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Frequently Asked Questions

You’ve got questions, we’ve got the answers

1. What is a startup foundry?

In short, it’s a place that builds startups from the ground up. Several such foundries exist around the world with different approaches. TandemLaunch is a startup foundry that builds deep-technology startups by constructing a venture idea around high impact academic research, assembling a team of founders, injecting a significant amount of capital and then accelerating the growth of the venture until it is ready to spin out of TandemLaunch and become an independent company.

2. Where do you get your venture ideas?

We have an expansive network in the consumer technology industry that we use to identify challenges that, when solved, will create meaningful impact in large consumer markets. Armed with these problem statements, our venture team scouts for academic research at world-class institutions to solve them. When we locate those solutions, we’re ready to build a team to make them a reality! At any given time, the venture team has a trove of potential ventures waiting for the right people to realize them.

3. So how do you recruit a team?

We run an Entrepreneur-In-Residence program (or EiR Program for short) that accepts aspiring business, product and technical leaders and prepares them to become founders and key executives in our ventures. If you think you have what it takes, check out our EiR Application page!

4. Do I need to have my own idea to join?

No! We do not expect candidates to come with their own idea. We source venture ideas from an expansive network of industry leaders in consumer technology and a global network of academic research institutions.

5. What if I have my own idea? Or have my own team?

That’s great, but unfortunately, we do not fund ventures that were not built with us from the ground up. We source venture ideas from an expansive network of industry leaders in consumer technology and a global network of academic research institutions. Although ideas are welcome, EiRs are expected to browse and select one of our sourced ideas to create a venture.

Applicants to the EiR Program are reviewed as individuals, and teams are assembled (by TandemLaunch) based on the complementary strengths of our EiRs.

6. Wait, TandemLaunch is in Montreal? Does that mean I have to live there to be an EiR?

Yes, founders must be in Montreal and work at the TandemLaunch offices for the creation and incubation period of the company. Our extraordinary rate of success getting ventures to follow on financing hinges on our ability to provide responsive daily hands-on mentorship and operational support. That said, our EiRs come from all walks of life and from all over the world. We can provide a great deal of assistance with immigration and relocation matters.

7. I’ve never considered myself an entrepreneur, will I make a good EiR?

While entrepreneurship experience is of great value for an EiR, many of our best candidates had never considered a career as an entrepreneur before they discovered TandemLaunch. We have no expectations on your knowledge of business or startups prior to your joining the EiR Program – that’s what the program is for! Rather, we are looking for the following:

  • Confident, hands-on expertise in a technical field relevant to consumer technologies.
  • Clear and influential communicators who can champion their ideas to different audiences.
  • A maker’s attitude to getting things done.
  • Critical and creative thinkers who work well in team environments.
  • Self-motivated, hard-working individuals who thrive in ambiguous environments and aspire to lead in an ambitious and rapidly growing company.
8. What makes you different from other Venture Capital funds/Incubators/Accelerators/Foundries?

For starters, not many VC funds build their own companies. As both a startup foundry and a VC fund, we can create an opportunity for aspiring leaders to become entrepreneurs when they don’t have an idea or a team.

Second, we work on some of the hardest technological problems known to the industry. We embrace technical risk because we understand that solving these problems will have a material impact on the way we live our lives. Technical leads join us because they get to overcome real scientific challenges and immediately get to see the results of that work on the real world. Product and Business leads join us because the effects of the technologies we build are far reaching and global in scale.

9. I’m not quite finished my graduate degree, can I still apply?

Yes! Depending on the stage that you’re at in wrapping up your graduate degree we can formulate a way for you to navigate smoothly into the EiR program. Let us know your situation and our venture team will advise you on the best way forward.

10. Do I get any say in how the team assembles?

Absolutely! We’re under no delusion that we can force people to work together. The early stages of the EiR program are a matchmaking process for individuals to find each other and build mutual respect and trust based on merit and accomplishment.

11. What happens if my venture fails?

While we have a very high success rate getting our ventures to follow-on financing, startups are inherently risky endeavors. We make every conceivable effort to get our companies across the line, but sometimes it wasn’t meant to be. If your venture fails, we all have a little cry, dissolve the venture and then move on to the next entrepreneurial endeavor (perhaps even together!). Even if you don’t choose to continue in the world of startups, an entrepreneurial journey of the kind we provide (successful or not) has an enormously positive impact on your value as an industry professional.

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