Founder Institute Expands To San Diego And Washington DC

Adeo Ressi’s Founder Institute, which just completed its first successful “semester” in Silicon Valley, is expanding to new cities. First up are Washington DC and San Diego, California.

The program was first announced in March 2009. It is a semester-based startup camp for very, very early-stage entrepreneurs and students who have basic ideas for potential startups but have not yet founded a company. 198 founders applied to the program. 79 were accepted, and 66 graduated. 31 companies have been incorporated by these founders so far, and a handful have actually launched (including Skimble and Molo Rewards).

The Institute is launching in these areas via local partners to ” localize the Institute model of training, mentorship, and shared success.” Candidates can apply for Washington DC here and San Diego here. More cities will be launched shortly, says Ressi, who also sent me the following:

The philosophy of the four month training program is: “founders helping founders succeed, and everyone sharing in the upside.” Unlike other training programs, vendors and service providers are not allowed to lead training sessions, though they are asked to support the founders through heavily discounted offerings. In addition, founders in the program are not required to quit their day job or forced to launch a product during the term of the program. Founders are encouraged to pursue the right path for their particular business, including raising growth capital at fair market rates. Lastly, every graduating founder and every mentor owns a piece in the upside of each company formed.

Each location has 25 CEO Mentors that lead twelve separate training sessions on topics such as Basic Research, Hiring and Firing, Hiring and Firing, and The Funding Lifecycle. Each session is lead by 3 CEO Mentors to provide a range of views on the topic. Half of the Mentors are recruited from successful local startups to provide a local perspective on company building, such as Jordan Greenhall, co-founder of DivX Inc., in San Diego. The remaining Mentors are brought in from other geographies, such as Silicon Valley, New York, and Boston, to provide provide different insights into building startups.

San Diego runs from November 3, 2009 – February 23, 2010. Washington DC runs from December 1, 2009 – March 23, 2010. There is also an upcoming informational session for the DC program on October 13. Details are here.

I participated in this Summer’s program as a mentor and have spoken with a number of entrepreneurs who have graduated. All found it to be a great experience.