Mentoring hits the big time


While free mentoring is available at incubators, accelerators, and through academic and non-profit agencies such as Social Innovation Forum, the newly launched Oceans is the first time I’ve seen mentoring as an integral part of a venture outside of the incubators like TechStars and Y-Combinator.

The article Facebook, Foursquare alums help founders spend their millions on Pitchbook makes it clear that unlike the above sources of mentoring – all aimed at very early stage ventures – Oceans is going where the money is, ventures with 8 figure A rounds.

Oceans in fact coins a new term to categorize itself:

What is scarce? Successful entrepreneurs willing and able to advise the next generation of founders. Former Foursquare president Steven Rosenblatt and two former Facebook  executives, Joshua Rahn and Glenn Handler, have launched a mentorship engine called Oceans to offer that expertise to founders and fill the gap they say exists between startups and venture capital firms.

Oceans shrewdly targets not only newly flush ventures, but also the VCs that fund them.

Oceans is a mentorship engine powered by an impassioned team of experienced, hands-on builders serving as a founder’s most trusted partner and an investor’s best insurance policy.

By providing expertise, honest insights and access to a world-class network, Oceans ensures early-stage companies shorten their time to scale and investors put their smart money to work.

Oceans works closely with founders and executive teams to actively solve problems that early-stage companies encounter across all aspects of their business in order to successfully achieve key growth milestones.

In its list of what they constantly hear that founders need mentorship heads the list:

  • Mentorship: The ear and voice of confidence and expertise to facilitate learning how to tackle the toughest business challenges
  • Growth Planning: A way to expand their business through proven approaches
  • Capital Allocation: Strategies for deploying resources effectively
  • Honest Feedback: Transparent dialogue around roadblocks preventing actual business building to get to real priorities
  • A Network: Access to world-class builders

Oceans is really based on two hypotheses: one, that newly funded ventures need guidance on how to deploy their capital and other issues common to high growth firms and two, that investors don’t always have the time or resources to give ongoing thorough and tactful guidance to their portfolio companies at the ground level.

Entrepreneurs still need continued access to experienced, long-term builders who understand both success and failure in order to establish companies that are built to last.

As a believer that new ventures are team-first I convinced that if Oceans doesn’t succeed it will be because one or both of their founding hypotheses are wrong. Once couldn’t ask for a better team. The not only have industrial strength startup experience but deep domain expertise as well.

They have not only deep experience in blue chip tech companies, but also have a very broad network of connections, particularly in New York City where the venture is headquarters. In addition to this experience Glenn Handler one of the three managing partners has world class recruiting chops have spent 20+ years in recruiting and HR, most recently at Facebook.

Oceans is already making a big PR splash, check out their news page. I will be very interested to learn more about their business model, which they say is a combination of cash and equity.

And I’ll be monitoring news about them very carefully. Too bad they don’t seem to have an RSS feed 😦

Author: Mentorphile

Mentor, coach, and advisor to entrepreneurs, small businesses, and non-profit organizations. General manager with significant experience in both for-profit and non-profit organizations. Focus on media and information. On founding team of four venture-backed companies. Currently Chairman of Popsleuth, Inc., maker of the Endorfyn app for keeping fans updated on new stuff from their favorite artists.

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