Written by Adrianna Fazio, Mentorship Intern
MassChallenge is unique for a myriad of reasons. From the non-profit structure to the exceptional staff members, MassChallenge is a constant standout in a highly competitive sector. At the forefront of this exceptional company? The mentorship program.
Mentorship proves to be one of the most valuable elements of the accelerator. With a powerful combination of eager mentors and coachable founders, the MC team implements just one requirement: through a rigorous matchmaking process, every finalist must select at least one mentor to advise them throughout the accelerator program.
Through these relationships, founders of early-stage companies like Wunder, BusBot, and CareAline have built a stronger foundation for launching and growing their companies this summer. Here are their reflections on the process:
Lea LeBlanc, Wunder gained more from her mentor relationships than she ever anticipated. A solo founder, Lea quickly discovered her mentors were more than business gurus, but companions in a (previously) lonely journey. She recognized that her most valuable mentors go beyond business strategy and come to know her as a person outside of her company. She loves knowing that there are, people in her corner who believe in what she is doing.
Bharath Krishnamoorthy, BusBot has been both impressed by how responsive and communicative his own mentors have been. Their honesty and transparency has allowed Bharath and his team to avoid mistakes that inevitably accompany lack of experience. It [has] allowed us to progress faster because we didn’t have to wait to make a mistake and then learn from it, he said.
Kezia and Mike Fitzgerald, CareAline believe that the most valuable element of MassChallenge is not only this standard of Mentors, but the diverse representations of industries. They believe drawing from the different sectors added immense value to the collaborative thinking environment.
Ultimately, startups from the 2017 cohort agree that mentorship is a personalized process that has allowed their company to excel beyond initial expectations. From finance to legal advice, there are experts for support in any area of need and plenty of relationships to be fostered.
As one startup told me, we found people we connect with and that is the best feeling.
My favorite element of working on the mentorship team was facilitating these connections. I love helping people find the resources they need to succeed and I discovered that finding the right mentor can open up all of the necessary doors. It was an honor working on the team and I wish the best to both finalists and mentors as they continue working together throughout the accelerator and maybe beyond!