Week #2 kicked off the first week of Mentor Madness, and madness it was! Think: 20-minute meetings with potential mentors, for 4 hours each day. The idea is to find a mentor that you can connect with and is interested in what your company is doing so that you are able to build a relationship with them. Techstars advises not to worry about the mentors current positions or titles, because the knowledge and the experience they can bring may not be related to their current roles. After meeting with 36 mentors throughout the week, we received a lot of feedback and ideas to help grow our business. We have two more weeks of Mentor Madness and we’re excited to get to know more people who are willing to spend time out of their busy work day to hear about Upsie and ideate around ways to improve, grow, or learn.
We were also invited to go to the Target Takeoff Demo Day and see the new and innovative products from brands that are trying to make a difference in communities near and far. Target brought in 10 founders of emerging better-for-you brands for an opportunity to meet with mentors, network with each other, and talk all things retail. At Demo Day the companies presented their products and then all attendees were able to speak one-on-one with the different companies and try samples. The products presented ranged from chips made from Teff (a grain from Ethiopia- they were delicious), to an all-natural aluminum-free deodorant, to a sun flower seed-based flour that is gluten free but also high in protein and fiber – they have a brownie mix that is too good to be true.
Another highlight of our week was our first 6:06 meeting, where all 10 startups in our class get together and we go through how our week went and have a family style dinner. Each week is hosted by a different team, the Techstars team went first and they had Juicy Lucy’s brought in from the Blue Door Pub. The BYBE team discovered there is a Pizza Hut downtown that has a bar and karaoke on Thursdays, so that was naturally the next stop after our 6:06 meeting! It was a blast, and we have some karaoke champs in our class.
Our Kanban board has continued to be very beneficial in getting us through our busy days– this is definitely something that will continue to be helpful to us even after Techstars. We’re looking forward to continuing Mentor Madness, as well as finalizing and picking the 5-10 mentors that we will work with over the next three months. Check back weekly to follow along the journey with us! Also, every Friday we will have interviews with the other startups in our class, which will be posted via Facebook. If you missed last week, click here to view the interview with Ryan Broshar, the Techstars Managing Director, Retail.