How Founders dramatically improve their odds of success

Join a small, curated group of smart, motivated founders with complementary skills, who help each other develop as leaders and build kick ass companies.
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The Leaders Circle: Forged for results…

If you are an early stage founder or a first time CEO, you know that launching and scaling a business is hard. The Founder Forge’s Leaders Circles use the power of a small group of similar, high performing leaders to amplify your efforts and accelerate your personal and company goal achievement.

Who is the Leaders Circle for?

The Leaders Circles were developed for high potential founders who want to:


  • Execute more proficiently and with an increased sense of external accountability
  • Enhance their vision, strategy, & roadmap to reach their goals
  • Mitigate the sense of isolation that founders often feel when they have the burden of leadership
  • Improve their communications skills which are critical in fundraising, recruiting, and leading a team
  • Develop strategies for critical executive skills like prioritization, delegation, and project management so that they can execute effectively
  • Scale & maintain healthy operations and culture for their companies
  • Overcome obstacles that might be holding them back, like imposter syndrome, feelings of overwhelm, and skills gaps
  • Quickly get access to experience based solutions for the common founders commonly face
  • Bond with a small group of like-minded, high performing people, who each benefit from the other’s perspectives and expertise

Join a Circle. Hit your goals.

We only have a few active groups at a time and fill new groups from our candidate waiting list

The Founders Forge Leaders Circle is founder development PLUS…

  • It’s a small curated group of high potential founders giving constructive feedback and providing insights to help you grow as a leader
  • It’s a framework based series of conversations to help founders create strong company foundations, get clarity on their vision, and avoid the costly mistakes that derail most startups.
  • It’s a group that will help you see and address the gaps in your plan
  • It’s moderated by Tony Clemendor, an experienced founder, advisor, mentor, and investor

What you should expect from The Leaders Circle…

A safe space

  • The Leaders Circle is a supportive place where you can stress test and discuss ideas, strategies, pitches, and plans with a group of driven founders with varied perspectives

Backup brainpower

  • The members of your group are like an Advisory Board, giving you access to functional expertise  and useful perspectives without the need to hire or give equity

A goal orientation

  • In addition to the curriculum, the group meetings are about identifying your specific priority goals and helping you achieve them as effectively as possible

Real world solutions

  • An opportunity to hear how people solve problems that may be plaguing you now or that will be as your company grows

The Leaders Circle focuses on core elements of your founder development:

Business and Personal Clarity

Exploring the “why” to create founder resilience and focus


Prioritization and Productivity

Improve planning and execution with less stress

Overcoming Personal Obstacles

Identify and manage issues hampering growth

Personal Development Roadmap

Keep pace with the growth of your company


Influence and Communication

C-level skills for recruiting, fundraising, and leadership

Team and Culture Development

Recruit and effectively mobilize a world class team

Founder Self-Care & Support

Be at your best to perform under pressure


Difficult Conversations and Decisions

When and how to deal with hard situations

"Some things are better done alone. Starting a company ain't one of those things!"

How the Leadership Circles work

  • The groups are curated by Tony Clemendor based on criteria including personality compatibility, company stage, non-competitive businesses, and assessed potential
  • Groups have a maximum size of 8 people, to allow for deep connections, effective interactions, and the ability to address individual needs and goals
  • The group meets 2x/month.  Sessions are recorded and only accessible to members
  • Tony Clemendor leads the group and facilitates the curriculum and group interaction
  • The agenda is a hybrid of curriculum and member goals with a focus on improving member momentum and success
  • Members will establish individual goals to ensure that we remain focused on delivering meaningful results for each participant
  • Sessions are all conducted on Zoom

Grow yourself. Grow your company.

We only have a few active groups at a time and fill new groups from our candidate waiting list

Why did I create the Leaders Circle?

When I graduated from Harvard Business School, I thought I knew everything I needed to know to launch a wildly successful startup. I quickly discovered that schools were great at training people to get jobs, but less effective at teaching people how to start companies from scratch. My first company, started right after graduation, was a modest success, and each startup I started since got easier and was more successful.  By the time we sold my last startup in 2011, I’d learned a HUGE amount to simplify and demystify the process of company building.  I’m not saying that starting a company is easy, but it certainly is easier when you know how to do it well.

I created the Founders Forge and the Leadership Circle to help founders jump past a lot of the pain and expense I had after HBS trying to figure it out on my own.  Some schools have gotten better at teaching founders how to build companies, but those programs tend to be expensive and hard to get into. There are also a ton of accelerators that can help founders “learn the ropes”, but those have gotten harder to get into as well.  Some programs only accept you AFTER you’ve de-risked your business.

After we sold our company, I volunteered thousands of hours working with founders directly and through programs with First Round Capital, Backstage Capital, WeWork Labs, The Women’s Startup Labs, 500 Startups, and others.  I wanted to create something smaller and work closely with a few founders for a more custom development experience.   

The Leaders Circle was inspired by a founder peer group I moderated for a few years which was wildly successful and which showed me the advantages of founders working with, learning from, and giving input to each other in a moderated setting.  Among other things, giving feedback to others often led the participants to find new solutions to their own issues.  

In the Leaders Circle sessions, I bring what I’ve learned to each session, but not structured as a lecture. We cover important elements of company building, but the program is designed to help the participants meet their most pressing goals and overcome their specific hurdles.

Find out why so many successful, high performance founders invest in coaching

We are actively curating new groups. Complete the application to see if one of our groups is right for you. Founder coaching groups range from 4-8 people.

What founders who’ve worked with me say…

Every entrepreneur would benefit from working with Tony. He quickly understands what matters most and gets me focused. The combination of his real-world experience and empathetic listening skills make him truly unique. The benefit of the time we spent working together will extend far past the individual sessions as they effectively impacted my perspective and help develop my skills as an entrepreneur.

Tomer R

CEO, BloxTax

I didn’t realize until I was the CEO of a growth stage company how difficult it is to get straightforward and knowledgeable feedback on strategy and operations decisions. There are so many moving parts to running and growing a business that it’s easy to miss opportunities and weak spots. Tony provides critical analysis and a fresh perspective with one objective: To help me succeed.

Brian S

CEO, Blacksmith International

Tony is great! Like a seasoned spotlight operator, he sees the entire show and shines a light on the main attraction. In a land full of fluff, Tony manages to quickly cut through and bring clarity and focus to any problem at hand. I felt fired up after our first conversation and walked away with practical advice on how to take our narrative to the next level. Tony brings a great energy and remarkable depth of understanding, all wrapped up in a friendly and super helpful package.

Dmitriy P

CEO, Stitched Insights