Buckle Up for Fleet #3

Have you ever felt anxious and excited at the same time?

Well, that’s exactly how we feel at The Refiners since Fleet #3 is launching this upcoming Monday, September 18th.

Why are we anxious? We decided to do things a little different this time around and added new elements to the program that we’re sure you’ll be excited about. More on that later.

Why are we excited? To start off, we're bringing 12 new international startups to Silicon Valley and let’s just say; they're awesome.


Quick recap on Fleet #1 and Fleet #2

It’s been one year since we have begun The Refiners accelerator program and we’re happy to have been able to accelerate 25 foreign start-ups. After Fleet #3, we’ll have accelerated 37 startups in total (golf clap).

Fleet #1 and Fleet #2 have been very successful after the program. 40% of the start-ups have raised in both the U.S. and Europe with a total amount raised of $15M.

Click here to view our portfolio.


Let’s get started, shall we?

Big news – We now have 12 nationalities in the program! People are now joining The Refiners from France, Venezuela, Germany, Tunisia, USA, Algeria, England, Romania, Laos, Wales?, Vietnam and Belgium. 

This number is increasing, and we’re proud to say that The Refiners is becoming international. We’re proud of having French start-ups in The Refiners as well as applicants because that’s where we come from. But our vision is to have start-ups from all over the world. We’re here to help all foreign founders become cross-border and scale internationally.

Just about 500 applications later, it’s about to time to take these 12 fledglings under the wing and ensure they take flight by the end of our 3-month program.

Took a look at the numbers and we accepted 2.4% of all applicants. Yes, we are pretty picky.

We’re looking for ambitious people that have a technology that fits Silicon Valley and is looking to become a player in the global market. As always, we have start-ups from very early stage to start-ups with a product and making revenue. We want to stay this way because we believe in supporting all startups no matter what maturity. In fact, whether you are early-stage or more mature you all face the same challenges namely cross the cultural-chasm, increase your local network and access U.S. investors.

Fleet #3 will comprise of B2B, B2C, retail, fashion, IoT, SaaS, AI, Autonomous Vehicle, Social Networking, and more.

Now it’s your turn to get excited because it’s time to find out what we’re cookin’ in The Refiners Fleet #3.


What is The Refiners and how are we different?

Before we begin, here’s a short review about us.

With the rise of acceleration programs all over the world, it’s easy to get lost in translation. That’s why we decided to differentiate ourselves by focusing on helping only foreign start-ups interested in becoming cross-border, and that want to enter the U.S. market.

We believe that foreign founders are the backbone of Silicon Valley’s ecosystem. Our mission is to nurture these international founders by providing them with an established network upon arrival.

“Immigrant founders started 52 percent of all new Silicon Valley companies between 1995 and 2005.”

We believe that to have a scalable start-up, you MUST come to Silicon Valley. The unlimited access to Business Angels, VCs, and ideas in Silicon Valley is unheard of.

Carlos Diaz, General Partner and Co-founder of The Refiners mentioned, “You never know who you’ll be riding an UBER Pool with in San Francisco. It could be an Executive for a Tech Giant, Founder, CEO, or Senior Developer.”

This fact is the reason why Silicon Valley is so great. You can’t go anywhere else in the world and have these many “one shot” opportunities to meet someone that’ll change your startup’s life.


Program Rundown

Here’s how our 3-month program works…

240+ total hours in the program:

  • 40 Masterclasses - our way of educating and raising foreign founder’s global knowledge
  • 8 Mentor Madness sessions - you’ll increase your network by 120+ mentors and get connected right away with people in SV
  • 9 Investor Fireside Chat sessions - to connect you with investors from the U.S. and Europe
  • Unlimited access to The Refiners Partners
  • Pitch Night (our Demo Day)

We start off the first month by getting the foreign entrepreneurs immersed in the Silicon Valley culture, so they’re able to adapt quickly. We call it our “U.S. Readiness Bootcamp”.

