The Ethos of Surge

12 minute read By Team Surge
The ethos of Surge

Because Surge is also a startup, we felt it was important to work with the founding cohort to help co-create and refine the ethos, culture and values of Surge itself. Here's the core tenets that emerged.

Surge has been a very intense journey for our team and founders. We started as a group representing different organizations and objectives, and we ended up with wonderful bonds and friendships, a “circle of trust” and a genuine commitment to help one another succeed. We grew to appreciate the diversity of ideas and strategies employed at different start-ups, and that there is no right answer; we learned the importance of a learning mindset, and we ended up with a lot of respect and humility seeing the accomplishments of others.

We realized that Surge is as much a founder’s academy as it is a seed program. That it can play a tremendous role in the personal development of founders as business leaders with empathy, creativity, respect for diversity and those who will build organizations with a sense of purpose.

During the program, we spent a lot of time on founder’s psychology, leadership styles, building teams and shaping the culture of a startup. We had incredible founders like Stripe’s Patrick Collison, Tokopedia’s William Tanuwijaya and ONE Championship’s Chatri Sityodtong share their personal journeys, and their philosophies for leadership and organizational development. The sessions impacted us all a lot. It was inspiring to see Surge founders take all this in, take it on and go back to workshop these concepts with their own teams. Zenyum cofounder Julian Artope, for example, blogged about how he actioned advice on driving clarity on the company mission; Bulbul’s Sachin Bhatia wrote about how he brought a key senior candidate on board right after a session on aspirational hires.

And because Surge is also a startup, we felt it was important to work with the founding cohort to help co-create and refine the ethos, culture and values of Surge itself – as a founder’s academy and a founders’ community. During one session in Week Four, we asked founders to share what Surge meant to them, and what values Surge embodied, with a post-it note exercise.  Words like ‘family’, ‘community’, ‘mission’, ‘tribe’, ‘open’ and ‘ambition’ come up over and over again.

As we prepare to launch Surge 02 2019, we felt it’s time to share with the start-up community what Surge stands for. Here are the core values that have emerged:

Mission Driven

We are missionaries, not mercenaries. We aim to build enduring companies with purpose and strong values.

Culture of Believing

We are believers. We’re ambitious. We’re open and we choose to trust.

Builder Mindset

We will build great products to serve customers and society. We don’t build for vanity and valuation.

Team First

We aim to attract and nurture extraordinary talent, and build a great work culture.

Give > Take

We pay it forward. We help each other. We help the community. We share the wealth creation with our teams with generous ESOP.

Open & Global

We are open to ideas, change and evolution.


We believe that authenticity is a driving factor of success. Keep it real, stay true to yourself and say what you mean.

Spirit of the Tribe

We care about community, within Surge and across the wider founder ecosystem.

Community is a core part of culture, and it’s been wonderful to watch the Surge community take root over the last few months. The Surge 01 2019 WhatsApp chat is super active: it’s beyond fantastic to see our founders reach out to each other, requesting tips, tools and advice from each other, and sharing everything from birthday gifs to candidate profiles. Some deep bonds have formed, and several founders call each other every couple of days to talk ideas and issues over. The spirit of the tribe is growing strong!

Surge, as an idea, is less than a year old. Surge, as a community, is only getting started – and will continue to evolve and grow. While Surge values may evolve too, we feel these core tenets are a good place to start.

We couldn’t be more grateful to the Surge 01 2019 community for helping us articulate and refine the ethos for Surge. We’re excited to share and practice it with the new founders joining us this month for Surge 02.

Straight from the source

Group image_880x880
Welcoming Surge 09
Oct 23 2023
Why the Ability to Exercise Good Judgment is Your Key to Success
Why the Ability to Exercise Good Judgment is Your Key to Success
Jul 20 2023
Defining Your Startup’s Culture-1
Defining Your Startup’s Culture
Jun 14 2023
FAQs On OKRs For Early-Stage Startups
Mar 30 2023
Why We Launched Surge
Mar 24 2023
Build Trust Across a Globally Distributed Team-1
Build Trust Across a Globally Distributed Team
Mar 15 2023
Surge 08 pic
Surge 08 is Out to Change the World!
Mar 1 2023
Finding Product-Market Fit Never Ends
Finding Product-Market Fit Never Ends
Jan 16 2023
The Idea of Incremental Dreaming-1
The Idea of Incremental Dreaming
Dec 23 2022
Breaking Down OKRs - Rajan
Common Pitfalls Founders Encounter When Defining OKRs
Oct 12 2022