The Refiners is back in session for Fleet #5

We’re sure a ton of you have been wondering what’s been cookin’ at The Refiners lately. Aside from our alumni companies raising millions to product launches and business partnerships over the summer, school is back in session with our next group of companies in Fleet #5.

But first, please take a look at this awesome boomerang of Fleet #5…

The Refiners Fleet #5

The Refiners Fleet #5

In order to secure this wonderful group of foreign entrepreneurs, our General Partners (Carlos Diaz, Geraldine Le Meur, Pierre Gaubil) personally interviewed 400+ startups to end up accepting 11 startups to join our seed accelerator in San Francisco.

If you’re only finding out about The Refiners now, we are more than a basic accelerator model. We designed a program focused purely on companies with foreign founders.


We believe entrepreneurs deserve an equal shot in Silicon Valley regardless of their origin. We recognize that innovation is everywhere and not just in the U.S.

But we are aware that if you want to make a global impact, you must make your imprint in Silicon Valley’s ecosystem as soon a possible. But this is a daunting task for immigrant founders because of the enormous cultural gap, fierce competition, and absence of their own network with the local community.

That’s why we exist as a company. We exist to give foreign entrepreneurs a landing platform including an established network upon arrival. Our network consists of over 300 Silicon Valley’s finest experts and investors who have joined forces to select, advise, and invest in the world’s most promising startups.

Before we get to the nitty and gritty, let’s talk a little about some success stories from our alumni companies over the summer.

Quick alumni update

Now that we have helped 48 startups to date, we are having more and more big news to share every month. But for the sake of this post, we’ll sum them up for you.

  • Alumni startups were hella busy this summer raising an aggregate total of $5.2m

    • Adok (raised $1m) — Adok turns any surface into a digital interface.

    • Inmemori (raised $2.5m) — InMemori is a digital service that helps grieving families gather their community to celebrate and remember their loved ones together.

    • Snipfeed (raised $200k) — Snipfeed is a recommendation system product based on AI, which recommends instructive, personalized information to users through chat.

    • Wisebatt (raised $1.5m) — Wisebatt is a unique simulation platform for electronic engineers developing IoT devices

  • Summer seemed like the right time for these Fleet #4 to launch their products:

    • Heroes — Heroes helps recent grads find their first job or internship using a 60 second video pitch with their mobile app.

    • Satochi — Invests your spare change in a managed portfolio of digital currencies.

    • Veamly — Veamly is your priority workspace across your collaboration tools.

  • Heroes launched on Product Hunt and was voted #1 Product of the Day (921 upvotes)

  • Tempow is bringing Tempow Audio Profile (TAP), installed in Motorola’s Moto X4, to TVs and set-top boxes

That’s a quick summary of how our alumni companies have been comin’ in hot this summer break. Now let’s talk Fleet #5...

Hello, Fleet #5

Last program marked a proud moment in our program sparking interest from startups from all over the globe, 11 nationalities in Fleet #4.

Guess what? We’ve grown even more.

In Fleet #5, we are proud to welcome international entrepreneurs with 17 nationalities -- Belgian, British, Canadian, Czech, English, French, Finnish, Irish, Israeli, Polish, Romanian, Russian, Spanish, Swiss, Tunisian, Ukrainian, and American.

In addition to the diversity of the group, there is wide range of diversity in industries as well. This batch we are diving into projects in 3D Tech, Autonomous Tech, Beauty Tech, FinTech, Food Tech, eSports, Health and Wellness, HR, Maps Tech, and Open Source.

All right, Ladies and gentlemen. It’s time to publicly announce the companies in The Refiners Fleet #5!

  1. Aware — Platform as a Service for infrastructure monitoring combining 3D imaging, mesh networking and machine learning.

  2. Dunforce — Dunforce brings smart automation to the cash collection process so SMBs never face unpaid invoices.

  3. Elsi — We combat the rise of skin sensitivity by developing clean, science-backed products that respect our skin’s natural ecosystem

  4. Okaya — A marketplace using biometrics and environmental analysis to monitor a user’s fatigue in real-time and match them with the most appropriate wellbeing professionals.

