A while back EnterpriseHelsinki invited Tom Keller of TechStars to come and speak at their event in Helsinki on their incubation model, how they get high quality startups emerge from TechStars’ program and whether this could be possible in Helsinki, Finland since it’s possible in Boulder, Colorado, which is mere 100,000 strong town in the Rockies. Boulder, much like Helsinki now, has not always been famous as a hot bed for startups, but has lately become as one.
In the video, Valto Loikkanen of EnterpriseHelsinki and GrowVC interviews Keller. Among explaining the key factors why TechStars works (you have to look at the video for that) Keller also tells that its not only the startups that benefit from the ecosystem that has built up in Boulder. It’s also the mentors who benefit. Inspire mentorship was also big part of what EnterpriseHelsinki wanted to do at their event.
The best thing that the mentors can do is to give their time generously without necessarily thinking about their own compensation right away. They should be looking at the intangible benefits, including being able to work with really smart and ambitious young people, stay in touch with state of the art technology, have an opportunity to invest in these startups, have possibly even an employment opportunity and lastly one gets to build friendships and professional relationships with other mentors. Keller goes on to explain how not only the entrepreneurs have a strong community among themselves, but also the mentors have a very strong relationships among themselves. A good sign of this is that TechStars has about 50 active mentors and a waiting list of another 800 who would like become mentors.
Our own TechStar model at Aalto Bootcamp has already a lineup of young startups that just graduated from the first ever bootcamp. The three winners were Widsen, Thermophonic Heat Pump, and Hipui. For eager mentors, that’s not a bad place to start looking for companies they could help. Here’s the complete line up of startups at the Aalto Bootcamp program.