Prototype Prime Mentors:

Mentors are individuals with deep industry, investment, or entrepreneurship experience. They work with the startup companies for free, without expectation of reward or compensation, will share of their knowledge and guidance freely, and will open their networks when appropriate. Mentors can have a direct and profound effect on the success of a company they work with.

Mentoring is a serious commitment. If you have the time and interest, we welcome you. If not, we understand.

Types of Mentorship:

Prototype Prime recruits two types of mentors: Prime Mentors and Subject Matter Expert (SME’s).  The difference is time commitment – not ability to help.

Prime Mentors:

  • Matched with 1-3 member startups for a 12-month period. Prime Mentor and startup founder(s) agree to formal mentor agreement.
  • Meet with assigned companies at least quarterly.
  • Meet with Prototype Prime staff monthly to review startup progress and request SME mentors as needed.

Subject Matter Expert (SME) Mentors:

  • Identify subject matter expertise skill sets & provide LinkedIn profile
  • Host once per month office hours open to startups in the community
  • Available by appointment to member companies with specific technical questions
  • Meet with Prototype Prime staff quarterly to assess mentor utilization

Becoming a Mentor:

  • Attend Prototype Prime Mentor Orientation.  
  • Attend at least two events at Prototype Prime. Meet member companies and founders.
  • Learn about member companies via your own research
  • Meet with Prototype Prime staff to discuss companies you are most interested in and to hear about companies with a need for a Prime mentor
  • Start to mentor!

Mentor Guidelines

  • Serving as a mentor is a volunteer effort.
  • No compensation is offered.
  • Mentors cannot sell any product or service to Prototype Prime members.
  • Expect nothing in return.
  • Be authentic / practice what you preach.
  • Be direct. Tell the truth, however hard.
  • Listen.
  • Be responsive.
  • Adopt at least one company every single year. Experience counts.
  • Clearly separate opinion from fact.
  • Hold information in confidence.
  • Be honest about what you don’t know. Don’t fake it.
  • Guide. Don’t control. Teams must make their own decisions.
  • Understand that it’s their company, not yours.
  • Accept and communicate with other mentors that get involved.
  • Be optimistic.
  • Provide specific actionable advice, don’t be vague.
  • Be challenging but never destructive.
  • Have empathy. Remember that startups are hard.
  • Have fun. Mentoring is a give and take arrangement.
  • You will be surprised at how much you learn.