Get Startup ready.
We teach you how.

Founders Academy #9

Next batch in 2020

A desirable digital future needs brave entrepreneurs. What about you? Our Founders Academy gets you startup-ready. Eight weeks, three weekends and a couple of meetups later your idea will have manifested into a solid business model.

8 week part time program

matching top talents to a strong co-founder team

open to academic research projects in order to validate their business potential

open to industry problems in order to disrupt the industry

focus on validation methods to reach Problem-Solution-Fit

lead by top MBA professor Jan Brinckmann

strong expertise in B2B business cases

mentoring from successful startup founders

Ready to apply?

Find your perfect fit and join the next Academy

The Industry Expert

The Industry Expert

You have professional and industry experience. On the basis of industry problems that you encountered you found the one business idea that you want to build up your own company and revolutionise your industry. You are looking for a strong team and the lean methods.

for the next Academy

The Scientist

The Scientist

You come from an academic environment where you have been working in technological projects. Now you want to build a business case on the base of your academic research. You are looking for a strong team and real market feedback.

for the next Academy

The Executer

The Executer

You are an enthusiast for technological innovations that shape the future and you want to participate as a first mover. Your core strengths is execution and now you are looking for a promising business case to commit yourself to and the right team to join.

for the next Academy

Doesn’t sound like you?

We love people who don’t fit into boxes.

for the next Academy

Your application process.

Four steps. One big leap.


Fill in our application form (20 min). After completion you receive an invite to answer 4 questions in a virtual interview (15 min).


We get >100 applications for 30 spots. An expert jury will assess your application and recommend the best applicants to us.


You will receive a final answer from us whether you got accepted to the next Founders Academy.


Confirm your participation and get ready for the kickoff.

Opportunities don´t happen,

you create them!


Anna Academy

Anna-Luisa Korte

Program Manager Education
After the academy?

It’s easy: It depends on you, everything is possible. We advise you to talk to your team members before the Pitch Day to clarify everyones expectations: who has what kind of stakes in the case? Who wants to continue? Although we wish for all of you to continue as successful entrepreneurs, experience has shown, that not everyone goes all in afterwards. Good teams may qualify for a scholarship in our Founders Lab which offers you 3 – 6 months working space for validation, workshops and mentorship.

Do you get mentors?

We provide you an amazing network of experienced and committed mentors from our network. We will introduce you to the mentors and highly recommend you to apply to a mentor afterwards. You will probably meet with the mentor (virtually or on site) once a week. If you are going for one of the external business cases by one of our Idea Sponsors, most of the times your Idea Sponsor automatically becomes your mentor.

Fee and scholarship

Participation is covered by a 199,-€ fee. Taking into account that everything is included from workshops to catering we don’t need to mention that this is just a symbolic obolus. We expect  full dedication from you in return! Also you can apply for a scholarship. We take you into account for one of our scholarships when your average monthly gross income over the past 12 months was less then 3k.

If you have no business idea in mind...

Good! Because we are matching teams at the Founders Academy. So not everyone needs a case. We expect openess and honest interest in technological innovations. Also we gather such called “sponsored ideas” by experts from our network who the become your “idea sponsor”. Benefit from this? You have an expert mentor right on hand.

If you have a business idea in mind...

You should make sure to tell us as much as possible about it in your application. We want to ensure a high quality of business cases to increase the chance for success. Therefore we will probably have a short “pitch” on our first Workshop Saturday in front of Jan Brinckmann and special guests from the startup world. We are focusing on B2B business cases in particular but what counts most is the potential of the case. We want 10x  innovations that improve the lives of many and create great value.

If your case doesn't work: Pivot-readiness

Sometimes cases don’t work out. They just don’t show the potential you first saw in them. This is normal and absolutely no sign for you to give up. We want you to have an open mind, appreciate the feedback you get and take it seriously. If you then realise: It’s not working, no worries. We will assess the situation and pivot your case or you will start all over again – that’s just the way startup goes.

What happens between the workshop weekends?

That’s when the „real work gets done“. You will have to organize yourself with your team on how you work together: Do you meet on-site? Do you work remotely? Who does what? You will need to apply the learning from the workshop weekends and meetups to get the validation process going! Interviews, business meetings … it’s real life, so real work!

What happens on the three workshop weekends?

The workshop weekends are lead by Jan Brinkmann. The curriculum of his workshops follows a specific logic which allows you to validate your business case along the road. You will be provided with his presentations afterwards and get “homework” till the next workshop weekend. During the weekends we will be joined by several well known experts and successful serial entrepreneurs who will share their stories, insight and maybe also work with you. Over the 8 weeks you will develop a pitch deck by constantly filling in the validation results you gather. So in the end you will also have a pitch deck ready for the Final Pitch Day.

What’s happening at the final Pitch Day?

The Final Pitch Day is – as the name says – the final event of every academy. Before you stand on stage at our Final Pitch Day we will make sure that you are ready and have a convincing pitch deck on hand. That night more then 400 guests and a top expert jury will be watching you on stage, evaluate your business case, pitch and ask questions. The winner gets… well, you will be surprised 😉

Will there be catering?

Yes, we will provide you with drinks, snacks and food. So no excuses to leave early or to not fully dedicate yourself to the program.

Your time commitment

The input happens during the workshop weekends but the real work gets done in between. Prepare for intense 8 weeks where you should be willing to commit at least a couple hours per day to your research and validation when you are working full time. If you are free and have time we expect you to treat the Academy as your fulltime job during these 8 weeks.

Hello opportunity!

Take the first step on journey to your passion.