I have participated in the FI program in Silicon Valley with founder Adeo Ressi. This program focussed on the earliest stage of company formation. Most incubators focus exclusively on later stages particularly after you have at least introduce the product to market.
If you're an entrepreneur with just an idea and you're really trying to determine whether it's worth pursuing as a start up or not, if you are trying to determine if you are the kind of person who would be happy and successful as an entrepreneur, or trying to determine how to put together your company to develop your idea and bring a first product to market, this accelerator can be of immense help. Because for most people, most ideas, and most potential products, the answer is you will fail. And it's better to go and discover this quickly before you've invested too much time, effort and money.
Founder Institute's program will help you determine that extremely quickly. This is the reason for the large drop out rate, because for most people once they understand everything that is involved and the problems with their idea, or their product, or their team, they want to rethink it. It is saving a lot of people from making big mistakes. Those who continue to complete the course have a much better than average chance of success, having been forced to quickly address and overcome many of the stumbling blocks that kill companies.
This program is all about failing fast and learning from early cheap failures so that if you survive this Darwinian fitness selection many of the problems that kill companies in their first 3 years are already behind you.
Those who drop out are encouraged to explore other ideas and then return and complete the course in a future session with their new idea or company. There were several 2nd timers in my cohort, and you could see the difference in the maturity of their thinking, which they attributed to learning in their first time experience.
Some first time founders have mistaken notions of the glamor of entrepreneurship.This is not the place to go to hear inspiring speeches on how anyone with any crazy idea can become the next Facebook unicorn and make you wealthy beyond your wildest dreams. More founders wind up broke than rich. The FI program is all about all facing the hard grunt work, stress and disappointment that is 90% of every founders day that you take on in spite of long odds of success, because you are internally driven to do it anyway.
You are discouraged from focussing on imagining possible sets of circumstances under which you might succeed; any creative person can imagine such possibilities. You are encouraged to find all the reasons to kill your idea, because most will not survive to go to market stage. Many entrepreneurs are not ready or not wanting that experience of heating their idea and themselves to their breaking point and then being drenched with cold water reality. This tempering process is another reason for drop outs in the program. But do that quickly and you can restart quickly till you get it right. By having taken your idea through that forged in fire testing, you can be confident it can be developed to a point of at least modest success.
Other incubators don't do this, but then they often make sure you are already past all those stumbling blocks before accepting a company. They risk less; You might just hear "you are too early". Which is nice and polite but not helpful. FI is the one accelerator that will let you start before you are even sure what your idea is.
I know about the program held in Silicon Valley and in San Francisco and I know that many of the mentors and leaders from here in Silicon Valley travel to many of the distant cities. I do not know the specifics and quality of the program in London. But if it is anything like the program in Silicon Valley the quality of the mentors that you will meet in the program is exceptional.
While there may be many other ways to meet them if you are not meeting such mentors, enrolling in this program is one way to ensure that you get their help. Their help will be worth the time and money that you spend in this program. If you don't pursue the program, pursue those mentors independently, because there is real gold for you in their help.
If you complete the program you will also have a stake in the success of all the other participants in the session which is a form of risk diversification and shared upside opportunity. That is when you will most appreciate the drop out rate, as those dropouts were low chance of success gompanies that would otherwise dilute your share in the successes.