Announcing the Graduates of Founder Gym’s Inaugural Cohort

Mandela SH Dixon
Feb 13, 2018 · 7 min read

On August 4, 2017, I purchased the domain

On November 8, 2017, Founder Gym made its public debut.

On January 1, 2018, Cohort 1 launched.

We’ve been moving fast, and we’ve been making waves. In just 3 weeks, we received nearly 200 applications from every continent (except Antartica — anyone know founders out there?), and during our first quarter of operation, we received some incredible press coverage (shoutout to Megan Rose Dickey at TechCrunch for kicking things off).

Through it all, we’ve never taken our eyes off our goal:

Create the best online training center for underrepresented tech startup founders.

Ultimately, 26 founders from four continents were admitted into Founder Gym’s inaugural cohort. Here’s a snapshot of who they are:


  • 42% men


  • 23% Asian
  • 19% White
  • 15% Latinx
  • 4% Middle Eastern
  • 4% Pacific Islander


  • 38% in their 30s
  • 27% over age 40


  • 16% outside the U.S. (South America, Africa, and Europe)

Company stage

  • 44% have a product that is in private beta
  • 17% have a product that is in development

Over the span of four weeks, these founders completed a rigorous training regiment that included expert trainings, personal trainings, accountability groups, and a strength and conditioning program. By the end of the cohort, the graduates were equipped with the knowledge, network, and know-how to successfully navigate their fundraising journey.

It is with great honor, that we are proud to announce…

The Graduates of Founder Gym Cohort 1

Amy Nelson, Founder of The Riveter

LinkedIn | Twitter

Al Nolan, Founder of Notearise

LinkedIn | Twitter

Arjita Sethi, Founder of

LinkedIn | Twitter

John Barrera, Founder of Rybot

LinkedIn | Twitter

Charu Sharma, Founder of Next Play

LinkedIn | Twitter

Darian Edwards, Founder of Stack

LinkedIn | Twitter

Eman Abouelatta, Founder of Quirkpod

LinkedIn | Twitter

Josh Josue, Founder of Bibky

LinkedIn | Twitter

Illana Milkes, Founder of World Tech Makers

LinkedIn | Twitter

Irving Chin, Founder of Tassel Software

LinkedIn | Twitter

Sevetri Wilson, Founder of ExemptMeNow

LinkedIn | Twitter

Julia Winter, Founder of Alchemie

LinkedIn | Twitter

Kyle Miller, Founder of Foodease

LinkedIn | Twitter

Laura Wittig, Founder of The Brightly

LinkedIn | Twitter

Luis Bermudez, Founder of TechFit

LinkedIn | Twitter

Michelle Bonat, Founder of Data Simply

LinkedIn | Twitter

Paris Petgrave, Founder of We Love Work

LinkedIn | Twitter

Rick James Chatas, Founder of FriendFund

LinkedIn | Twitter

Robert Dates, Founder of Yaheard

LinkedIn | Twitter

Shani Dowell, Founder of Possip

LinkedIn | Twitter

Sunny Washington, Founder of Because Learning

LinkedIn | Twitter

Susan Sierota, Founder of Waggit

LinkedIn | Twitter

Tammy Kwan, Founder of Cognitive ToyBox

LinkedIn | Twitter

Tashoma Vilini, Founder of Nitrate

LinkedIn | Twitter

Tunji Williams, Founder of dealWIP

LinkedIn | Twitter

Xiaohoa Michelle Ching, Founder of Literator

LinkedIn | Twitter

Go here to read testimonials from the FG Graduates

Thank you to the Cohort 1 Trainers

Founder Gym Cohort 1 Expert Trainers pictured left to right: Mitch Kapor, Charles Hudson, and Ellen Pao

7 venture capitalists and 7 venture-backed founders graciously contributed their time and expertise to train the founders, and we’d like to recognize them for their incredible contributions.

Venture Capitalists

Charles Hudson, Precursor Ventures

Ellen Pao, Kapor Capital

Shauntel Poulson, Reach Capital

Marlon Nichols, Cross Culture Ventures

Amit Patel, Owl Ventures

Carolina Huaranca, Kapor Capital

Venture-Backed Founders

Ryan Williams, Jopwell

Jess Gartner, Allovue

Mike Teng, Swing Education

Laura I. Gomez, Atipica

Michael Perry, Kit powered by Shopify

Adam Stelle, Loftium

Become a Cohort Member! Apply at Founder Gym

Share This Opportunity

Get Involved

Follow us on Social Media


Stories that highlight the next generation of successful…

Medium is an open platform where 170 million readers come to find insightful and dynamic thinking. Here, expert and undiscovered voices alike dive into the heart of any topic and bring new ideas to the surface. Learn more

Follow the writers, publications, and topics that matter to you, and you’ll see them on your homepage and in your inbox. Explore

If you have a story to tell, knowledge to share, or a perspective to offer — welcome home. It’s easy and free to post your thinking on any topic. Write on Medium

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store