While the Founder Institute claims to reduce costs associated with starting a company by up to 80%, the main incentive for applying to the program is being referred to the mentor list and the related networking opportunities. Thus, the additional mentors are not likely to go unnoticed. The list now includes Match.com’s Will Bunker, CityCentric’s Matthew Mandell, OpenCandy’s Chester Ng, Shadow Logic’s Roger Yee and LaCie’s Philippe Spruch.
20 entrepreneurs have already been accepted to the Paris program – 2 of which are female. While the accepted participants have very diverse backgrounds, quite a few are under 30 years of age and have graduated from a French engineering or tech school – including one 22-year-old engineering student on the list.
Some of those already accepted already have start-ups in the making. One example is Frederic Allard, who launched Addictrip in September 2009 with co-founder Caroline Thelier. The site – which offers weekend vacation getaway deals on 5 continents – already has a community of 40,000 members.
With a few spots left, the final round of applications for the Paris program has been extended and potential candidates now have until March 7th at midnight PST to complete the online application. The procedure not only includes a series of intelligence and personality multiple choice questions, but also has a large social media component: applicants are required to create a YouTube video presentation of themselves and provide their LinkedIn profiles.