150+ mentors have gotten their hands dirty so far with this summer’s class in Boston at Techstars. Who has had the most impact? We measure it a few ways.
From net promoter scores done by the companies after each mentor session, we get a quantitative view.
For the broadest impact–meaning that you had to have made a meaningful dent on a LOT of companies: three standouts are Mike Surilov of DataXu, former TS Director and Brightcove co-founder Bob Mason of Project 11, and Avid Technology and Techstars Boston founder Bill Warner.
For perfection–every company you met with (minimum of 25% of the class) gave you perfect scores on your feedback, with the bigger vote getters listed earlier:
Mike Surilov, CJ Johnson*, Rob Rubin, Rob May*, Nick Rellas* Josef Mueller, Phil Swisher*, Lee Hower, Andrew Parker*, Michael Mark*, Jessica Meher, Julia Austin, Jon Karlen, Bob Steingart, Jay Batson, Jennifer Jordan, Neil Chheda, and Brian Kalma*. (*asterisk indicates first year as a Techstars mentor. Didn’t take you folks long to make your impression!)
But the real value of mentoring is not just early visits, but continuous, hopefully life-long involvement. I asked the teams to expound a little bit about who has been most valuable to them, giving them the option of listing 1 or 2 mentors. Here’s the roll of honor.
Matt Malloy received an incredible 25% of the class (3 companies) describing him as one of their top 2 mentors–a first as far as I know. Two companies each cited Rob Rubin, Joe Caruso, and Tom Hughes.
“Matt Malloy spent three hours with us talking to customers at Faneuil Hall where he identified our number one buyer hurdle.”
“Matt Malloy gave us valuable advice and coaching on effective solution selling.”
“Rob Rubin and Matt Malloy (Team EdX) for helping us evolve our thinking on product (Rob) and sales and marketing (Matt). It’s incredible to be working with the former leadership of one of the world’s most successful edtech ventures.”
“Rob Rubin for helping to understand real KPIs and to focus on the most important things.”
“Joe Caruso is definitely at the top. Joe and the TS staff helped us establish operational efficiency, plus set us up with very fast seed fundraising process, all while helping us set up the framework for a subsequent A round.” “Joe Caruso is doing great job. At our first meeting he said something I thought was absolutely useless, but than it changed how I see what we are doing right now.”
“Tom Hughes is super.”
“I don’t know how Tom Hughes dreams up his ideas. We gave him raw hamburger meat, he cooked a gourmet 5 course meal.”
Comments on the others mentioned as most valuable mentors:
“Jacqueline Hampton has been invaluable in helping us to get oriented in Boston, to continue to see the possibilities of this city as a hub for us in the USA, and helping us find our place in Techstars. She’s also been extremely helpful in speaking from her own experiences to tell us stories of building and running her own teams to exits, and finally in referrals to great folks in the community who can really help.”
“Bob Steingart for his passion in 3D printing and willingness to help.”
“Bill Warner has a unique way of cutting through the noise and getting straight to the crux of business. He counseled us, above all, to lead with our heart. He also taught us that the “core flow” of any business is either 1) solving a problem, or 2) creating joy. Decide which one it is, and run with it.”
“Sheldon Borkin has been great! He’s opened doors for us with the right people. We’re also excited to work with Jere Doyle who gave us super actionable advice on our go-to-market.”
“Phil Beauregard´s candid comments on what we should and should not be doing have already helped immeasurably and will play a huge role in our future successes.”
“Rob May for teaching me something I will always remember. “Listen to the customers who cancel, they are the ones you learn the most from.”
“Keith Hopper has been a great resource to our team in helping us navigate through various aspects of product management.”
“Sri Srikanth is not only knowledgeable but extremely committed to support. Last week he was sick in bed and even so he talked with with us and offered tremendously good feedback.”
And to show that mentorship knows no bounds, we even had a 4 person corporate team come in to mentor–and while they flew out the next day, they nonetheless left their mark on one of the founders.
“Paul Ford and the SendGrid team for teaching me being entrepreneurial is to break convention, do only what you are good at and if that involved being a technology provider, so be it.” Our earlier post on Paul can be seen here. I sat in on two of their sessions, and it was awe-inspiring to watch these guys study a problem from multiple angles.
Thanks to all of you for giving first.