Five Ace Mentors
No 4 Marketing
If the benefits of mentoring are only really appreciated after the experience, the mentors in this series tell us about the special contributions they have made to their mentees.
No 1 Concept development: coming up with something for which there is a real need and that is achievable, marketable and fundable. Jackie Young – in Life Sciences
No2 Strategy and management: determining objectives; getting there; and making and managing the team. JMD – in Fintech.
No 3 Technical: designing, creating and delivering the product/service. Jo Rabin – in Technologies.
No 4 Marketing and sales: attracting users, buyers, customers. Andrew Grant – in modelling.
No 5 Finance: managing the funds. Anon
No 6 Mentor and support Manager –helping to identify issues and provide mentors; and running events – Thibaut Rouquette – Startupbootamp
Entrepreneur-in-residence at UCL’s IDEALondon incubator – focusing the business onto everything to do with customers
He sees his main role as determinedly focusing on and asserting the commercial essentials in which the business has to work, underlining customer constraints (they are mostly corporates) and eliciting their needs; and as opening doors and finding and developing customers, overseeing contractual arrangements and customer relationships.
He was introduced to the company by the Business arm of UCL and has contributed to it in several ways and has been named its chair – for which he gets little remuneration but was later granted a small equity participation. He now gives around 25% of his time to the company because he says: ‘there is so much to do and no one to do it’!
The business is a university spin-out and offers techniques for optimising business efficiency solutions in vehicle routing, staff-scheduling and telecoms network planning, based on mathematical models and algorithms.
He sought always to get the full picture and saw himself as the person who stood back and took into account the full implications of things while others were immersed in product development and delivery.
He doesn’t have the programming skills of the team who have deep specialisms in specific applications; but his marketing and IT background and senior experience in BT add importantly to the business’s credibility.
He saw himself as structuring (encounters), clarifying, learning to articulate and to garner product and client benefits, both monetary benefits and knowledge transfer benefits; and helping to understand underlying motivations.
He saw his overall objective as helping the business to reach defined milestones along its way to realising its full potential. He is highly positive – an‘evangelist’, a grafter and enthusiast, and tends to see everything in terms of learning opportunities.