Last year, Arek Hajduk from from SpeedUp in Poznan, Poland, began telling me about his plans to create a completely new kind of accelerator for startups. As Arek describes it, “Huge Thing is a 6 month two-phase business acceleration program for high potential teams with global ambitions.” This includes the usual 3 month accelerator like TechStars or ycom. But, first it includes 3 months of Entrepreneur School put on by the Huge Thing team and all of the mentors. Earlier this year, Arek asked me to become a mentor in this great program and spend some time with their teams.
So, yesterday, another mentor, Zuzana Fedorková, and I traveled by train from Berlin to the @hugething startup-penthouse-like headquarters in Poznan to spend the day with the teams. It was a great experience hearing their early but exciting stories and having a chance to share some of our experience with them.
One of the founders asked me why I’m doing this – why have I chosen to be a mentor. It is a question that Zuzana spoke about on the way over and it was a reasonable question. I am also an entrepreneur building my next technology company right now. We are in the building product phase, raising funding, still constantly validating pain from customers – trying to make sure we have a solid foundation to build a fast growing company.
So, why do this for other entrepreneurs as this stage? It is because I am such a believer in mentoring – and especially peer mentoring from other entrepreneurs at every stage of the process. It was inspiring to sit on the other side and hear 9 pitches from first time entrepreneurs. It helped me see my own process more clearly – the pitch I am doing many times per week right now. It allowed me to stay engaged but stop grinding on my own business for a day. And it allowed me to meet a bunch of great people, leave some value behind and make new friends. As I told another friend, seems like the perfect win-win. I highly encourage you to spend a day on someone else’s business – get involved and leave some value behind with others too.