Time and time again, Mentors (sometimes referred to as Coaches) are described by attendees as one of the most valuable features of the weekend! The one-on-one advice given to teams can be invaluable and a key factor in their growth as a startup. Mentors themselves enjoy working with teams because it’s a chance to share their knowledge and help other aspiring entrepreneurs. 

Who makes a good Mentor?

  • Experienced entrepreneurs – These are the best type!
  • Subject Matter Experts – Mentors do not necessarily have to be well-known entrepreneurs: high-quality subject experts that can provide actionable advice on a specific topic can be just as valuable.
  • Investors – The best way to get in touch with venture capitalists and angel investors is through a personal introduction. If you don’t have anyone on your Organizing team who can make an introduction for you, search any of the online Investor directories that allow you to view lists of investors by geographic area.
  • Startup incubators and accelerators – These groups see the ups and downs of early stage startups and can provide valuable insight at the development stage. They may be looking to invite new startups to apply to their programs, and they make great Mentors.
  • Startup attorneys – While Techstars Startup Weekend does not allow Mentors to offer specific legal advice to teams, having at least one lawyer or attorney serving as a mentor can be highly valuable to help teams smooth out (or work around) some of the legal implications of their startup.

Goals for Mentors

  • Guide teams to focus their attention on building a strong foundation for a solid startup (Problem, Solution, Market Size, Customers, Value Prop, Business Model, etc.)
  • Direct teams toward becoming experts in the applicable sphere of their potential startup.
  • Help teams design and carry out effective experiments (most often customer interviews), analyze the data they collect, and guide them in the right direction.
  • Help ensure that teams assume nothing. Identify assumptions being made and force them to tackle those assumptions.

Mentor “Don’ts”

  • Be the decision maker for the teams
  • Tell them right vs. wrong
  • Do the work for them

Our events are not the same without great Mentors. If you think you’d make a great one, head over to our events page and reach out to your local community organizers.