No Paine, no gain

They also get to meet at least 40 start-up mentors, including founders of successful start-ups and angel investors.

In its previous run last year, 40 people were chosen to join the programme from a pool of 118 applicants.

Mr Paine whittled the number who would eventually graduate from the programme down to 16.

"We tend to kick people out quite quickly at the start if their ideas are not up to scratch... In this new round, I plan to be a lot stricter," he said, describing the process as "tough and rigorous".

Without guidance or mentorship, aspiring start-up founders often waste a lot of time on unfeasible ideas and "hitting walls", said Mr Paine.

"The most important factor is the quality of their ideas - many founders don't have ideas that are marketable or they don't think big enough."

About 40 companies - two of which Mr Paine personally invested in - have been launched by graduates of the previous five Founder Institute Singapore sessions.

Applicants are required to fill in an online form and complete a 45-minute admissions test which identifies entrepreneurial personality traits.

The programme costs $1,000. Those interested can go to to file their applications. The closing date is May 5.

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