Why Mentor at Techstars

Mentors are individuals who bring deep industry knowledge and expertise to significantly impact companies going through the program. Mentors help in areas like product-market-fit, business model, distribution, customers, partners, and (when appropriate) their personal networks with the companies. We attribute much of the companies’ success to their generous contributions of time and effort. 

Although there are a million ways to mentor, something that we realize and fully support, we divide Techstars mentors into two main groups: lead mentors and mentors. The difference here is time commitment, not ability to help. Lead mentors spend more time with companies (approx an hour or so a week) while mentors help out where they can (an hour or so per month).

We divide Techstars mentors into these two types:

  • Lead Mentors
  • Ad Hoc Mentors

The simplest explanation of an ideal mentor relationship is that you care about the outcome of one company at a deep level.

If you break that down there are many statements in there, that you are devoting time and energy to their success, that you actually like them and want to spend time with them, and that you actually get something out of the relationship yourself. 
  • All Mentors - All mentors participate in a 1/2 day session meeting individually with the companies in a round robin format. You'll be expected to provide tactical support as requested and make internal or personal network introductions.
  • Lead Mentors - If asked by companies, Lead Mentors engage on a deeper level with them for the duration of the program and hopefully beyond. We recommend committing to 1 or 2 companies at most, and meeting regularly with them (typically 30- to 60-minutes per week). It’s OK to say no to participating as a Lead Mentor if you aren’t interested or can’t make the time commitment. Each company will have 5-8 Lead Mentors.

Why Mentor?

Mentoring startups in a Techstars program is a great way to gain exposure to new ways of thinking, learn new innovative techniques that you can bring back to your teams, and stay up to date on current market and technology trends.

Where do the companies come from?

The Techstars brand brings in thousands of applications every year and the number continues to grow. Some of the applicants have a strong team, but their ideas are simply too early. Those will be tracked by Techstars and re-engaged when the business is in a state that allows them to potentially take advantage of the program. We’re also actively seeking out companies and early stage companies to join the program that aren’t applying.
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