Rules

This page describes how the Mentor Pool platform works and the ground rules for participants.

Rules Version 1.0 Dated 18 Nov 2018
(Note: This document will see changes in the near future as we introduce more options and flexibilities.)

About this document

MentorPool.org is the mentoring platform created by Venture Center. The aim of this platform is to bring greater structure into the mentee-mentor interaction, reduce uncertainties and rough edges, simplify the process and make the interactions as fruitful as possible for both mentors and mentees.  The platform also aims to empower Community Managers to develop and evolve their own communities so as to develop depth, focus and quality in the mentee-mentor interactions.

This document lays out the nomenclature, the guiding principles, the ground rules, the rights and responsibilities and the procedures of the MentorPool.org platform.

Framework and nomenclature

The MentorPool.org platform has the following structure:

  1. A PLATFORM MANAGER manages the overall platform. His/ her role includes:
    • Initiation of and creating new COMMUNITIES
    • Identifying COMMUNITY MANAGERS for each COMMUNITY
    • Maintaining the UNIFYING GROUND RULES for the platform
    • Tracking the activity in each COMMUNITY and recommending closure of inactive COMMUNITIES.
    • Creating the facilitating TOOLS (ex, Mobile platform) and RESOURCES (ex, standardized agreements) for the platform.
  2. The platform has multiple COMMUNITIES. Each COMMUNITY is characterized by a unifying THEME and is managed by a COMMUNITY MANAGER.
  3. The THEME can have one or more of the following foci:
    • An industry sector, for ex: Biomedical diagnostics
    • A market space or segment, for ex: Health
    • A shared and pressing need of entrepreneurs, for ex: Regulation or Raising soft money or Raising venture capital
    • A problem or gap in the ecosystem, for ex: Distribution of Agro products
  4. Each COMMUNITY will consist of:
    • A COMMUNITY MANAGER
    • MENTORS
    • MENTEES
    • A set of GROUND RULES of the COMMUNITY built on top of the UNIFYING GROUND RULES of the platform.
    • A set of COMMUNITY-SPECIFIC RESOURCES for the COMMUNITY
  5. The unit of MENTOR-MENTEE exchanges will be a SESSION.  A SESSION will usually involve one MENTEE but may involve one or more MENTORS. Each SESSION will utilize MENTOR-HOURS.
  6. The COMMUNITY MANAGER will be the chief curator and architect of a COMMUNITY to ensure maximum results and satisfaction. His/her role includes:
    • He/she will create the GROUND RULES for the COMMUNITY.
    • He/she will invite (or remove) MENTORS into the COMMUNITY
    • He/she will invite (or remove) MENTEES into the COMMUNITY
    • He/ she will compile and manage COMMUNITY-SPECIFIC RESOURCES for the COMMUNITY. These include:
      • MENTOR time
      • Information, templates etc
    • He/she will create and publish analytics on the activities of the COMMUNITY.
  7. Regarding MENTORS,
    • Eligibility:
      • Has relevant expertise, experience, networks etc as judged by COMMUNITY MANAGER
      • Is willing to volunteer time.
      • Takes mentoring seriously and will honor commitments
      • Understands importance of confidentiality
      • Has the right orientation for mentoring early stage startups
      • Is should be clear that he/she is offering time and inputs with no return expectations
      • Can communicate clearly
      • Has no conflict of interests
    • Responsibilities:
      • Commit time (however small) and stick to it. Each MENTOR commits a certain number of MENTOR-HOURS per month. These can be on days and times as per MENTOR preferences.
      • Mentoring, share experiences and learning, coach and provide referrals without holding back.
