Introducing: the FP Founders Programme
We’re incredibly excited to announce a new programme we’ll be running at Forward Partners in 2019. We’ll be selecting 6 aspiring or early-stage startup founders who want to receive dedicated business and investment coaching from the VCs and startup experts here at FP. We’ll take them through a five week course on customer development, ideation, growth, product/solution, and investor readiness. We’ll be looking to make a pre-seed investment of £300-500k in successful founders/companies at the end of it.
At Forward Partners, we believe the world can be transformed if every founder with a good idea can achieve their full potential. Because of that, we regularly invest at the earliest possible stage, where founders are still in full time jobs and have an idea that isn’t fully formed.
But while we do see entrepreneurs come to us in this position, we think it’s a fraction of the those with the relevant skills, experience and desire to launch a business but aren’t sure where to start.
We asked ourselves how can we support and empower more of these would-be entrepreneurs to make the jump - leaving their jobs when they have gathered some certainty they are onto something great.
That’s why we are launching this new, first-of-its-kind programme to give access to VCs and startup experts as mentors and sounding boards for new ideas. We believe this will help more exceptional individuals become the founders of exceptional businesses.
Getting VC Ready
So how do we plan to do that? We’ll be running 5 sessions delivered by startup experts from the FP team to take the green shoots of an idea and turn it into a killer business concept, with a proven need and a compelling pitch to back it up.
Session 1. Investment session: (20th February)
Introduction to the programme, fundamentals of venture capital, understand how VCs think and evaluate companies.
Session 2. Customer development session: (27th February)
How to research your idea, how to talk to customers, how to validate your solution.
Session 3. Product/solution session: (6th March)
Taking the problem you’ve identified, we’ll work together to explore technical solutions to validate your riskiest assumptions.
Session 4. Growth session: (13th March)
Introduction to growth marketing, implementing growth marketing processes with real life examples, finding your first 10 customers, reaching your wider customer base.
Session 5. Investment session: (21st March)
How to secure investment in your business, how to refine your investor pitch, how to craft a great pitch deck.
We’ll provide you with 1-to-1 mentorship to make sure you are on the right track. You should also expect some homework after each session, such as talking to customers, market research, and some recommended reading.
At the end of the programme we hope as many companies as possible will be ready to take on investment - we’ll be doing everything we can to get you there.
Who are we looking for?
People that are passionate and committed to running a company - startups are hard work and we need people that are up for the challenge.
One or a few ideas or an area that you’d like to work on - we’ll help you refine these so don’t worry if they aren’t fully formed.
Domain expertise is preferred - or a good answer to the question of why you are a good person to solve this problem. You don’t need any technical skills to apply although if you have them, great.
Able to commit to the sessions - we will do our best to make these as easy to attend as possible, especially for those who are working, but we want you to put a lot into the sessions, and you should expect a lot out.
How to apply?
We’ll be accepting applications from mid-January to mid-February and sessions will run weekly on Wednesday from 20th February onwards. The time of the sessions will be agreed with the candidates but we anticipate early evening will likely be the most convenient for people to attend.
Please apply via this typeform - it shouldn’t take long!
Can I participate in the Founder Programme if I’m still working full time?
Yes! We hope to make the sessions as accessible to people that are still working full time as possible and the commitment will be 1 hour per week plus some homework for 5 weeks.
Where will the sessions be run?
The sessions will be held in our office in Hoxton.
What will be the format of the sessions?
The format of the sessions will be an hour interactive discussion/talk.
I’m outside of the UK/London can I still apply?
We expect founders to be able to attend the sessions in our offices in London.
What happens if I can’t make all of the sessions?
If there is a session you can’t make please detail this in your application and we will try and accommodate.
Is there any cost involved?
Nope! The Founders Programme is completely free.
Do you take equity?
No! We want to help founders create killer business ideas and then (if they’re keen) make a pre-seed investment into the company. (Typically £300k-£500k)
Can I apply for the Founders Programme and Office Hours?
You can apply to both the Founders Programme and Office Hours however if you are accepted onto the Founders Programme we won’t also accept your Office Hours application.
Who will be my mentor?
Each founder will be paired with a mentor from the FP team to troubleshoot and share ideas with through the programme.
I’m a seed stage company, can I still apply?
The purpose of the Founders Programme is to help founders formulate and then refine a business idea therefore isn’t suitable for seed stage businesses.
Seed stage companies should apply for investment via this link.
Can my co-founder/s attend too?
Unfortunately we can only host one founder due to space limitations.
How will the course culminate?
After the course we hope to invest in the companies that founders have been working on. If this isn’t the case we will advise on what aspect of the business still needs some work and rediscuss later down the line. We are also happy to make introductions to other VCs if we don’t think FP is a good fit for the company.
I’ve already started working on an idea/have built some product can I still apply?
Yes! But the programme is aimed at early stage businesses.
When will I hear whether I’ve been successful?
We will get back to every applicant to say whether they have been successful or not and aim to do so within 2 weeks.
When does the course start and end?
The course will run from mid-February to mid-March.