their businesses off the ground. Since their inception, the Founder Institute has expanded across six continents and into over 200 cities worldwide.
Important to note is that not all accelerators are created equal. While most accelerators target specialised startups, the philosophy of the Founder Institute is – as the name suggests – more Founder oriented.
“There’s a reason why it’s called the Founder Institute and not the Startup Institute. We believe that if you have the right dedication, the right ambition and if you have the right skill sets, and are accepting of feedback, show flexibility and can learn from others and be accepting of those learning opportunities, you can make it and you can be successful,” says Orkun Ozbatur, Director of the Benelux Founder Institute.
Not every Founder makes graduation
Making it through the Founder Institute’s programme is no easy task. Indeed, this year, of the over 1,300 applicants, only 62 Founders were accepted and only 16 made it to graduation. If this were a university, these drop out rates would be cause for concern. However, Ozbatur assures me that these rates are normal in the challenging world of startups and “do not worry [him] all at.”
“It is very normal, especially in the first week, we see around 25-30% drop off. And that’s one reason why from the first week, we make it very clear that it is not easy. The participants need to submit assignments every week. And assignments take a minimum of 15-20 hours per week.”
While the survival rates of the startups participating in the accelerator may be low, the successes of some of the Founder Institute’s Alumni speak for themselves. The Alumni which are spread over the globe include well known names such as Udemy, the popular online course website, Apota, the top content distribution platform in Southeast Asia as well as StartCar, China’s leading peer-to-peer car rental service.
The Sustainable Luxembourgish graduates
It seems safe to say that the startups who do make it to graduation are worth keeping an eye on. Below you can find a short summary of the Luxembourgish startups that graduated last week as well as a link to their websites.
Recube is a cloud-based platform for small and medium fashion brands to digitize their product development process, reduce waste, time, and costs by leveraging the 3D technology.
Rolela is a virtual marketplace for expiring food items that connects vendors with other vendors, end-users, and charity organizations.
SaltyLama is a trusted curated online marketplace for sustainable and sustainably made products featuring a local proximity tool making sustainable shopping easy for everyone.
Interestingly, these three startups tackle problems surrounding sustainability. Although some might call businesses’ newfound desire to solve these issues a fad, Ozbatur firmly believes that it “is not a trend” but reflective of the direction the world is moving in.
“Luxembourg and the entire startup ecosystem understand the United Nation goals. The Founder Institute even launched something called the Progress Company, which challenges businesses to tackle de UN’s Sustainable Development Goals,” he adds. “We need to make a change in terms of being more sustainable, that much is clear.”
Although Recube, Rolela and SaltyLama have made the important and impressive step of graduating from the Founder Institute, their journey is only just getting started.
When asked what Ozbatur thinks they should keep most in mind going forward he said they need to continue asking themselves “What can I do next week?.” He continues, “The challenge is to identify how they can start the next step, get the feedback and continuously implement something new.”
Continuously challenging yourself to take the next step is certainly a challenge but luckily the graduates can always fall back on the expertise of the mentors and the support of the Founder Institute, which, as Ozbatur succinctly puts it, is a “lifetime engagement.”
Silicon Luxembourg Fellowship
Are you part of the Silicon Luxembourg community and interested in participating at the Founder’s Institute?
Silicon Luxembourg is proud to offer the best applicants from the Silicon Luxembourg community with a fellowship to the Luxembourg-Amsterdam Virtual Fall 2021 program.
Through this offer, anyone in the Silicon Luxembourg community can apply to the Founder Institute for free below, and the best overall applicant for the Luxembourg-Amsterdam Virtual Fall 2021 program will receive a Silicon Luxembourg Fellowship to participate in the world-renowned startup launch program for free.