You’ve probably heard of startup “incubators” or “bootcamps.” But how about a Founder Gym?
Co-founded by Mandela Schumacher-Hodge and Gabriela Zamudio, Founder Gym is looking to change the way we conceptualize startup culture and training. It focuses on tech startups run by underrepresented founders looking to build their businesses via a robust online platform. Trainings will cover topics like fundraising, pitching, user growth, and problem-solving.
“We’re trying to use different language in order to break paradigms that have been established,” said Schumacher-Hodge. “What we’ve seen time and time again is that model doesn’t work. What we’re trying to do is create a new model.”
The gym analogy is an integral part of that new model. As Schumacher-Hodge explains, when you have a gym membership, you (theoretically) attend year-round to continually enhance your fitness abilities.
“This is how it is even with founders,” she said. “There are different muscles you’re going to have to exercise. And you can always get stronger. We want to break the traditional paradigm that you take these accelerators and incubators and then you’re good to go. Becoming a founder is an ongoing process.”
How Founder Gym works
The Founder Gym program is divided into four weeks. In week one, participants learn about fundraising—both its history and where it’s going in the future. In week two, students learn how to get those funds, in particular what your company is up against when it comes to winning money from investors. Week three goes into more of the practical elements of fundraising—pitching via email, phone, and in person, as well as how to make your startup stand out. In the final week, participants share what they’ve learned.
Perhaps the biggest draw of the Founder Gym is the illustrious names attached to it. In addition to Schumacher-Hodge and Zamudio themselves, instructors include Mitch Kapor (Kapor Capital), Charles Hudson (Precursor Ventures), and Ellen Pao (Kapor Capital).
Applications for the Founder Gym are open until November 30, 2017. The program starts on January 8, 2018.