From my experience having participated in Fleet #2, it is a complicated process at the beginning for the foreign founders. I’d say it’s a subliminal culture shock.

Yes, there are a lot of things familiar with the U.S. culture and theirs; however, there are a ton of important social cues that you’ll have to pick up ASAP as their time is limited here in San Francisco.

For example, Tristan Pollock states in his Medium post, you have to respond to an email within 24 hours or less. If people think you’re not on top of your game, they might not want to do business with you. This just one example, but trust me, there’s much more.

So how do we do this?

We do this through our amazing Refiners Network of successful foreign entrepreneurs in the Valley like Frederic Laluyaux, Jyri Engestron, Carl Fritjofsson and more, give a talk to our 30+ foreign founders on their path to success.

Heck, we’ve just added a vocal coach to the program to help our founders not with their English but with their accent!

The second month is where things get a little crazy. We focus on introducing the start-ups to The Refiners Network of world-class mentors and investors as well as articulating their startup pitch for Pitch Night (our Demo Day).

The third month is entirely dedicated to preparing the start-ups for fundraising during and after the program. We have a rule at The Refiners, if we don’t believe in your “investor readiness”, we won’t allow you to meet with them. As the start-ups progress and become investor ready, they’ll have the opportunity to meet with top-notch investors from Greylock Partners, Ignition Partners, CrunchFund, Partech Ventures, Idinvest Partners, Newfund, MicroVentures, and more.


The Refiners Network

The Refiners Network is continuously flourishing. Today, we now have over 200 mentors. In Fleet #2, we were blessed to welcome Phil Libin, Josh Elman, Marvin Liao, Fidji Simo, James Currier, Rob Lebras Brown, and Rick Marini.

In Fleet #3, we’re truly grateful to welcome Leah Busque, Christopher North, and other notable entrepreneurs here in Silicon Valley to join our Refiners Network. We’ve also added two new Partners in Fleet #3, SendPulse and Voxeet!

None of this would ever be possible without our Mentor Network, Partners, and The Refiners Community. Our family is growing, and we feel incredibly humbled by the continued introductions and support. Thank you!


Introducing Fleet #3

489 went through the first selection filter, and we ended up with 12 amazing projects. Out of the 12 startups, the average investment is $75k and the average participation 5.7% in equity.

All of them are now waiting to take off September 18th in San Francisco, and we are thrilled to introduce them to you today: 

AbeCMS is disrupting the CMS market by crushing the time you need to deliver content to customers.

Arise disrupts the Priceline & Expedia duopoly of the online travel booking space by decentralizing hotel room inventory on the blockchain.

Comete brings long-term retention for SaaS applications.

Dresslife is an intelligent fashion shopping solution that finds what fits and looks good on your body - before you do.

Glo provides personalized makeup inspiration, empowering people to feel beautiful everyday.

Lovebox develops connected devices that create happiness and bring people closer together.

Merito is bringing a new kind of information in the recruitment process. Now, you hire the right person for the right reasons.

See Fashion
See Fashion is an AI-powered product recommendations and business intelligence for fashion retailers.

Shone retrofits existing cargo ships with autonomous and remote control technologies.

TimeFunding brings value to time, by creating the new currency between Mentors and Startups, on a blockchain.

Tutti makes video clips to avoid the gap between virtual and reality dating.

We make hardware design as simple as software development.

For all reasons above, it’s time to kick off another enjoyable program with Fleet #3. As you can tell, we’re very excited, and we’re sure you are too. We also encourage those with the time, expertise, and inspiration to join us. Please drop us a line if you’d like to be involved! We always have room for help!


  • 489 applications received
  • 12 startups selected
  • $75,000 on average invested in each startup
  • 5.7% on average of equity taken
  • +240 hr  program curriculum
  • +200 individual coach, mentor and investor meetings
  • Sept 18th:  Start date
  • Oct 4th:  Meet the Fledglings in Fleet #3
  • Nov 16th:  Pitch Night
  • Dec 6th:  Investor Winter Party