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Top 5 Benefits of Mentoring a Startup

Richard Celm avatar

Richard Celm

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Top 5 Benefits of Mentoring a Startup

Popular concepts such as the ‘startup life’ and the ‘3 baby’, paint a romantic, exotic and alluring picture of startup life. Pain and massive gains are there for the taking, for those brave.

But most don’t have a real appreciation for what’s actually involved - the disciple, the perseverance, the belief, convincing or ignoring the advice of family and friends to get something off the ground. It’s bloody hard work and you’ll need to ignore the gratuitous advice of the inevitable expert naysayers who will poke holes in your dreams. The world is full of people telling you it can’t be done. And the statistics show that most of them are correct. It’s a tough and often lonely existence running a startup. It impacts your social, emotional and financial way of life.

Startup founders, unlike most private and public sector employees, have no idea how much money is coming into their bank account at month’s end. Most employees by contrast get paid regardless of how shit a job they’ve done.

So why would you get involved? And what is it really like?

Let me try and build a business case around why you should care and beyond that, get involved and mentor a startup

Mentors can provide immense value

Corporate employees over time, become very specialised. Often we’re unaware of the skills we’ve developed and the value it provides, because it’s become like riding a bike. Understanding risk, managing stakeholders, complex problem solving, quick decision making - skills and knowledge that can be extremely useful for an early stage startup founder.

Most startups on a Startupboootcamp program are doing something that is of global significance. In the global energy, FinTech, health or food space - our startups are literally changing the world with new technologies and applications. They dream big, are often technical experts and are pushing boundaries with innovative technology or new exciting business models.

But many startup founders lack commercial corporate experience and have never worked in a senior corporate role. They just don’t understand the landscape, and lack the deep skills many of our mentors have developed as specialists. So mentors at all levels can provide immense value to a startup by working through problems and looking at them with specialist knowledge or a corporate filter that the startup founders may lack.

You learn as much as they do

I love meeting and working with startup founders. I’ve been shaped so much over the years through my experiences in working with them. You start going in thinking you’re going to help them - but you leave having learnt and grown as much yourself.

We’ve asked our mentor pool what they get out of mentoring startups and why they do it and the results are consistent and somewhat surprising.

The Top 5 Reason people mentor Startups:

  • Fun & Inspiring - this is consistently the top answer. I used to run Angel investor training over 10 years ago in London with Angel’s Den and the results they reported from their Angel network were consistent with this answer. Working with entrepreneurs who are changing the world is amazing, uplifting and just great fun. They inspire me on a daily basis.
  • To Give Back - using the knowledge, skills and experience we’ve learnt and passing these forward to the next generation so they learn from our successes and mistakes. It’s also ensuring our local startup ecosystems are developing and creating the much needed economic growth and local jobs of the future - vital to our way of life.
  • For investment opportunities - whilst we ask mentors not to enter commercial arrangements with the startups during the program there is the opportunity to invest in a cohort as a Limited Partner (LP) or to invest in the teams in their next round after having worked with them. SBC has done all the work to find them so a number of our mentors use the program as part of their deal flow
  • To Learn - in addition to learning from the startups themselves about their new technologies, products or services, there’s also Mentor Masterclasses, our Startupbootcamp Digital e-learning platform for mentors, workshops and events that our mentors can access. This can teach you frameworks to use in all areas of business.
  • The Network - by becoming a Startupbootcamp mentor, you join an international community of well over 1,000 global members and a local network in Australia of hundreds of like minded people. There are opportunities to network with these highly capable and impressive people who are investors, professionals, startup founders, directors and from our corporate partners.

If you’re interested in finding out more, you can visit our mentor portal here or you can reach out to me or one of the local SBC Managing Directors to find out more.

Also if you’re interested in finding out more about investing in startups, even if you’ve never done it before, please get in touch. We run Angelsbootcamps the next one of which is being run on the 12th August. You can register here to attend.

I hope this inspires you to get involved. I know you'll enjoy working with startups as much as I do!

Richard Celm avatar

Richard Celm

Executive Program Director @ Startupbootcamp Australia