Unreasonable Institute – a sprint incubator for social entrepreneurs

Agile City - Unreasonable Insitute

Agile City has been researching start-up events, workshops and extended incubator programmes that have been developed to encourage innovation and the quick testing of ideas as a means of developing wider networks and teams. We are interested in how these processes and formats can be adapted to develop cultural and community projects.

Founded in Boulder, Colorado, USA, the Unreasonable Institute is the initiative of a groups of young post-grads with a high social conscious. It aims to enhance and amplify the impact of social entrepreneurship by providing a “bootcamp for entrepreneurs” with bespoke mentors and workshops.

After identifying entrepreneurs with the potential to address problems like poverty, lack of education and social injustice at scale, the process provides them with mentors, funders, and partners as well as workshops to help expand their impact and extend their reach. The Unreasonable Institute gathers 10-20 entrepreneurs and places them within a house for 4-5 weeks where they receive training from world-class mentors ranging from the chairman of the Board at Whole Foods, to the former head of user experience at Google X, to an entrepreneur who’s enabled over 20 million farmers to move out of poverty. In the process, they form relationships with Financial Architects and Capital Partners who help them prepare for fundraising.

Alumni of the Unreasonable Institute are also eligible to attend the Unreasonable Investor Days which provides a platform to connect with more than 100 potential funders in person, with the view to unlock capital and progress the ambitious aims of the entrepreneurs.

They also created the Unreasonable Labs, which are five-day accelerators for early-stage entrepreneurs tackling the world’s most pressing social and environmental challenges — sort of a miniature version of the Institute. They focus on certain subjects of things taught at the Institute (for example, business model validation and investment readiness). The Unreasonable Labs, being more suitable to progress, has started to expand into several countries. Each Lab team enlists their city, country, or region’s highest potential entrepreneurs to brings them together with world-class mentors and funders.

If you want to know more there are some examples of projects supported by The Unreasonable Institute here.

All pictures/screenshots are from the Unreasonable Institute website.


In a previous post, we looked at Y-Combinator, the Silicon Valley-based seed-funding programme that gave birth to companies such as Reddit, Airbnb and Dropbox. Read our article here. There are some interesting parallels between Y-Combinator and the Unreasonable Institute and we are interested in how these models could potentially be applied to urban initiatives.