The Founder Institute is bringing its early-stage tech accelerator program to Vancouver, according to co-founder Jonathan Greechan. This marks their fifth Canadian location.
The city has already been on the organization’s radar for a long time, but a big hurdle was finding the right kind of directors to move the local program forward, Greechan said. After they put their people in place and tested the market in September to garner interest among the burgeoning local startup community, they’ve netted over 100 potential applicants.
The Founder Institute aims to help early-stage founders who may not yet have quit their day job. Through a four-month program, the Founder Institute works with them to help them find co-founders, get funding, and ultimately launch their business. “We focus on founders who are at the idea stage,” Greechan said.
“The overall accelerator ecosystem has grown significantly, but also shifted a lot,” Greechan said, looking back on the marketplace.
“We’ve been around since 2009, when Techstars and Y Combinator were blowing up and a lot of others were following suit… We’re starting to see consolidation,” said Greechan. “That’s related to heavy competition to get the best companies from among the accelerators. The other trend in accelerators is acceleration, with a lot of accelerators getting focused on specific sectors.”
The best ecosystems have a lot of different options, are not vertically integrated, and specialize in different things, Greechan explained. He said he doesn’t see a lot of other accelerators as competition, because they focus on founders who are at the very early stage. Their goal is to foster an entrepreneurial mindset in their accelerator participants, helping them understand what they need to do to build a business. After that, Founder Institute participants may actually go on to other accelerators to reach the next stage of their business. He points to successful startups like Hykso, Loggr, and Heddoko that have all moved on to other accelerators and seem to be growing fast.
The Founder Institute is hosting three local events aimed at future tech entrepreneurs in October and November: Startup Ideas Bootcamp (Oct 20), Startup Funding 101: How to Raise Capital for Your Idea (Nov 3) and an FI Information Session (Nov 11).