Mentors who share our value system of #FoundersFirst and #GiveFirst are at the heart of the Techstars mission.
The LaunchPad is based on the Techstars model which has demonstrated that startup success is closely aligned with engaged mentor networks. Mentors who share our value system of #FoundersFirst and #GiveFirst are at the heart of the Techstars mission. We share that core value at the LaunchPad.
One-on-one mentoring cultivates entrepreneurial thinking and problem-solving. The LaunchPad is actively looking for mentors can help our student founders through their industry expertise, personal skills, life and career experience, and who want to “pay it forward” as coaches and connectors. You can learn more in our Mentor Handbook.
Based on the Techstars model, mentors work with startup teams pro bono, without expectation of reward or compensation. They share knowledge and guidance freely, and can also help serve as connectors to others in their networks. Research shows that the success of startups are directly tied to mentor networks.
If you share this mindset, and bring skills and experience you would like to share with our startups, we welcome you as a mentor in our network. We especially value alumni mentors, because they are role models who have walked in their shoes. We are also especially grateful to parent mentors, because there are no people more invested in student success than SU parents. And, many of our most highly valued members come from the community and industry, because they are often not just mentors, but first adopters.
If you are interested in giving your time and talent to be a LaunchPad mentor, drop us a line at LaunchPad@syr.edu or fill out the form on this page, below.
David Cohen and Brad Feld, co-founders of Techstars, with the help of Jon Bradford, co-founder of F6S and tech.eu, wrote a Mentor Manifesto in order to articulate the values and characteristics of mentorship in the Techstars community:
- 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 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 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.