      • Review and okay SESSION Action Points and Action take Reports written by MENTEES.
      • Be forthright (but polite) in accepting or refusing MENTEES or SESSIONS.
      • Report any annoyances and irresponsible behavior to the COMMUNITY MANAGER promptly.
      • Score every SESSION and MENTEE at the end of each SESSION.
    • Rights:
      • Expect MENTEES to prioritize ahead and honor every SESSION scheduled.
      • Expect MENTEES to propose timelines for actions planned and take actions promptly.
      • Expect MENTEES to document Action Points after every SESSION and provide an Action Taken Report before every SESSION.
      • Request a COMMUNITY MANAGER asking to join a COMMUNITY
      • Suggest new COMMUNITIES to PLATFORM MANAGER or MENTEES or MENTORS to COMMUNITY MANAGERS
      • Can request COMMUNITY MANAGER to disconnect from specific MENTEES giving reasons (and closing ongoing commitments on a good note).
      • Can request COMMUNITY MANAGER to allow them to exit the COMMUNITY giving reasons  (and closing ongoing commitments on a good note).
    • Benefits: We expect the following benefits accruing to MENTORS over time:
      • Opportunity to talk to a curated group of science-based/ inventive startups
      • Opportunity to be part of the Venture Center community
      • Invitations to participate in Mentor Mixers, M-Clinics, Venture Base Camps etc organized by Venture Center.
      • MENTORS will be able to build stronger relationships with a certain MENTEEs beyond the MentorPool.org platform. But once this fructifies, MENTOR must stop engaging with the concerned MENTEE on the MentorPool.org platform.
  8. Regarding MENTEES,
    • Eligibility:
      • MENTEE should be a startup founder or committed budding entrepreneur in the process of creating the startup.
      • Values the time invested by the MENTOR, takes mentoring sessions seriously and will honor commitments
      • Understands importance of confidentiality
      • Is willing and able to invest time and efforts in executing Action Points agreed with MENTOR.
    • Responsibilities:
      • Commit time to mentoring sessions and stick to it.
      • Engage constructively and in good faith with the MENTORS.
      • Propose and write the Action Points and Action take Reports of each SESSION
      • Be forthright  (but polite) in accepting or refusing MENTORS or SESSIONS.
      • Report any annoyances and irresponsible behavior to the COMMUNITY MANAGER promptly.
      • Score every SESSION and MENTOR at the end of each SESSION.
    • Rights:
      • Expect MENTORS to honor every SESSION scheduled and pre-agreed.
      • Expect MENTORS to review and okay SESSION Action Points and Action take Reports written by MENTEES.
      • Request a COMMUNITY MANAGER asking to join a COMMUNITY
      • Suggest new COMMUNITIES to PLATFORM MANAGER or MENTEES or MENTORS to COMMUNITY MANAGERS
      • Can request COMMUNITY MANAGER to disconnect from specific MENTORS giving reasons (and closing ongoing commitments on a good note).
      • Can request COMMUNITY MANAGER to allow them to exit the COMMUNITY giving reasons  (and closing ongoing commitments on a good note).
    • Benefits: We expect the following benefits accruing to MENTEES over time:
      • Opportunity to talk to a curated group of MENTORS
      • Opportunity to be part of the Venture Center community
      • Invitations to participate in Mentor Mixers, M-Clinics, Venture Base Camps etc organized by Venture Center.
      • Opportunity to find experienced business partners for your startup.  MENTORS will be able to build stronger relationships with a certain MENTEEs beyond the MentorPool.org platform. But once this fructifies, MENTOR must stop engaging with the concerned MENTEE on the MentorPool.org platform.

