Why Startup Mentors are Crucial to Your Growth and Where to Find Them

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If there was ever a time where you needed someone to talk to about your startup, who would you call? Some people might say advisors, some might say their investors, but the savviest would say their mentors. Startup mentors are a combination of advisor, therapist, and coach. The best mentors have solid experience as a top-performer and are emotionally intelligent because they can better understand, communicate, and empathize with founders, enabling a greater connection.

They’re people you can completely trust and can confide in that will help you stay on course and navigate difficult times. You want someone who’s made mistakes and learned from them (failure is one of the most powerful tools to learn from). They’re someone who’s been there and done that. While some mentors volunteer their time and/or are friends of the founders, some do it for an equity stake, and many others do it in exchange for money.

In this article, we’ll talk about the components of startup mentorship and what they can provide startup founders like you.

How Startup Mentors Contribute to Your Growth

Startups are much more likely to succeed with a mentor. First and foremost, experienced mentors provide you with advice based on their experience and many skill sets. A TechCrunch guest author, Rhett Morris, wrote an article titled Mentors Are the Secret Weapons of Successful Startups. Morris shared data showing that 33% of top-performing companies in NYC were also mentored by a top-performing entrepreneur.

Startups are also quite hard to build and grow, for the most part. Many founders may make it look easy by sharing their successes, but you know that things are easier said than done. And just as many do not share their challenges, mistakes, or failures in preference of not showing vulnerability. But by having a mentor, you are enabling yourself and your startup to be more successful.

According to data from a study by the Small Firms Enterprise Development Initiative, 70% of small business owners that had mentorship were able to survive through their first five years. Since 90% of startups fail, that’s a pretty good way to increase your chances of success.

What do mentors provide founders?

Mentors provide you with strategic insights, encouragement, support, best practices, tools they know of, and tricks of the trade. They can tap into their network and refer you to others who may be able to contribute to your growth. Startup mentors help you stay accountable, especially for first time founders who are not used to being their own boss.

As I mentioned earlier, they also provide emotional support and coaching to become a high-performer yourself, especially with skills training.

You can ask mentors for advice about decisions you’re trying to make and can provide you with more objective feedback.

Because of these factors, it’s been found that startup founders value the mentorship they receive in accelerators just as much as the seed money they get.

Many investors I’ve spoken with have talked about becoming defacto therapists who provide strategic, monetary, and logistical support — essentially acting as mentors. Though that’s not their preferred role, as they have portfolios to manage. But they recognize that the founders that they work with need support, and if they’re able to help the founders, they will.

Mentoring Stats

Mentoring helps anyone level up their game. Fortune 500 companies recognize that. And as you can see below, it’s highly valued in Fortune 50 to Fortune 500 companies.

  • 100% of U.S. Fortune 50 companies have mentoring programs.
  • 96% of U.S. Fortune 100 companies have mentoring programs.
  • 90% of U.S. Fortune 250 companies have mentoring programs
  • 84% of U.S. Fortune 500 companies have mentoring programs.

If the most successful companies in the world have mentoring programs, then why wouldn’t you get mentored?

Interestingly, only 14% of mentoring relationships began by asking someone to be their mentor. 61% of relationships developed naturally. Meanwhile 75% of people believe mentors are important to have, but only 37% actually do. [Forbes]

Mentors also help founders reduce their level of stress by being a sounding board and supportive friend.

Where to Find Mentors

  1. StartupDevKit. I (Carl Potak, the Founder and CEO) mentor startups and I’ve had clients ranging from a few months to six years.
  2. MentorCruise
  3. GrowthMentor
  4. Clarity.fm
  5. Founders Network
  6. SCORE
  7. MentorPass
  8. Mentorcam
  9. Startup accelerator programs (you need to apply and get accepted)
  10. LinkedIn


Startup mentors are game-changers for founders, and even more vital for first-time founders. The success rate of startups goes up for each startup they’ve founded before their current one, but for second and third time founders, it still helps to have someone more experienced than you to help guide you through your startup journey. Hiring a mentor is truly an investment in yourself and your startup, helping you in any of the aforementioned capacities. Pull the trigger and find one – you won’t regret it.

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