  5. Ovio — We empower change-makers by accelerating tech volunteering and connecting big ideas to the skills they need to succeed.

  6. PocketConfidant — A digital confidant that brings clarity and perspective to people’s daily decisions.

  7. Pona — Connecting families through a marketplace for home-cooked food.

  8. Trailze — Trailze starts where Google Maps ends, creating the first Outdoor Mobility layer for solution developers. 

  9. Wild AI — Wild AI empowers humans to reach their goals.

  10. Workali — Workali uses artificial intelligence to ease and improve the job search experience. We are a new kind of Careers page that engages, filters and organizes applicants.

  11. Zar — Zar helps eSport gamers improve while they play thanks to actionable insights and in-game guidance powered by machine learning.

The Refiners Program

Our program is broken into three parts: Silicon Valley acclimation, network building, and fundraising. Take a look at what this batch will learn in an accelerated speed in their program.

  • 32 Mentor Masterclasses — to educate and raise global knowledge

  • 9 Fireside Chats — open conversation with high-profile executives, entrepreneurs, and industry experts

  • 6 Investor Grills — group sessions grilling the startups like a real investor meeting

  • 7 Investor Panels — Gathering 35 investors (VCs or Angel Investors) on a panel to offer constructive perspective in an intimate and open environment

  • 7 Office Hour Sessions — 2hr sessions with industry experts during the program

  • 6 hours of accent reduction coaching — to improve the CEO’s pitch delivery

  • Unlimited access to The Refiners Partners

  • Pitch Night aka Demo Day open to the public

The first few weeks of the program focuses on getting the founders acclimated with Silicon Valley. We do this by helping the founders unlearn what they’ve learned in their home countries. To bolster this uneasy transition with Mentor Masterclasses from foreign experts like Jeremiah Owyang, Pascal Brochier, Rob Lebras Brown, and Romain Serman.

Special shoutout to our newest masterclass mentors in Fleet #5: Alex Dayon, Ben Larson, Denis Vacher, Elizabeth Yin, Julia Horiuchi, Liran Rosenfeld, Marcus Tallhamn, Mark Charkin, Michelle Paitich, Sean Ho Lee, Sophie Durey, and Quang Hoang.

One month two, we redirect our focus on growing each company’s network by introducing them with the right industry leaders and experts to advise and help their business. More importantly, mentors who, at most times, are foreign themselves so are able to connect instantly with the founders in our program.

Finally, for the third and final month, we assess each company’s fundability to ensure they’re investor ready. Before month three hits, we had the honor of having institutional investors and business angels host masterclasses on fundraising. In addition, we host weekly events where startups have mini demo days in front of a panel of investors including such funds as Cota Capital, Hewlett Packard Ventures, Ridge Ventures, Creandum, Newfund Capital, Bee Partners, YesVC, and more.

Feelin’ FOMO?

Totally understandable.

Good news is, you’ll have a chance to meet the startups too!

Join us at our program’s finale event, Pitch Night, on Dec. 6th at Parisoma in San Francisco. For those who don’t know, Pitch Night is our accelerator Demo Day, and it’s open to our lovely supports and general public.

Want in? Subscribe to our mailing list below, and an invite will be sent straight to your inbox soon.

Want to be involved in our program?

The Refiners cannot do this alone, nor do we want to. That’s where you, our valued and respected community, come into play. We want to encourage those with the time, expertise and motivation, to join us and give foreign founders the best Silicon Valley has to offer.

Please drop us a line if you’d like to be involved. From kindergarten to corporate, there’s always a way to help. Thank you for promoting opportunity and equality in the startup ecosystem. We’re also here to answer any questions you have, just post it in a comment below!

Important dates and details

  • 400+ applications received

  • 11 startups selected

  • $50,000–$100,000 invested in each startup

  • 200+hr program curriculum

  • Oct. 1st: Program launch

  • Oct. 10th:  Mentor Mixer Private Party

  • Dec. 6th: Pitch Night

  • Dec. 21st: Program concludes