Startups Benefit Equally from Mentoring and Money
May 26, 2016 Leave a comment
The technology sector has been a focus of venture capitalist investing since the first Model T drove off of the assembly line. As startup launches continue to grow, entrepreneurs and investors recognize the value of mentorship. It’s almost on par with capital.
If your startup has managed to win the support of a venture capitalist, the next step must be to secure mentorship from someone like Gary Reiner, Chief Information Officer and operating partner at the global investment firm General Atlantic.
Trained in economics and equipped with an MBA from Harvard Business School, Reiner’s understanding of technology is in-depth and passionate. He is on the boards of Appirio, Box, CitiusTech, and SnapAv. In a recent interview he described his role as a mentor:
It can be in different ways—to help the management strategize; to find new markets; to help with our expertise in sales and marketing; to help with access to regions that smaller companies won’t easily have, since GA is very global and has offices in practically all high-growth regions like South Asia and China; to help with intellectual property (IP)-related issues and global regulations; and also to merge with another company, if that’s what the firm wants to do.
Thoughtful entrepreneurs recognize their position on the path all new businesses travel. They know that they will need guidance along the way from others who have successfully gone before them. At this point in a startup’s development, mentorship is a valuable asset.
The entrepreneur’s passion isn’t enough to get them through some of the obstacles they’re going to face. They need someone with a set of business skills that will help them to turn their startup into an organization that can regularly return a profit and achieve a sustainable rate of growth.
Startups need to keep their eye on critical business issues and use their mentors’ abilities to their best advantage. Preparing a careful analysis of the startup’s obstacles and areas of expertise will provide the basis for a productive discussion with a mentor.
The most talented mentors are often busy and have tight schedules. When asking for advice, an entrepreneur must be ready to present an accurate outline of their company’s problem areas. At the same time, a mentor must take the time to get to know the startup. That’s how to build business relationships that prosper and benefit both the investors and the entrepreneurs.