Startup Spotlight #178: Mentorcam
Mentorcam gives you access to high-profile advisors and experts for 1:1 advice on professional growth.
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Rune Hauge is the CEO and Co-founder of Mentorcam. Prior to founding Mentorcam, Rune founded three different companies and has had one successful exit under his belt. He graduated from business school in NHH and Duke University before embarking on his startup journey.
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Startup Spotlight: Mentorcam
Problem: Most people will agree that mentorship can have a tremendous impact on people's personal and professional growth. Yet, the vast majority of people that want a mentor have never had one.
Market: The global market for personal development surpassed $40B last year and is expected to grow to $55B in 2022.
Solution: Mentorcam is a marketplace where people can access high-profile mentors for 1:1 advice and personalized feedback through live calls, video, or text messages.
Team: We are a 10-person team including my co-founder Benjamin and myself.
Hauge: At Mentorcam, we are extremely fortunate to have the support of world-class mentors from diverse backgrounds who believe in our mission. Having brought in high-profile leaders across a number of backgrounds and industries shows that there are people willing to share their expertise, and support millions of people who are facing their own challenges every day. The way we see it, every person that connects with one of our mentors and is able to apply the advice received to their lives and work, is a success.
Hauge: The biggest struggle on my journey as an entrepreneur has been finding product-market fit. This is something that is somewhat difficult to define and quantify. Someone once described it to me with the following metaphor: pre-product-market fit it's like trying to push a heavy boulder up a hill. You keep pushing with every muscle fiber of your body, every excruciating inch of uphill movement feels like a massive struggle. Then you slip and the boulder rolls back down the hill again all of a sudden and you're back at square one, except this time you're crazy exhausted. Yet as a founder, you keep trying. Maybe there's another way I can get this boulder rolling. You give it another go, perhaps the tenth time. But at least now you know that you need to try a different pushing technique, perhaps even a different path up the hill.
Suddenly, the boulder rolls a little more easily, a little faster than last time. Maybe you're at the top of the hill? You push it again, and lo and behold now it's rolling a little of itself. You push it once again, and eventually, astonishingly, you find yourself running after the boulder downhill to keep up! This is it, you've achieved product-market fit. Getting the boulder to roll on its own accord has been a massive struggle with every single startup I've founded and the lesson I've learned is that you want to stay lean while rolling the boulder up the hill. Start spending to keep up once you've figured out what moves the boulder, that's how you ultimately scale.
Hauge: Seek out advice from people you trust who have traveled the journey before you and be receptive to constructive criticism. You can save yourself a tremendous amount of time by learning from other peoples’ mistakes. That said, be picky who you choose to seek out advice from; for example when I was fundraising for the first time I picked the brains of friends who had successfully raised a multi-million dollar seed round. When we found ourselves stuck on growth I reached out to people in my network who had faced a similar problem and overcame it.
In my case, these people were other startup founders that I knew through an existing network of friends or partners in Y Combinator (YC) who had gone through the founder's journey. A great example of this working out well is where I asked YC alumni about how to successfully apply to YC and using this insight, we were able to successfully get in. In fact, this experience further reiterated our confidence in our mission. We had the network to seek friendly mentors for advice - what about those who do not?
Three Cool Founders You Should Know About:
Hauge: Here are three founders you should check out next!
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