Mentor teams are extremely valuable for hardware startups who face diverse challenges. Scion DTU’s team mentoring program is based on a mentoring model developed by the MIT Venture Mentoring Service program in Boston.
As a hardware startup, you face challenges that do not apply to software and service markets. The time it takes to succeed in the market is considerably longer. In the wake of technology and product development you are faced with challenges in relation to testing, quality assurance, certification, production maturity, ramp-up of production, mass production, storage, management of supply chain and logistics, distribution channels, returns, warranty and service and working capital. To tackle these challenges you need advice from professionals with solid industry experience – and the more the better. At Scion DTU we match startups with teams of 3-4 mentors to provide this needed experience.
Danish Tech Challenge 2016
Our Hardware Startup accelerator program Danish Tech Challenge (DTC) just kicked off and one of the key catalysts of the acceleration process here is the mentoring that most of the companies receive through Scion DTU’s mentor program. DTC is a four-month accelerator program for high-tech hardware startups. For each of the past three years, a group of 20 startups have been selected among 60-80 candidates to compete for a prize of half a million Danish Kroner. The participating startups are typically within medtech, optics, sensors and connected devices.
In December a jury will decide which one of the 20 startups has the greatest potential and has advanced most within the four month program. As part of the program the startups are offered office facilities, network, progress meetings, a prototype workshop, expert advice, inspirational talks and technical and commercial advice.
Technology that optimizes Danish Industry
We recently composed the first mentor teams for a selected group of the DTC participants at one of our monthly mentor meetings. Anders Ostergaard, CEO of Fluidan stopped by to share his experience of having participated in DTC 2015 where their mentor team helped them to sharpen their commercial thinking. Fluidan aims to be a GameChanger in the production of industrial complex fluids with their RheoStream™ technology and was a runner-up in DTC 2015 competition.
The mentor Team supported Fluidan on strategic and operational levels in relation to their business model, value chain, strategic focus, investor process, sales process, partner agreements and customer relationships. CEO Anders Ostergaard was impressed by the level of expertise and commitment among the mentor team and remember it as being extremely effective having an entire team of 3+ mentors.
We hope that the 20 hardware startups competing in Danish Tech Challenge 2016 will experience the same value in mentoring as Fluidan. Having met them all here at Scion we can assure you that a lot of interesting new technologies are on the way!
Scion DTU’s team mentoring program is based on a mentoring model developed by the MIT Venture Mentoring Service program in Boston. A little more than two and a half years ago after our immersion training with MIT VMS we matched the first mentor teams to companies in our science and tech park environment. Through those past two years we have built a network of +70 mentors who have offered mentoring to +60 companies. This has resulted in approximately 280 mentor meetings which roughly amounts to 1,600 hours of volunteer mentoring. When asked 90% of the companies experience that the mentoring has contributed to a faster development of the company, 95% express that the mentoring has created value for them personally and 95% will recommend the mentoring program to other companies.
This mentoring model is highly effective. We are proud of the results and continue to be grateful for the inspiration and ongoing support we have received from MIT VMS.
Interested in hardware startups and business development? Read “Can Hardware Startups be Lean?”