GradeSlam has been hand-picked to participate in Real Ventures Accelerator Program, FounderFuel. Over the next three months, the GradeSlam Team will be taking part in FounderFuel, an intensive, mentor-driven program aimed at helping startups grow and succeed. GradeSlam’s CEO has decided to chronicle his experience in FounderFuel, so stay tuned over the next 90 days and get a feel for the startup life!

Thoughts on Day 1 from the Founder & CEO of GradeSlam, Phil Cutler:

The first events were slated to begin at 10AM - we were scheduled to have a team meeting at 9AM.

At 8AM, I was locked outside the Notman House building without a key or access. I waited around until someone showed up and was able to get access. The first hurdle was overcome. Now the fun starts.

Things were not quite as hectic as I thought - it was actually quite organized. Having been in Notman House many times, I had a good idea where to go and where we were going to be. It was great to see so many different companies in our cohort ready to work hard!

At 8:30AM we had an interview for one of the positions we are filling. We have a number of jobs open so if you are interested in working with us, keep your eyes open. Strong candidate - can’t divulge much more than that.

There was a formal introduction to the program with Sylvain Carle where he explained some of the details and the general expectations of FounderFuel.

Next Alex Shea broke down a comprehensive Competitive Analysis presentation. It really got me going. I’m a competitive person, and thinking about competitors gets my heart rate up. This was probably my highlight of the day.

After a brief lunch were the introductory pitches.

Our pitch got absolutely ripped at the intro Pitch Competition. We followed the guidelines the program had recommended, but in retrospect we should have stuck with our original pitch before changing the style and structure (there's me pitching below).

After the pitch competition, each member of the audience was able to “invest” 100k of fake dollars in 50k increments. GradeSlam raised its first 350k (3rd most of all the companies).

Truthfully, I think we will be under the microscope an enormous amount. We have a huge market opportunity and if we aren't successful (in both their eyes and our eyes) it will be due to horrible execution, which ultimately reflects on me.

The office spaces were very small for our team of six and we are growing quickly, but luckily there are other spaces to work in the building.

Our business and team are pretty accustomed to working at an incredibly high pace and under a lot of pressure - my expectations are always high, and I’m rarely (never?) fully satisfied. FounderFuel will be a test of this and hopefully will bring us to a whole new speed.

General Mood: 6/10 (average)

Fatigue: 2/10 (not tired)

Daily Progress: 3/10 (minimal *too much time spent on administrative tasks)

Team Size: 6

Want to read more? Check out Phil's thoughts on FounderFuel Day 2.