IVCA Feature: Becoming a Mentor in the TechStars Chicago Accelerator

July 6, 2022

In the last issue of the IVCA newsletter, the Techstars Chicago Accelerator “Class of 2022’ – the 12 companies currently going through the 13-week forum that teaches them how to improve and execute their business ideas – were introduced. Throughout the year, and for the upcoming J.P. Morgan partnership, Techstars are always looking within the VC and PE communities to offer their expertise as mentors to the budding entrepreneurs. The following is a background guide, and a link to the application.


The co-founder and Managing Partner of the national Techstars program, David Cohen (along with Jon Bradford and Brad Feld) has created a list of guidelines for potential mentors, and describes the ideal initial traits as “individuals with deep industry, investment, or entrepreneurship experience. They work with the companies pro bono, without expectation of reward or compensation, will share of their knowledge and guidance freely, and will open their networks when appropriate.”

The manifesto itself begins with “Be Socratic,” as in participate in the mentorship as a two-way give and take. Being authentic, offering the truth as inspiration and listening also are strong recommendations. “Guide, don’t control” is an overriding initiative … this allows the teams within the companies to make their own decisions.

And finally, being optimistic and having empathy are tantamount to creating a communicative atmosphere with companies that mentors guide. Start-ups, as anyone who has ever been a part of one, are always hard. For the full manifesto list, click here. For a series of blogs posts about each individual points in the manifesto, click here.

The Managing Director of Techstars Chicago, Neal Sáles-Griffin, once told the IVCA …”For anybody in the Association who is aspiring to be a mentor, you can do it. I’m grateful to the IVCA for this platform, to be part of what the members of this organization have being doing for a long time.”

The general application can be accessed by clicking here.The next specific program in Techstars Chicago will be “Powered by J.P. Morgan” and that application can be accessed by clicking here.

The Demo Day that culminates the TechStars Chicago program will be on September 1st, 2022, time and place TBD. For more information about TechStars Chicago, click here.

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