Mentors/Advisors/Teaching Team

As we transition to the 2014 Program we will be recruiting volunteer Advisors and Mentors to help out. We are also assembling our teaching team. Mentors are expected to work closely with one of more teams, serving as a guide, connector and soundboard. Advisors are typically subject matter experts who may work across teams to help in areas like legal, IP, finance, software development, marketing, etc. They are also expected to help teams with referrals and connections during the Customer Discovery process.

For a very complete guide to becoming a mentor for the HTRLaunchPad Program, read our Mentor Guidebook.

HTR LaunchPad is a software accelerator employing the highly regarded Lean LaunchPad methodology developed by renowned serial entrepreneur and Stanford University entrepreneurship professor Steve Blank. The Max and Marian Farash Foundation provided a three-year grant to underwrite the program’s cost. Ten promising startups will be selected to participate for free. High Tech Rochester will provide additional support services for nine months following completion of the initial 12-week session.

The program is dependent upon mentors who are successful entrepreneurs with relevant industry experience. The participating teams will concentrate on developing a customer-focused business model. The objective is to launch and nurture high potential software and digital media companies in Rochester on a routine basis.

Read David Cohen’s post The Mentor Manifesto. Great stuff!

HTR LaunchPad Mentor FAQs

Who qualifies as a HTR LaunchPad mentor?

HTR LaunchPad mentors are invited to participate based upon multiple factors:

  • A record of achievement as an entrepreneur, advisor or investor in a successful software-related business.
  • A willingness to help early-stage companies and first time entrepreneurs.
  • A connection to the upstate region.
  • A desire to contribute to the region’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.

What are HTR LaunchPad’s expectations in terms of mentor commitment?

Mentor commitment of time and energy will vary.

Mentors are requested to recommend entrepreneurs that would benefit from participation in the program. It is common for referring mentors to work with the entrepreneurs.
Mentors will be introduced to the Lean LaunchPad methodology. It differs from traditional programs since it emphasizes primary customer feedback and developing a scalable business model prior to committing significant financial resources. For more about the program, go to http://www.udacity.com/overview/Course/ep245/CourseRev/1.
During the 12-week session, we expect a minority of mentors to be very active with one or two of the companies. These mentors could be influential in shaping the company’s business model through introductions to customers, investors, and business partners. They may help with arranging and preparing for customer discovery meetings, debriefing team members afterwards, and encouraging them to reflect upon the significance of the information gleaned from each activity in the program.
Other mentors are likely to provide periodic input on specific items related to product or business model development. Such input will be based upon the match between the mentor’s expertise and the business model. Each team will be writing a weekly blog detailing their efforts and areas of concern so mentors can observe their progress and engage when and where it makes the greatest contribution to the team.
Concluding events are scheduled for Rochester and NYC in the spring. Mentors are invited to attend and are encouraged to invite potential business partners and investors.

How do I refer a potential applicant to HTR LaunchPad?

Ask them to apply directly at http://htr.org/htr-launchpad. Have the applicant mention you in the application.

Can mentors invest in a HTR LaunchPad company?

Yes. Mentors acquire a degree of knowledge putting them in an excellent position to judge the merits of investing. An investment further validates the program’s ability to select and accelerate promising companies.

Additional questions? Contact: Mike Riedlinger at HTR, mike.riedlinger@htr.org.

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