Graduating from the Founder Institute – Experience
I am excited to share that I have finally graduated from the Founders Institute Hyderabad Chapter and this is just the beginning of starting a successful technology business. The Company “Outlife Adventure Travel Pvt Ltd” is now officially a Founder Institute Graduate Company.
The Founders Institute Journey at the Hyderabad Chapter has been a fast paced one for me. It feels great to graduate from a very serious and practical program that has taught me what it takes to make a successful company. Just like the real world problems of a startup, The FI program assignments puts the founders in similar challenging situations with all the business assignments and pressure to complete it in one week. The Assignments helps to focus on the startup idea and accelerate the growth from an idea stage into a validated company in just 4 months time and teaches key practical aspects of building a successful business.
I was able to successfully validate one of the 3 ideas I had chosen to work on initially and I launched Outlife – an Adventure Travel Marketplace out of the Founder Institute and the MVP can be seen at http://www.outlife.co
Outlife Adventure Travel is a Online Market place which helps individuals, groups and corporate solve the problem of not finding options to break their monotony or to take part in meaningful activities over the weekend or to go out for a team outing with colleagues. The Market place caters to Adventure Travel, Adventure Sports, Adventure Experiences and Experiential Learning for Corporate, schools and Colleges all over India.
All the Listing of Itineraries from Adventure Tour operators are checked for their authenticity and our Team of inhouse outdoor experts experience and curate the entire itinerary before listing it on the marketplace. We plan to bring about 1500 different adventure and outdoor related experiences from all over India on the Marketplace.
For me the adventure travel marketplace was not the first startup and I was already bootstrapping “Outlife Adventures Pvt Ltd” An Adventure and Outbound Training Company www.outlife.in and running a self sustainable not for profit Great Hyderabad Adventure Club www.ghac.in . At the Founders Institute I got to learn many new things that were required to make successful a company. Lot of things keep changing in the business and startup world and the Founder Institute keeps it curriculum updated all the time through feedback and collaboration from among the successful companies and Entrepreneurs and the various FI chapters around the world.
In these 4 months the founders work putting in over 30 hours per week into practical assignments on customer development, Idea Validation, Revenue model, Sales Traction, Branding and Marketing and Pitch their idea to a group of mentors and investors week after week and get rated on their performance and idea. Those who are unable to constantly score above 3 out of 5 either get a difficult special assignments or are asked to leave the program. Almost half of the 26 entrepreneurs who got selected to the Hyderabad Chapter left as they were unable to cope up with the demands of the course or were were eliminated as their ideas were weak. The founders were initially shortlisted after a 1 hour Predictive Admissions Test that shortlists talented entrepreneurs based on the desired behavioral traits of successful entrepreneurs. Passing out as a Founder Institute Graduate is a seal of approval, signifying that company’s founders, mission, model, and plans are validated by the Institute, Chapter directors, experienced mentors and CEO’s of successful companies.
The FI program gives a cutting edge by refinement of a viable idea into successful execution in just 4 months time with the business building assignments, mentor feedback, advisor sessions and work group meetings. The biggest lesson for me was to witness the difference between having a viable idea and making a successful company. So effectively a meaningful and viable idea is nothing, unless a founder knows what he is talking about and what he is doing and understands which direction he is going. Execution is much more important then just a viable idea and the FI curriculum helps one focus on the execution with the business building assignments week after week over the 4 months.
The most powerful method for refinement at FI is the feedback from the program directors and the mentors who visit each session. The mentors are drawn from different successful startups and backgrounds and immensely contribute with objective and constructive feedback and rating to help the founders succeed. The mentors also meet one on one out of the sessions to help the founders with their startups.
During the 4 months all founders were placed in small work groups which keep changing every month and the founders also meet twice per week to discuss progress and challenges with each others businesses outside the FI sessions. Working with similar minded entrepreneurs in the program is great motivation and simply awesome. These out of session meetings are equally powerful way to brainstorm and ask for help wherever needed from other talented founders in the program.
At the Institute I learned its not just enough to be good at what you do but one has to be equally good with telling others what you do and thats where you learn to pitch effectively. I learnt how to deliver effective investor pitches, how an investment deal should be structured, how to protect intellectual property, why a company road map is crucial, how and when to approach investors and partners, how to hire and fire people, How to develop sales traction and Outreach. This is not a inclusive list and I could talk about hours about all the great advantages the Institute gives to the founders. However I recommend that you go to the Founder Institute website at www.fi.co and read all the benefits of being a graduate founder of FI.
For me the most important part of the Institute is the talented founders that you meet. Once you join the Institute you become part of a network of fellow founders that can help you with your business all lifelong.
Another important lesson was to realise that working with good and talented people can only make your company successful in the long run. so make sure to hire the right people because Good Employees are expensive, Average Employees are very expensive and nobody can afford bad employees.
Let me also tell you that the program is hard, very hard. Its equivalent to walking on fire. Only 4 graduated out of 26 founders at the Hyderabad Chapter. Many founders don’t start a company and don’t graduate. The program requires a commitment of many hours a week and founders have to show results with their startups. You continuously hear in the program about the problems many founders are facing and you see many founders quit and many companies fail.
If you have a viable idea and want to create a successful company and be a successful entrepreneur and are ready for an amazing ride of your life creating your dream company, then join the Founder Institute. apply at www.fi.co
Founder Institute Hyderabad Chapter – 2014