Montag, 16. November 2009

five things for startups to expect from mentors & the other way round

the estc2009 innovation seed camp will introduce mentoring sessions for the pitching startups. the diverse spectrum of mentors present at estc covers founders, investors & the industry - laying the ground for interesting feedback sessions. so what can startups expect from those mentors? and the other way round, what do the mentors expect from startups?

let´s break it down into two sets of five :

5 things startups can expect from mentors
1) critical questions - no answers, no solutions.
2) instant feedback on how each and every startup gets its story across. if the pitch is bad, it will be made obvious instantly. that´s a good thing.
3) the impression a startup has on a mentor will be based 95% on pitch, 5% on executive summary et. al.
4) mentors have contacts (businesses, investors, lawyers,...) and some will help you with them - if they value the startup. if not, not more then polite friendliness can be expected.
5) not every mentor will be interesting for every project (and the other way round). that´s ok.

and now, let´s flip sides:

5 things mentors expect form startups
1) passionate, enthusiastic open entrepreneurs are welcome. self centered show-offs looking for adulation will not feel served well.
2) feedback can be direct & rather blunt - better from mentors then your customers, investors or potential employees. so startups must not be offended but take the feedback as is its & do with it what they think is best for them.
3) mentors will want to get ideas on what´s happening in the markets. some will search for investment.
4) mentors invest their energy for prepared teams. startups using the "next best" slide set available, preferring the check their tweets et al. rather then to get the most out of the sessions will receive what they seed.
5) and finally, mentors look forward to critical, even controversial discussions not yea-sayers. so let´s give them a good time!

for more on mentors see also the intersting interview of dave mcclure by mike butcher of techcrunch europe. for an overview of pitching opportunities head over to the finance mindmap. finally, to refresh the memories, find enclosed the start.upICT blog intro on start.up competitions.