SHHHH….Three Secrets to New Venture Mentoring Magic: Insights from Silicon Valley and Beyond

What makes a team of Silicon Valley entrepreneurship mentors go from good to great, and even magical?

This past Spring, UC Berkeley assembled its first all virtual mentor team of eight highly dedicated serial entrepreneurs and funders for a custom professional program geared to budding tech entrepreneurs in Singapore. The program is hosted annually by the Sutardja Center for Entrepreneurship & Technology, where our mission is to empower innovators to positively change the world.

Given the COVID-19 pandemic, we shifted from our traditional in-person 3-day program to weekly online sessions over the course of 2 ½ months, navigating across languages, datelines, physical boundaries and into some unknowns. 100 students, based mainly in Singapore, had the opportunity to learn from a series of interactive lectures, fireside chats and private mentoring sessions. Building on their learnings, they were tasked with further developing and honing a new venture idea, assembling data to test their assumptions, drafting and then pitching to potential investors. What we learned from the students and how we adapted made for mentor magic. In the spirit of Silicon Valley’s mantra of "Paying it Forward," revealed below are the three secrets of what worked well, or didn’t, with real time insights from the mentor team. Feel free to share your thoughts with us, and we would be happy to help you have a similar experience for your students.

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