FOunder University

Presented by:


Hosted by:


April 3-4, 2017

A two-day educational experience for founders* who have launched their product but haven't raised a Series A.

*Available to 25 founders selected based on merit.

Applications are now closed.


live stream


Get invited to the live stream of founder university



Please note - this is a fluid curriculum and will go through multiple iterations before the festival. Please send any suggestions to and we'll take a look!

View the full curriculum in our google doc!

Founder Pitches & Perfecting your Presentation

Moderator: Jason Calacanis

Founder University will kick off with each founder getting 3 minutes to pitch their startup to the panel, then receiving feedback for making it better. 

Team & Culture

Speaker: Shane Metcalf, 15Five

How to build a strong, ethical company culture and amazing team. Learn how to build the foundation for mission, values and leadership.

Go to Market Strategy & Growth

Speaker: Casey Winters, Greylock Partners

Learn what it really takes to scale your company, and what techniques work best for sales and growth.

Key Metrics & Assumptions in prep for VC meetings

Speaker: Andrew Farah from Density

Before spending time, energy and money on fundraising, make sure you are in a strong spot to do so. What assumptions are you making about your business, and how will you get there? Walk through the real metrics of companies that have raised their Series A, as well as some examples of companies who failed to do so.

How to be a great leader

Speaker: Vishal Gurbuxani, Captiv8

Learn what it takes to be a great leader - someone who will shine through highs and lows of startup life. Learn key elements on how to manage, as well as key operational duties. See the characteristics that make up great leaders.

5 keys to negotiating a term sheeT

WSGR’s Todd Carpenter & Rachel Proffitt, MHS Capital’s Vijay Nagappan Ceo/Co-founder of Zenrez, Matthew Capizzi

This panel discussion covers the most important elements of a Series A term sheet to prepare founders for the negotiation phase.

Who qualifies in ‘17?

Speaker: Adam Nelson, Social Capital

How do you go from an angel or seed round (or maybe even bootstrapping) to a Series A? Learn about where your business needs to be before considering a Series A, and the metrics needed to pull it off. 

The Art of the Pitch

Speaker: Aaron Holm, Blokable

Review some near perfect pitch decks. What makes the deck and story so compelling? Learn in this session how to perfect your story and put together the best deck possible to gain interest.

Proactive M&A & M&A Panel Discussion

Speaker: Rishi Garg, Mayfield
Panel: Rishi Garg, John Jansen (Mizuho), Denny Kwon (WSGR)

We’ll start with laying out the basics around M&A. For many founders - even seasoned, serial founders - M&A is a black box process. We’ll uncover what you need to know about M&A. Then, move into a Panel discussion around M&A and what founders should expect along the journey.

Eliminating Dealbreakers

Speaker: Clara Brenner, Urban Innovation Fund

Avoid common pitfalls of the fundraising process. Learn how to deal with setbacks and how to move forward through tough times. Be knowledgeable about how a down round or a messy cap table could impact you, and what to do about it to be prepared. 

Product Management

Speaker: Robby Stein, Instagram

Walk through the making of Instagram Stories and see how Instagram builds products. Learn about product management best practices that you can apply to your business.

Homework for Due Diligence

Speaker: James Heller, Wrapify

Start getting ready for the raise by getting your documents in order. See what homework you have as you prepare to meet with potential investors. See example documents that will help save you time when putting together your documents.

Give it some Gumption

Speaker: Meredith Kessler, Professional Triathlete

Life has many twists and turns that can only be summed up as enriching controlled chaos yet with a bit of stamina, fortitude and gumption - we all can try to reach our dreams with gusto.