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About Us

We are bringing Silicon Valley know-how to the world.


See what our teams say about the experience.


What’s special about our young innovators and their companies?


Learn how we collaborate with universities around the world.

Early believers has developed a new model for building and funding important world changing companies. Every year we choose 50 of the most innovative startups from universities around the world and award them each up to $100K. We then work intensely with each team for 12 months to build a sustainable foundation for growth based on our company building science. But our relationship doesn’t end there, we lead Seed and Series A rounds in promising teams. Alongside funding, our alumni network of the smartest young innovators on the planet continues to help long into the future.

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"From our first interaction, believed we could transform industrial automation by taking a radical approach to smart sensors. With their support, we are on our way to enabling billions of intelligence machines to act autonomously."

- Andreas Kunze, Konux
caption imageAndreas Kunze from Konux, creators of the smart sensor for industrial automation

An extraordinary experience


Connor Landgraf, Eko Devices

It’s so much more than just 12 months at, it’s a relationship. It continues on after that one year as you continue to learn, grow and get mentored by the people who supported you from the very beginning. They have seen us at our best and our worst and everything in between — and have always been incredibly supportive. That’s really a part of the relationship, not just being the first believers, but understanding the whole life cycle of the company, all the challenges and triumphs.

Kimberly Gordon

Kimberly Gordon, Depict

It is rare to get devoted attention and mentorship from such successful innovators and investors. The 8D system has enabled us to learn how to hire A Players and build a solid operating plan. is so much more than just access to funding. Working with Michael and the team has been amazing. Their organized approach to guiding us through our day to day and longer term challenges is something every new company needs. They are always focused on opportunities and growth in our business and have been since our earliest days.


Pascal Blum, Unu Motors has not only been one of our earliest investors, but also our closest partner in building Unu from a small development workshop to an international mobility company. Their holistic approach and understanding for each stage of the business were essential for us as first-time founders and we would not be where we are without Just as important as our professional relationship, we can call Michael and the entire team our trusted friends and can recommend working with them to every founder.


"I have never been part of a smarter, more passionate and genuinely helpful peer network. I don't know how they do it, but finds the best and brightest innovators on the planet."

- Matthew Steelmaker, Poly6
caption imageMatthew Stellmaker is is with Poly6 which turns citrus rind waste into high performance plastics

World changing companies

We believe young innovators and their radical approaches to solving important problems will create a better future for us all. The startup world is obsessed with short term success, but solving important problems takes time. focuses on innovations that will have a real impact on our world. We’re helping the most promising young innovators get their ideas out into the wild and supporting their growth into sustainable companies. Our focus isn’t on a particular industry, but on the important problems facing our world today and into the future.

Meet Our Companies


"The FOUNDER team pushed us from the beginning to dream bigger, take more risks and challenge the ophthalmology industry. Now our mobile device is delivering instant digital vision correction to patients in first world and developing countries."

- Yaopeng Zhou, Smart Vision Labs
caption imageYaopeng Zhou of Smart Vision Labs, the digital ophthalmology company

Run by Silicon Valley innovators


Billion dollar companies in Silicon Valley. Been there and done that. Now we’re giving back to the next generation. Each of us is a hands on executive mentor working with a small number of teams. We bring our experience in technology, products, teams, business models, market and customer development, operations and fundraising to help young innovators bring their world changing ideas to life.

Meet Our Team


I kid you not, Michael Baum knows how to build a great team. He did it as Splunk and now again at and this time, he's putting his weight behind some of the best ideas I've ever seen.

— Lindsay Stewart, Stringr
caption imageLindsay Stewart with Stringr which allows anyone with a smartphone to become a video news provider

At a university near you is on campus at more than 70 schools around the world. Students, recent alumni and faculty from these universities can apply to work with us. We also collaborate with campus innovation and entrepreneurial societies (e.g. clubs, incubators and competitions) to advance their missions. Our goal is to significantly increase the number of young innovators who pursue their passions and improve their odds of creating world changing companies.

Our Universities


" has been a game-changing opportunity for our NYU teams. With the chance to be guided by top-notch mentors and be part of an elite global network of university startups, there's simply nothing else like it."

— Cynthia Franklin, New York University
caption imageCynthia Franklin is Professor of Entrepreneurship, Berkley Center, New York University

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