Hackers / Founders (H/F) began as a small Meetup group in 2008. In fact, only five members attended the first meeting. But the combination of beer, burgers and shop-talk about big problems—such as launching startups and hacking the night away—proved potent. So much so, that Hackers / Founders grew to 100,000+ members in 57 cities and 26 countries in six years.
From that first meeting, H/F organizers Jonathan & Laura Nelson saw a need for an organization focused on a traditionally under-served group in Silicon Valley and abroad: early-stage entrepreneurs. No ecosystem at the time existed to assist these folks, so Hackers / Founders, Inc. was launched in 2011 as a startup dedicated to assisting other startups.
The mission resonated. In just three years, Hackers / Founders managed to accomplish more than corporate entities with budgets 10 times as large had done.
To equip founders to launch and build their businesses globally, H/F developed a range of services, resources, and activities with the sole purpose of creating more successful startups. The vast majority of our networking, speaker and hackathon events are free (seriously), and we produce free online educational content.
To provide more value to our community, H/F launched a startup-centric accelerator program called the Co‑op in 2012. Through a services-for-equity model, which cuts the costs of funding, the Co‑op provides more value than traditional venture capital models and allows founders to focus on building their companies. H/F staff get in the trenches with each startup to provide personalized attention, improving their chances of success.
Today, Hackers / Founders has become an epicenter within the entrepreneur community. H/F will continue to grow and offer more services to early-stage startup community. New chapters are opening monthly. More programming and resources (both online and offline) are being produced for founders. The Co‑op accelerator will be expanded. And so much more will be announced in the coming years. The future of early-stage entrepreneurship is bright!