F is for Furqan

How a Y Combinator funded fighting game robot smashed open the door to F.Inc

I first met Furqan when Scott and I were tangled in the weeds of a nightmarish networking problem. We needed to livestream multiple avatars — a frog named Stormcroak and a battle-rapping cat, remotely piloted by two high school interns across the country — out to Twitch with no latency.

You don’t build the next version of the WWE for esports without hilarious problems like these.

One of the benefits of getting a rocket boost from Y Combinator – the same investors who funded Twitch – was that we were usually just a phone call away from meeting people who worked there. Furqan had just sold his company to Twitch (Bebo, which they acquired to build their esports platform), and before you knew it we were drinking coffee outside on a sunny San Francisco day, talking about how the next Pixar was probably not going to look like a movie studio.

Neuralis, our first virtual influencer. We eventually pivoted away from this concept after 18 months - a story for another post - but not before he got sponsored by Reebok!

One sign I know I’m going to like another founder: when they explain that their life goal is to build an app so popular that they could ride a bus in Thailand and be able to watch a person happily using it on their phone. One sign I know I’ll like talking to an investor: when they’re as interested in what I learned from my journey playing high stakes poker as they are in what I’m building right now. Furqan checked both boxes; not only did he help us figure out our absolutely psychotic technical pipeline, but he also became one of our first angel investors and a good friend.

Furqan is, in my mind, the ultimate startup builder, and of all the founders and investors I met in San Franciso, he’s often the guy I ask first for advice.

I share all of this context because when Furqan told me he was starting a founder community — his version of YC — I was in even before he mentioned that he’s assembling the greatest roboticists, AR/VR tinkerers, crypto builders, AI addicts, and climate technologists in the world. It’s been about a year since he soft-launched the Founders Inc. Discord, and I’ve had a courtside seat to some rim-rattling startup moments. I’ve seen founders get into Y Combinator. I've watched others raise millions of dollars off of a single viral tweet. Still more have pivoted from dead ideas, launched new products, and found product-market fit.

Our whole team doesn’t even have a private Slack or Discord, we just work inside f.inc. And this fall it’s opening the doors on a physical location — the Lab — that will be as epic as it is inspiring.

Exterior shots of f.inc Lab. Fort Mason > Miami.

I started out thinking I’d write this post about Heroic Story — the multiplayer, NFT-generating writing game we're building to disrupt the creator economy  — and how f.inc helped us move fast, ship, and ultimately invalidate and say goodbye to our first idea in order to discover the right one.

But to join me on that adventure, you first really need to understand Furqan, how much of a badass he is, and what he’s capable of building.

He only dreams big.

If you dream big too, come join us.


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