After posting my first round of lessons learned from Shotput Ventures, and successfully completing Demo Day yesterday, I wanted to capture some more thoughts related to our first class. Let’s jump right in:
- In the future, the Demo Day event should not be held on a Monday because most VC firms hold their partner meeting on that day
- Pairing one mentor with each team at the beginning of the program would be better than having several mentors that work with multiple teams
- Funding companies using the formula of $6,000 per co-founder is probably more aligned with each team’s actual financial needs for the three month program (as compared to the $5,000 per team and $5,000 per co-founder model we used)
- While the ATDC did an awesome job setting us up with the 100-person TSRB event facility, we could have easily filled up a room that accommodates 200 people
- Having a few graphic designers available for the teams would have saved them valuable time in designing their logos and web app user interfaces
Again, I’m very proud of our first class and think that everyone involved did a great job!
3 thoughts on “More Lessons Learned from Shotput Ventures”
I think Techstars has already figured out most of these issues. This year they gave $6,000 per founder up to 3 founders and they held their demo day at either the middle or near end of the business week. Also, we received a main mentor to meet with weekly (or more) at the very beginning.
Agreed RE: the day and time slot of the event. The late afternoon (3-6PM) timing seemed to limit who was able to come. Lots of people came in late (some came halfway through the presentations or later), most likely because of work obligations. Something on a weekday evening from 5-8pm or even 6-9pm might work better for a lot of folks (although there might still be lots of stragglers if things started at 5pm).
RE: Pairing one mentor to each team for the whole summer — Definitely agreed. Like having an academic advisor, this helps teams really form a bond with their mentor. What would be even better (though not always totally achievable) would be to match teams to mentors with relevant or related experience. For example, if we had paired Khush with whichever one of you mentors is a big karaoke fan….or Looxii with a marketing guru….etc. etc. The enthusiasm, experience, and expertise of the mentor would carry over into the team’s work.