Talking with an experienced mentor can help you validate your assumptions and avoid common pitfalls, which cost you both money and time (you don’t have).

In your journey in the online pre-accelerator, a lead mentor will be by your side every step of the way. Let’s find out more about this role 👇

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 9 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. Adrian Fako – Founder of 8000 PLUS, an Incubation studio
  2. Alexandra Anghel – Director of AI Engineering at Algolia
  3. Andreia Arama – Chief Make It Happen at TalentBrowse
  4. Bogdan Predusca – CEO & Co-Founder at Hyperhuman
  5. Ciprian Borodescu – Head of Algolia AI R&D Romania
  6. Felix Crișan – Co-founder & CTO at NETOPIA Systems, Cō-Fōunder & CTŌ Rōnin
  7. Ioana Hasan – Co-Founder & Product Manager at Smart Bill
  8. Mihai Rotaru – Serial entrepreneur & angel investor
  9. Monica Obogeanu – Startup Programs Manager at Orange

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 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 as a personal match, in order to ensure a smooth collaboration throughout the pre-accelerator.

In week 2, the first office hours will have one hour. Look at this first as an exploratory discussion and a kickstart for the next weeks.

You will have 45-minutes of weekly office hours with your lead mentor and one of the program managers. 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. 

Your dedicated coach

We believe that lead mentors are like sports coaches: 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. Still, 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!