Montreal’s FounderFuel accelerator program is knee-deep into its mentor day, the event that typically inaugurates the program’s new cohorts of teams. Now working with its fifth cohort of startups, about 100 mentors have flocked to Montreal today from around Canada and the United States to meet and greet all eight teams.
FounderFuel general manager Ian Jeffrey wouldn’t let us reveal the identities of the eight teams, but he did shed light on the importance of Mentor Day, a unique event in the accelerator space in Canada.
He said the eight teams spend 30 minutes with 10 mentors each, rotating until all the teams have found time with all 100 mentors. At the end of the day each startup actually gets to select a “FounderFuel Advisory Board” of about five to 10 mentors that they clicked well with. It’s an informal, non-legal agreement that says those mentors will hold weekly communication with the startups for the remainder of the ten weeks until DemoDay.
“For the mentors its an amazing due diligence process to spend ten weeks with them under extreme pressure, to see how they react, how much they get done, and that often leads into investments,” Jeffrey told BetaKit. “In fact, there isn’t a FounderFuel company that’s raised venture capital that didn’t get money from one of those mentors in their Advisory Boards. That’s something unique that we’ve coined.”
It’s a busy day where the teams hear a lot of opinion from a lot of different mentors who have done well in the business. Some of the advise is positive and some, of course, isn’t all rosy. In fact it’s probably not a stretch to think that teams have even been advised not to go through with their idea, and to switch gears completely. But the day turns out at least to surround these young entrepreneurs with a roster of helpful hands they can lean on.
The mentors benefit too, said Jeffrey. Some of them do it to give back, some of them do it because it looks good on LinkedIn, and others just love networking. “Others do it because they’re looking for some investments either as an angel or a VC, so again, it’s a good 12 weeks of due diligence and getting to know the teams,” said Jeffrey. “But they also do it because they get to hang out with like-minded people and have a good time.”