We’re exceptionally fortunate to have an amazing group of mentors. Mentors are individuals with deep industry, investment, or entrepreneurship experience. They work with the companies pro bono, without expectation of reward or compensation, will share their knowledge and guidance freely, and will open their networks when appropriate. Mentors make each Techstars program unique. The success of the companies are a direct result of the generous contributions of mentors.
If you’re interested in mentoring at Techstars, we recommend reading this article: https://jag.eu/help/why-mentor-at-techstars/
David Cohen, with the help of Jon Bradford and Brad Feld, wrote a Mentor Manifesto in order to articulate the values and characteristics of mentorship in the Techstars community. It reads as follows:
- Be socratic.
- Expect nothing in return (you’ll be delighted with what you do get back).
- Be authentic / practice what you preach.
- Be direct. Tell the truth, however hard.
- Listen too.
- The best mentor relationships eventually become two-way.
- Be responsive.
- Adopt at least one company every single year. Experience counts.
- Clearly separate opinion from fact.
- Hold information in confidence.
- Clearly commit to mentor or do not. Either is fine.
- Know what you don’t know. Say I don’t know when you don’t know. “I don’t know” is preferable to bravado.
- Guide, don’t control. Teams must make their own decisions. Guide but never tell them what to do. Understand that it’s their company, not yours.
- Accept and communicate with other mentors that get involved.
- Be optimistic.
- Provide specific actionable advice, don’t be vague.
- Be challenging/robust but never destructive.
- Have empathy. Remember that startups are hard.