Startup Mentor. Do you have?


It is not easy to do first startup. There are so many things which we don't know or we don't know the right way to do it.

Do you have startup mentor? How do you find Mentor ? Does successful statup owner has time to mentor newbies?

Or Do you make someone with Mentor quality to be paryour equity partner?


asked Oct 29 '09 at 01:33
Web Thinker
430 points
  • Remember that a mentor is someone with whom you have a relationship. That's something a lot of people forget - they just want someone to dispense advice. That's an advisor. – Josh Sam Bob 14 years ago

8 Answers


This comes from Brad Feld, one of the founders of TechStars:

There are three ways to find a mentor:
1) Go to events and talk to people
2) Use your network
3) Talk to potential customers and find one who is very interested in your product.

But remember that finding a mentor is like dating: you can't just go out once and ask the person to "marry" you. You've got to go out casually a few times, enjoy the conversation, then maybe have lunch a few times, invite the person to your "place" (office), and eventually things will seem right.

answered Oct 31 '09 at 04:35
Josh Sam Bob
1,578 points


This perhaps is off the path of this question but "Reality Check" by Guy Kawasaki is excellent. It covers many, many aspects of a start up from fundraising to marketing to engineering to a lot more. I've been doing startups for a lot of years but this book is like a mentor to me.

In addition, I'd recommend building your network via Linkedin. Tap into that for people you know and have worked with. Find successful people who've done what you're hoping to do through your network and connect. Often it's surprising how much people will help.

Participate in various appropriate Linkedin groups and find others who appear to have expertise in areas that are valuable to you. Strike an offline conversation, compliment them on an answer and see if there's the potential to get some mentoring from them. I did this recently and it was tremendously helpful. Complete stranger who helped me with his years of experience in a certain area.

This also ties to another question about advisory boards. Assemble people you find that can be mentors.

answered Oct 29 '09 at 12:35
4,214 points
  • Just yesterday placed order for "Reality Check" and "Inbound Marketing" book. Waiting for books now :) . Thanks. – Web Thinker 14 years ago


(Most) Successful entrepreneurs want to change the world as fast as possible. If they talk to you for one hour and you show 100x as much in being effective then they will likely want to advise you more.

There are two challenges however for this:

Getting the first hour meeting - if you are not getting this, then you need to refine your pitch in terms of what you are doing. Try getting your friends jumping with excitement about what you do.

Getting alot of time commitment from them - most successful entrepreneurs also have their own thing that they want to make successful. So, getting alot of time from them will be hard. But if you can excite them, show good results, then they will consider spending more time with you especially if you are willing to give equity.

Note that IMO giving equity, etc should be the last thing that you do... Your mentor should want to help you out for some minimal time even without equity, and you should ideally find his mentoring style really helpful to your company that you are willing to give equity.

answered Oct 29 '09 at 01:56
1,080 points
  • Agreed, but note that most such people don't have a lot of extra time to spare. So unless they can justify the time through compensation, you'll have to be forgiving on if and when they can help. – Jason 14 years ago


I've been diving into this subject a bit myself. I'm no expert, as I'm looking for a mentor, but I've reached out to my personal network with moderate success. Find someone you would like to learn from and see if you have something in common. The best thing would be a common person who could connect you.

Otherwise, checkout what events they go to and attend. Try to get to know them better at such a venue

answered Oct 29 '09 at 03:56
263 points


For students, it is easy to get mentors, since it is possible to contact alumni and ask for assistance. Entrepreneurship clubs and associations can also contact people and ask for mentors. There are also competitions where this is the prize.

There are angel investors that function as mentors and help young companies out.

It is hard for an individual to gain access to a mentor, but for groups it is a lot easier.

In a way, this website provides mentoring on some level... You cannot ask advice that is too specific, since it would appear like you are promoting your business and spamming, but other then that, that is why we are all here.

answered Oct 29 '09 at 07:16
Ron Ga
2,181 points


A few years back on my first startup in the US, I went to talks as much as I could, some in Stanford, Commonwealth Club, these days I go to many of the user groups in the Bay Area.

I saw and met lots of people, but the helping/mentoring/advising is kind of a friendship in the end, specially when you are so invested in your startup, so it's a bit (at least for me) like finding a friend.

I found couple of mentors there, one of them still a good friend to this day. He was the presenter at one of the talks on how to acquire customers, at the end I just waited and talked to him, he had seen a lot of the issues questions that I was asking; we got a good rapport and he help me a lot on that first startup and we've done some others.

answered Oct 29 '09 at 08:43
148 points


I kinda think of this site as a collective mentor anyway.

I've had the intention of getting a meatspace mentor whom me and my co-founder can talk to face to face, but my partner don't think it's necessary. I've abandoned that thought ever since.

Perhaps I should restart that initiative again. Part of the reason is that I have someone to hold me accountable to, and that someone is older and wiser than I am.

answered Apr 28 '10 at 12:36
G Rex
683 points


I don't really get mentors. How are they different from friends that you pick their brains over lunch?

answered Oct 30 '09 at 08:09
744 points
  • To me - Mentor is someone who went thro' startup process and ready to guide us thro' the path ( especially to verify Business Plan, Marketing planning, VC approach etc ) . if you have a friend who went thro' startup process then you are lucky :) – Web Thinker 14 years ago

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