The Founder Institute

The World’s Largest Pre-Seed Startup Accelerator




The Founder Institute is the world’s largest pre-seed startup accelerator, having helped launch over 3,500 companies across 180+ cities and six continents. The company was founded in 2009 by serial entrepreneur Adeo Ressi and his colleague, Jonathan Greechan. The idea for the program spawned from operating, where it became apparent that most entrepreneurs at the idea and launch stages lacked the structure, feedback, and support network needed to be successful.

News of the launch was announced on TechCrunch, the first Founder Institute program methodology was crowdsourced by over 10,000 CEO members of, and the inaugural program started in May 2009 in a small classroom at Stanford University. There were originally no plans to expand beyond Silicon Valley, but upon receiving immense inbound interest to launch the program in other cities, the Founder Institute began to expand. Today the program operates across 180 + cities and is localized into 9 languages.

In total, Founder Institute Alumni has raised over $800M and is worth an estimated $20B.

Our VISION is that there are talented people everywhere whose potential can be unlocked to make an impact on the world through entrepreneurship.

Our MISSION is to empower communities of talented and motivated people to build impactful technology-enabled companies worldwide.


  • Great companies start with great people.
  • Great companies can be built anywhere.
  • Great companies are not built alone.
  • Anyone can change the world through Entrepreneurship.
  • Focus is one of the founder’s greatest challenges.
  • Startups are much harder than you think.

Our Program
We help pre-seed entrepreneurs and teams build traction and funding by establishing a critical support network of local startup experts that are invested in their success, and by providing a structured and challenging business-building process that has helped our alumni raise over $800M. Leaders of the world’s fastest-growing startups have used the Founder Institute to raise funding, get into seed-accelerators, generate traction, recruit a team, build a product, transition from employee to entrepreneur, and more.

Texas Chapters and Statewide Expansion
The Founder Institute launched its first Texas chapter in Austin in the summer of 2017. The local team of Martin Martinez, Elisa Sepulveda, and Paul O’Brien recruited 40 mentors to help launch 9 companies with the inaugural cohort.


Since then, the program has hosted scores of public events centered around entrepreneurship, fundraising, and economic empowerment for underrepresented communities. It has graduated 4 chapters, launched dozens of companies, and has expanded with its first sister chapter in Houston, led by Mr. Martinez and local team of Neal Murthy, James Phelan, and Tabbie Saenz.

The Founder Institute Texas initiative is run by Mr. Martinez and will continue to expand to additional cities by 2020 with a unique opportunity to unite the state under a shared vision: to empower entrepreneurs of all backgrounds, genders, and ethnicities to launch impactful, purpose-driven, Texas-based companies.

Given the collaborative nature of the region and its vast resources that can enable entrepreneurs to be successful on every end of the state, this is a mission that is shared by every local leader, mentor, and community partner. The Founder Institute Texas aims to launch 100 new companies annually across the state by 2022, strengthening Texas as an economic powerhouse for innovation for many generations to come.

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