How Mentoring Works at Singularity University
The SU Mentor Program plays a monumental role in helping startups that are using exponential technologies to solve global grand challenges. These startups, because of their big visions, typically take a long time to achieve success and encounter unique challenges along the way. Our mentors leverage their deep expertise—and roll up their sleeves—to help SU companies solve complex challenges and refine their products, ultimately positioning these ventures to have meaningful impact.
Our program offers amazing benefits to both mentors and mentees. As an SU mentor, you'll engage with ventures at an early stage and thus have the opportunity to drive real change and help our founders become hugely effective. You'll also gain an unparalleled preview of the emerging technologies of the future.
Working with our companies, mentors have helped founders to overcome major hurdles and achieve incredible outcomes, such as:
- Sustainably developing 3D printed medical parts in the developing world (fieldready.org)
- Integrating cutting-edge spectral cameras into food production to minimize food waste (impactvi.com)
- Implementing bioelectric sensors in large cities to ensure water purity (fredsense.com)
Among other achievements, our mentors have empowered startups to raise funding, close municipal partnerships, build out advisory boards, and ultimately scale their impact to reach communities across the globe.
In addition to the satisfaction of helping startups develop and succeed, our mentors also have a great time connecting with each other and meeting like-minded experts who are passionate about creating real impact in the world.Apply to be a mentor
“SU gave me a unique privilege to be around people I admire and deeply respect—amazing visionaries who are not afraid to challenge conventional wisdom and make commitment to changing lives of billions of people.”
Cofounder, CEO & CTO, Escape Dynamics
Our mentor community engages in both in-person and remote mentoring with SU Ventures portfolio companies.
SU Ventures works with startups at the intersection of exponential technologies and global impact. Our programs provide know-how that can accelerate breakthroughs with support in an “all-you-can-engage” format for as the life of the company. We’ve mapped our entire approach to focus on the three key outcomes to help startups achieve long-term success: Capital, Customers, and Connections. We offer exclusive bootcamps, sprints, and other programs that go deep and aren’t available anywhere else.
Mentor engagement at Singularity University can take various forms. You can advise early-stage teams that are still working to build out their MVPs and undergo user testing. As a mentor, you'd help founders understand global challenges, ideate on solutions, validate their product(s), and work with teams to develop and refine their pitches.
You can also work with more mature teams, where mentoring would focus on achieving key deliverables, overcoming specific domain and industry challenges, and facilitating growth. This would entail making a small commitment to join a temporary board of advisors and working closely with other thought leaders and experts to offer guidance to companies that are taking moonshots to deliver significant global impact.
Whether you want to work with early-stage teams, later-stage ventures —or anything in between—there are many ways you can get involved and share your expertise. Note that these are not your typical Silicon Valley startups, either. You won’t find a single photo-sharing or dating app here. These are companies leveraging the power of exponential technology—AI, robotics, nanotech, synthetic biology, 3D printing, blockchain, and more—to solve the world’s most intractable problems.
The Incubator convenes entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs from across the globe for an immersive learning and company-building program. The program focuses on helping people with moonshot ideas develop their MVPs and startups.
The mentor engagement for this program entails participating in multiple mentor days of ideation activities. You’ll meet with the founders to help them generate solutions to early challenges. Alternatively, expert lunches and networking email introductions offer mentors a lighter engagement opportunity.Apply to be a mentor
Who We Look for
Our ideal mentors have expertise in our various exponential technology verticals. These include (but are not limited to):
In addition, we are always on the lookout for people who have great entrepreneurial experience with starting, scaling, and ultimately exiting companies.
Ready to be a mentor? Get in touch with us today. Our startups would love to meet you.
Frequently Asked Questions
By mentoring at SU, you’ll see teams working on the cutting-edge of technology to create real global impact. Your input could be instrumental in guiding this success. In addition, you’ll meet other like-minded (and also very different-minded) experts from various tech disciplines. Our mentor program has facilitated great networking among both our participants and mentors.
You will also get access to exclusive gatherings such as fireside chats with our founders and a host of other special events. You’ll have opportunities to mix with our growing SU community, which hosts salons with our global chapters.
Our mentoring is voluntary, so SU does not offer compensation. In addition, we don’t think it’s appropriate to ask for equity from the startups in exchange for any light mentor engagements (i.e., a few calls and meetings).
If a mentor were to step into a more involved role, such as to take a board seat or do part-time work, the startups are welcome to discuss a more formal arrangement.
After you submit your application, we will contact you to schedule an onboarding phone call. During the call, we will brief you on upcoming programs and answer any questions you may have. You will then be placed on our mentor list to receive access to updates from SU Ventures.
We curate the startup-mentor matching process very thoughtfully. If we find an appropriate match for you, we’ll send you information about the startup to see if you’d be interested in connecting with the team (we’ll send the startup your overall info/bio as well). If you want to connect, we‘ll put you in touch with the startup so that you can arrange a time to speak. We will periodically check in with you to see if you have any questions or updates.