Mentors are the key to success in any accelerator and our volunteer mentors have committed to the AgTech industry through their professional, personal, and volunteer roles. Mentors have a profound impact on the startups they work with (and vice versa). It is common for the mentors to become integral to the company, and they are often introduced to new ways of thinking, doing, and growing businesses.
Our mentors range from CEOs and directors of well-established companies, to retired executives and small business owners. Each mentor in our program is an expert in their field and while half hail from agribusiness, we also have mentors who specialize in tech, legal, HR, marketing, and design to provide resources and direction for whatever part of your business needs some TLC.
How It Works
The mentoring process will begin with each startup meeting each mentor in a 20-30 minute speed-date setting. This allows for a low-pressure, low commitment mechanism to connect with and learn from diverse ideas quickly, and adjust the business and pitch on a continuous basis without time lost in analysis-paralysis. After meeting with all the mentors, startups can then go back and target specific mentors for a more in-depth conversation about how to move their business forward. Mentors and startups separately rate each other for potential future connection and desire to engage.
Entrepreneurs in Residence
Based upon the needs of the class, a select group of Entrepreneurs in Residence will work closely with class members on a daily, on-site basis to help with the acceleration process. These EIRs provide focused, strategic, and tactical mentoring in the areas of product development, financial management, and operational strategy. They augment the one-on-one interaction between the startups, the program’s executive director, the board, investors, mentors, and community members associated with The Accelerator.
Here are our 2018 Entrepreneurs in Residence.
Strategy Advisor for KNL Works
Until 2015, Kerty directed the personal care division at Kemin Industries, a privately owned biochemical company that provides nutritional solutions to a variety of markets. Kerty launched the division that provides plant-based, safe and natural ingredients to the rapidly growing global personal care market. She first joined Kemin Industries in early 2006 as global marketing director, then became vice president of Kemin Industries and built the global marketing function. Earlier in her career, Kerty leveraged her skills in strategy to work with Technomic Consultants in Hong Kong and later with the Boston Consulting Group in Chicago where she advised Fortune 500 clients on a variety of business initiatives. Before moving to Iowa, Kerty worked in the tech industry engaging in business development and product management for two startup e-learning organizations in San Francisco.
Founder at c.Results
Charise Flynn, owner of C.Results, LLC, has over 20 years of experience cultivating companies from the ground up. Charise lends her expertise to CEO’s/entrepreneurs by guiding them through the journey of establishing a strategy that ultimately positions them to raise capital; growing teams in a way that makes sense while balancing future needs and budgets; and helping them create a culture that ultimately positions them to execute effectively. Charise has first-hand experience in all of these necessary steps as the former Chief Operating Officer of Dwolla. At Dwolla, she established and led teams in the areas of finance, legal, compliance, risk, customer support and human resources. Having scaled the company from 2-80+ team members, raised over $32M in tier-one venture capital, and oversaw the company’s expansion to San Francisco, she has a unique perspective of growing companies in both the Silicon Prairie and the Silicon Valley.