An invite-only Founder Foundry for the next generation of startup leaders

A common job for us at Main Sequence is finding leaders for the deep tech companies that we are founding or helping spin out of research organisations.

These people need to be impossibly experienced — probably as a business leader in a sector (such as the food industry or energy) and yet also understand the entrepreneur’s task.

What does that feel like? Why is it not the same as being an employee?

We are putting together an invite-only ‘Founder Foundry’ to support this. As we meet talented individuals who need experience in the founder seat, we put them through this program to make it explicit and measurable.

What happens in Founder Foundry?

  • Placement as a leader in an existing portfolio company. The focus is on bringing their current experience in as ‘advantage’ for the company.
  • Explicit inclusion in founder situations. Investor pitches, board meetings, planning sessions. ‘Doing’ as well as ‘Observing’. Into the fray.
  • Monthly forum with others going through the program to explore challenges.
  • Assignment to mentoring teams in accelerators or at earlier stages in general to build their toolkit for unblocking things.
  • Working on their ideas in collaboration with investors at Main Sequence

This is not a 3-month program. It takes years.

What is the relationship with the CEO?

This is a bit weird at first for the CEO of the host company. We are placing people who we know are going to leave.

But isn’t that always the case? Great talent leaves eventually, and our job is to help them reach the next step.

Now we do it together.

And perhaps the company they create in the future will be helpful to the host company.

The most challenging job for the CEO is to step back enough to put the new founder into the fray. You can’t understand being a founder unless something is at stake.

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Phil Morle

Phil Morle

Deep tech VC — Main Sequence Ventures. Ecosystem builder. Maker. Director. Startup Scientist.