No - Founders is designed for participants to join as individuals, and meet their co-founder from our carefully selected cohort. You'll have the opportunity to ideate with leading talent from a wide variety of backgrounds to find the right person with a complimentary skill set.
No - you don't need an idea to apply to Founders. If you do have an idea, that's great, but it won't affect how we assess your application.
Yes - Founders is based in CHQ in Dublin's Docklands. People we select relocate to join us, anyone who has the right to live and work in Ireland.
We currently do not offer visa support.
No - When taking part in our programme we ask you to commit full time so that you can move as fast as possible, and focus your energy on working with your co-founder. We provide a monthly grant to support everyone to focus on our programme without the need to work elsewhere.
If we make you an offer, we'll invite you to cohort meetups before you start, and a login to the Founders Slack.
No - the startup magic is all up to you. We will facilitate co-founder matching and ideation sprints to find product-market fit.
The company you create does. We do not own any IP that belongs to your company, and do not take a proportion of your profits. If you have further questions about IP or a current project you're working on please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
We are sector agnostic but are particularly interested in companies that are solving problems in the following areas: Health, Education, Sustainability, and Financial Services; particulary using AI to unlock these solutions.
'Founders' talent accelerator invests in people, not startups. Operated by Dogpatch Labs, the programme brings together Ireland's most exceptional talent offering a network for these individuals to find a co-founder, build a startup, and pitch for €100k investment. Unlike traditional accelerators, talent accelerators strive to amplify exceptional talent and those demonstrating 'founder potential', giving them the support and network they need to embark on and accelerate their founding journey. The programme is built on a belief that a well balanced founding team is the most significant determinant of startup success, and seeks to remove the serendipity of finding a co-founder and create a cohort of diverse talent who have the ambition, technical skills, domain expertise, and problem-solving ability to create innovative startups.
The Founders programme is run from Dogpatch Labs, Ireland's most connected startup and innovation hub. From the outset, Founders participants are immersed in the Irish startup ecosystem and gain access to the bustling Dogpatch Labs network of Investors, VCs, Entrepreneurs and Industry Leaders. Through Dogpatch's international connections to more than 100 hubs worldwide, as well as over 250 hubs across Ireland, we act as the primary connector between Ireland's entrepreneurs and the world beyond our shores. We are delighted to have the support of incredible mentors and founders such as Bobby Healy of Manna Drone Delivery, Dee Coakley of Boundless, Aine Denn of Altify, Nicola McClafferty of Molten Venture and Marc McCabe of Nomad Capital. Our mentors support the programme through delivering bespoke workshops for our cohorts, helping them to progress their businesses and overcome obstacles to growth. Additionally, our mentors provide individual sessions and office hours for our founders to gain their advice and expertise on their business propositions.
The programme is split into two 12-week phases; Phase 1 and Phase 2. As an overview, Phase 1 entails an extensive co-founder matching programme, ideation support and creation of venture-backed companies, and the opportunity to pitch to an investment committee for pre-seed investment. Phase 2 focuses on accelerating the growth of the portfolio companies through bespoke, expert-led workshops, regular founder mentoring sessions with industry specialists, investor pitch preparation support and culminates in a high profile investor showcase.
Yes - approximately 50% of our cohort is non-technical, but may have some other commercial background or domian expertise that is relevant to building a high growth startup.
Yes - the Founders team will work with you to help develop core founder skills every step of the way.
You are still eligible to apply if you have taken a very small amount of investment or been awarded a grant. However, we deal with these situations on a case-by-case basis and you should email email@example.com for more information.
Founders' programme is designed first and foremost for individuals to find a co-founder they wouldn't have otherwise met. Therefore, Founders might not be the right place for you if you're already in a team, but if you do still wish to apply, we ask that you and your co-founder apply separately to the programme.
We will be opening the application process for our second cohort, commencing September 2024, this coming March 2024. Please register your interest here to be the first to hear of all application releases and deadlines
Applications for our second Founders cohort will open in March 2024. Want to get the ball rolling earlier? Register your interest here now!
The first round of applications will close on 26th April 2024. We encourage you to submit your application as soon as you're ready to apply. We read applications on a rolling basis and applications that are submitted early may be selected for an early interview. If your application is promising, we will invite you to interview with us. Most interviews will be held from April to early June.
Remember that we are selecting candidates based on their exceptionalism, not ideas that they have or have been working on. Make sure you, the individual, are the focal point. Demonstrate tangible examples of where you have created value - that can be monetary, time saved, a specific outcome etc. Tell us the impact you created in your specific project/field/role. The best applications will be completed with clarity and brevity in mind - we don’t need long essays! Tell us why you are different, how you are exceptional in relation to your peers and why you are best placed to build a globally impactful startup.
Absolutely - please let us know their details here!
Founders funds you as an individual from Day 1, and if you form a company, we are your first investor. To start we will pay you €2,000 per month for the Formation Phase.
At the end of Phase 1, there is the opportunity to pitch for pre-seed investment from the Founders Investment Committee. Rolling up the grants paid to the team in the first part of the programme, the funding is topped to a total of €100k. For example, if you have two founders, who each initially received €6k in grants, your startup will receive a further €88k investment to top up your total funding to €100k
Founders invests in exceptional people, not startups. We believe that every great company starts with a great co-founding team. At Founders, we believe that an exceptional co-founding team with an average idea in most cases will outperform an average team with a great idea. Additionally, great teams often pivot their idea throughout the ideation process. If we decide to invest, it is first and foremost because we back the exceptional co-founders and because we can and want to work with the team.
Founders pay out the non-refundable grant gross of tax, meaning the full amount will hit your bank account. This is part of our potential investment in your company and is not to be treated as salary or employment income. We cannot give you tax advice, but it is your duty to make any relevant disclosures in your personal tax return (if required).
If selected for investment, you can use the funds for anything that you believe helps your business. In most cases, the first use of the funding should be for the founders to support themselves so they can work full-time on their company, typically by paying themselves a salary.