As we moved the program online for this years’ edition, we realized that we had to make the activities shorter, more focused, and tailored to each startup’s needs. 

One way we aim to achieve these goals is to work closely with lead mentors throughout the 8-week program, a role that I will better detail below.

Who are the lead mentors?

The StepFWD lead mentors are experienced entrepreneurs or people who have been working with tech startups for years. We know that they are committed to helping our startup ecosystem grow and that is why we co-opted them in our journey.

These 8 amazing people will dedicate their time and energy during the program to share their experience, support you in good times and bad ones, and help you with whatever you will need in your entrepreneurial journey.

  1. Alexandra Anghel – Co-founder and CTO at MorphL, Program Director at StepFWD
  2. Alexandra Roata – Managing Partner at Softlead
  3. Andreia Patroiu – Chief Make It Happen at TalentBrowse
  4. Daniel Dragomir – Co-founder & CEO at TechHub Bucharest, Managing Partner at StepFWD
  5. Melania Moga – Product Consultant at Education First, Founder at Lean in Cluj
  6. Mihai Rotaru – Serial entrepreneur & angel investor
  7. Monica Obogeanu – Startup Programs Manager at Orange
  8. Vlad Gliga – Co-founder & CEO at Rubik Hub

What is the role of lead mentors?

Talking with an experienced mentor can help you validate your assumptions and avoid common pitfalls, which is valuable by itself. However, the StepFWD lead mentors will do more than this! 

They will also help you make sure you achieve the goal you set at the beginning of the pre-accelerator. There will be a lot of information thrown at you during the program activities, which can at times become overwhelming, and that is why you should never forget your startup’s bigger picture (a.k.a the “Why are we doing this?” question).

Lead mentors will be there to make sure you achieve things, but also break them, as during the life of a startup you always have to break things in order to innovate and stay ahead of the competition. Don’t just take our word on this. Even this guy, Elon Musk, believes that “if things are not failing, you are not innovating enough”.

How to engage with a lead mentor?

All the lead mentors will be involved in scoring the final shortlist of applicants, so they will have a good idea of who you are and what your needs are way before you will start the program.

In the first week of the program, during the “Meet the lead mentors” activity, we will pair the startups and lead mentors both from a professional point of view but also a personal match, in order to assure a smooth collaboration throughout the pre-accelerator.

Between weeks 2 to 8, you will have 30-minutes weekly office hours with your lead mentor and one of the program managers (that’s either me or Giorgiana). During this time you will:

  • Talk about your last week’s progress
  • Set up the plan for next week
  • Ask for help from your lead mentor and the program managers

But this is not all. Each mentor will allocate extra time to answer your questions, help you with your feedback requests, set you up with intros to potential customers, etc. 

In conclusion

We believe that lead mentors are like a sports coach: they “train” you for the match day, but it’s up to you to put in the hard work and perform at your best when the time comes.

We are aware that creating a program that suits the needs of the 10 selected startups while also keeping a level of customized interaction for each will be challenging, but we are confident that with the help of the lead mentors we will be able to achieve this.

Let’s do this together: StepFWD today!