Over my career I have learnt that there are several roles that one can play as a mentor. Ask the difficult question; provide insights from experience and general theories; inspire; nudge the aspiring entrepreneur into taking action; be grounded and yet optimistic; remain true to values. Be practical, interesting and useful. And have a contact base that can be accessed for the entrepreneurs.
Rewards are mostly in karma points. Every so often there is a business, an entrepreneur or a team that asks you on board! Joy.
For very early stage entrepreneurs – the experience is about identifying and yet, keeping separate, the dance from the dance. As we grow the mentoring role is to help teams bond and bind into a coherent unit that can grow together with the business.
For more mature businesses, especially family run, my experience has been with supporting the founders and senior managers with decision making with respect to their businesses and in some cases with succession. These roles have been real eye openers because as one of them said to me – we do not have departments we have challenges!
My current deep dive mentoring activity include:
- Citispotter is an early stage venture building tools using AI to fight the negative effects of fake news. The APIs address the needs of stance, emotions, hate speech, click bait, named entity recognition and Claims. We hope to protect reputations, brands and consumer confidence in news. Citispotter now has a demo and is searching for seed investment and an awesome team.
- Corrosion Radar is a fast-moving business that detects, monitors and predicts corrosion under insulation. CR is addressing a huge problem in global markets with proprietary technology and a great team. I am delighted to be on the Board and an investor.
- KisanHub is an Agritech supply chain management business which has proved its model and is scaling up through working with multinational firms that take food from the farm to the table. I was an early mentor and happily also invested in them.
- 350 Solar Technology is a new firm which is seeking to develop its patent applied for technology to provide a solution based on Hydrothermal liquefaction of biowaste. We are at desk top demonstrator stage, seeking to provide critical data on feedstock to output ratios and with that to address the global problems of waste remediation, especially plastic.
- IECT – LBG Programme: I am delighted to be mentoring four deep tech start-ups that are on an accelerator programme in Austria.