Guiding principles and orientation

All participants need to agree on the following guiding principles:

  1. The primary objective of the MentorPool platform is help early stage startup entrepreneurs with advise, mentoring and linkages.
  2. It is assumed that MENTORS are volunteering to be on this platform to help startups and not for their own immediate gains. MENTORS are on this platform to share their experiences and networks, have fruitful and enlightening discussion and participate in the excitement of the startup world. The MENTORS are expected to inform of their inability to continue being on the platform to COMMUNITY MANAGERS who shall take prompt action as appropriate.
  3. It is assumed that MENTEES have joined this platform because they need help of MENTORS and are serious about the mentoring SESSIONS. It should be clear that MENTEES are expected to honor their commitments in the Action Points of the SESSION in a sincere manner. Irresponsible, inconsiderate and unresponsive behavior will result in removal from the platform.
  4. In order to maintain quality, discipline and usefulness, the platform is curated and managed by COMMUNITY MANAGERS. The COMMUNITY MANAGERS will have the last say on matters in each COMMUNITY.
  5. All parties should be open to comments, feedback, invitations and withdrawals while keeping in mind the final goal of making the MentorPool.org platform a useful and high quality platform.

Unifying ground rules

  1. All participants are expected to be serious, committed and behave responsibly.
  2. Only the COMMUNITY MANAGER shall schedule all SESSIONS. This is to ensure the following:
    • The time committed by MENTORS is best utilized.
    • The MENTORS are not disturbed outside of the time committed by them.
    • All MENTEES get fair attention that balances need, urgency, importance, MENTOR availability and MENTOR’s priorities/ interests and strength of professional rapport between MENTOR and MENTEE.
  3. Both MENTOR and MENTEE should not set up SESSIONS outside of the MentorPool.org platform. This is to ensure that the “connect” is not misused by either party and it is easy for either MENTOR or MENTEE to withdraw from a MENTOR-MENTEE relationship or the platform conveniently and in a controlled manner.
  4. Both MENTOR and MENTEE are expected to honor the SESSIONS scheduled. Any urgent requests for changes in SESSIONS need to be communicated to the COMMUNITY MANAGERS.
  5. It is the objective of the platform to keep the motivations of all parties clear, transparent and simple. It is in this context that the following are recommended:
    • While signed up on the platform, MENTORS shall have no other objective in participating in SESSIONS except to help the MENTEE with advise. MENTORS should be careful not to mix their mentoring activities with any other interests such a) investing, b) offering to undertake co-founder or consulting roles, c) other business interests.
    • While signed up on the platform, MENTEES shall have no other objective in participating in the SESSIONS except receiving advice and other inputs. MENTEES should be clear that MENTORS are NOT a) fellow team members, b) service providers, c) investors etc
    • If a MENTOR and MENTEE think that they would like to get into a deeper engagement, they should first disclose this to the COMMUNITY MANAGER who shall suggest the next course fo action.
  6. The rules and disciplines for the sessions:
    • The MENTORS are expected to confirm that there is no conflict of interest in their participation in a session with a MENTEE
    • The discussion should limit itself to non-confidential matters. No NDA shall be signed between MENTORS and MENTEES.  However, all participants are expected to maintain confidentiality in good faith and provide such assurances to the Platform.
    • The sessions are free of cost to all participants
    • All participants are requested to keep the discussions in each SESSION focused and brief.
    • All SESSIONS must be preceded by the MENTEE sending a brief a) AGENDA and b) ACTION TAKEN REPORT to the MENTOR.
    • After every SESSION, the MENTEE is expected to send a brief list of ACTION POINTS to the MENTOR. Sent to him/her by the MENTEE.
    • After every SESSION, every MENTOR has to give a score to the MENTEE and separately for the SESSION. Similarly, the MENTEE also gives a score to the MENTOR and the SESSION. These scores shall be available to only to the COMMUNITY MANAGER and help him/her plan future SESSIONS.
  7. The COMMUNITY MANAGER will share aggregated and anonymized COMMUNITY statistics periodically with all COMMUNITY members.

Agreements

The following online agreements are planned:

  1. Terms of Service (at time of joining the Platform); includes a Confidentiality agreement.
  2. No conflict of interest declaration (while connecting a MENTOR to a MENTEE)

Community-specific ground rules

The COMMUNITY MANAGER can set up Community-specific ground rules to ride on top of the Unifying ground rules. These may include, for example,

  • Rules limiting the themes that can be discussed in each COMMUNITY
  • Rules regarding SESSION length, frequency, advance notification time for setting up SESSIONS etc.

Current scope

As of Nov 2018, the scope shall include:

  • Industry sectors
    • Biomedical invasive/skin contact/body orifice contact devices for treatment and intervention
    • Medical diagnostics based on electronics, optics etc
    • Pharma and biopharma
    • Agriculture
    • Food and nutrition
    • Energy generation
    • Energy storage and delivery
    • Waste and effluent management, Pollution control equipment
    • Process simulation, control, optimization etc
    • Others
  • Business types
    • B2C
    • B2B
    • B2G
  • Market and end-use sectors
    • Health and hygiene
    • Aids for the disabled and elderly
    • Food and nutrition
    • Animal husbandry
    • Energy
    • Environment and waste
    • Chemicals and materials
    • Infrastructure, mobility etc
    • Engineering services for industry
    • Others
  • Coaching the CXO for
    • Sharpening the value proposition
    • Pitching
    • Fund raising
    • Marketing
    • Sales and distribution
    • Stakeholder and board relationships
    • M&A
    • Others
  • “How to” topics
    • Grant funding proposal writing
    • Regulatory approvals
    • Technology and IP strategy
    • Technology marketing and licensing
    • Others

Contact for this policy

Nikita Jhaveri
MentorPool.org Team
Venture Center
100, NCL Innovation Park
Dr. Homi Bhabha Road
Pashan, Pune – 411008
Phone: +91-20-25865877/76
Email
nikita@venturecenter.co.in