Not yet sure if you should apply? Here are some frequently asked questions and answers that may help you decide.


1Do I have to give up equity to participate?
No. Your participation in Founder Catalyst does not require you to give up any equity and is free of any fees on your part. Founder Catalyst is made possible by a partnership between Ministry of Awesome, Ara Institute of Canterbury (now part of Te Pūkenga), and ChristchurchNZ with sponsorship from Callaghan Innovation and support from many local, regional, and national organisations.
2Do I receive any funding or investment by participating?
No. There is no grant or investment funding included with your participation. One of the reasons the programme focuses on fundraising, among other important topics such as market and globalisation, is to help participating companies secure the capital they need to proceed to the next phase.
3Do I have to be in Christchurch to participate?
No. Many of our founders who are based outside of Ōtautahi Christchurch choose to relocate for the region’s benefits and to experience the camaraderie of the cohort, but no one is required to move and all elements of the programme can be delivered virtually.
4When do the cohorts start?
We have four cohorts per year, roughly coinciding with each of the calendar seasons, avoiding the school holiday periods as much as possible: Winter – June, Spring – October, Summer – February, Autumn – April. While we have firm kickoff and end dates, we understand everyone’s life is different and try to meet you where you’re at as much as possible. When in doubt, talk to us about your situation. And should a given cohort not work for you, there’s always the next one!
5Do you have a Demo Day?
Yes. We are continually experimenting with Demo Day frequency and format, and as of the writing of this page, we have a Demo Day every other cohort, serving both of the previous two cohorts. This event is all about celebration, highlighting the work the founders and companies have done while a part of the programme.
6Do I need to be a technology company to be accepted?
No. We admit companies into the programme that have innovative, scalable products, services, and business models. Many of these companies do have a software or hardware component because of the market interest and likelihood to scale and grow internationally.
7What if I only have an idea? Can I apply?
Anyone is welcome to apply, but we prioritize companies that have demonstrated traction over those with just ideas. Traction may be a minimum viable product (MVP), demonstrated sales/customer commitment, or other forms of market validation. While this is not an exhaustive list, these examples help us determine the global potential of your problem and solution and your commitment to the venture you’ve begun and the long road ahead.
8Can I apply if I’ve already raised money?
Yes. Founder Catalyst is about moving you onward and upward no matter where you are in your entrepreneurial journey. For companies that have already raised capital or have significant revenues, we will focus on your next immediate goals whether that’s hiring, creating a board, expanding into new markets, launching new products, raising more capital, or something else altogether.