How Mentoring Works at Singularity University
The SU Mentor Program plays a monumental role in helping startups that are using exponential technologies to solve global grand challenges. These startups, because of their big visions, typically take a long time to achieve success and encounter unique challenges along the way. Our mentors leverage their deep expertise—and roll up their sleeves—to help SU companies solve complex challenges and refine their products, and ultimately position these ventures to have meaningful impact.
Our program offers amazing benefits to both mentors and mentees. As an SU mentor, you'll engage with ventures at an early stage, and thus you'll have the opportunity to drive real change and help our founders become hugely effective. You'll also gain an unparallelled preview of the emerging technologies of the future.
Working with our companies, mentors have helped founders to overcome major hurdles and achieve incredible outcomes, such as:
- Sustainably developing 3D printed medical parts in the developing world (fieldready.org)
- Integrating cutting-edge spectral cameras into food production to minimize food waste (impactvi.com)
- Implementing bioelectric sensors in large cities to ensure water purity (fredsense.com)
- Developing a strategy for FDA medical regulation processes (junobiomedical.com)
Among other achievements, our mentors have empowered startups to raise funding, close municipal partnerships, build out advisory boards, and ultimately scale their impact to reach communities across the globe.
In addition to the satisfaction of helping startups develop and succeed, our mentors also have a great time connecting with each other and meeting like-minded experts who are passionate about creating real impact in the world.Apply to be a mentor
“SU gave me a unique privilege to be around people I admire and deeply respect—amazing visionaries who are not afraid to challenge conventional wisdom and make commitment to changing lives of billions of people.”
Cofounder, CEO & CTO, Escape Dynamics
Our mentor community engages in both in-person and remote mentoring with various SU startups. Most in-person engagement happens during our three startup-specific programs.
Our original startup program brings founders together for an intensive 8-week development program. Typically these startups have demonstrated early traction, have 2 full-time co-founders, and are ready to scale their operations.
Given the maturity of the teams, Accelerator mentoring focuses on achieving key deliverables, overcoming specific domain and industry challenges, and facilitating growth.
Mentoring during this program involves a small commitment to join a temporary board of advisors. You will work closely with other thought leaders and experts to offer guidance to companies that are taking moonshots to deliver significant global impact. These are not your typical Silicon Valley startups. You won’t find a single photo-sharing or dating app here. These are companies leveraging the power of exponential technology—AI, robotics, nanotech, synthetic biology, 3D printing, and more—to solve the world’s most intractable problems.
The Global Solutions Program (GSP) convenes 80 finalists from across the globe for a 10-week learning and company-building program. Participants are experts in various scientific, entrepreneurial or impact fields. The first 5 weeks are devoted to deep dives into rapidly accelerating technologies with our world-class faculty. In the following 5 weeks, participants form teams and start working on projects.
The mentor engagement for this program entails participating in three mentor days of ideation activities. You’ll meet with each of the teams to help them generate solutions to early challenges.
Our incubator is a dynamic program for selected GSP teams deemed to have the greatest potential for success. Incubation provides these teams an additional eight weeks of support and programming to help them develop their ideas further. We choose companies for our incubator from among GSP graduates based on their team strength, ability to build out their concept, and early trajectory.
These are early-stage teams that are still working to build out their MVPs and undergo user testing. Mentorship for this program involves challenging the products and working to develop and refine team pitches.Start mentoring
Who We Look for
Our ideal mentors have expertise in our various exponential technology verticals. These include (but are not limited to):
In addition, we are always on the lookout for people who have great entrepreneurial experience with starting, scaling, and ultimately exiting companies.
Ready to be a mentor? Get in touch with us today. Our startups would love to meet you.
Frequently Asked Questions
By mentoring at SU, you’ll see teams working on the cutting-edge of technology to create real global impact. Your input could be instrumental in guiding this success. In addition, you’ll meet other like-minded (and also very different-minded) experts from various tech disciplines. Our mentor program has facilitated great networking among both our participants and mentors.
You will also get access to exclusive gatherings such as fireside chats with our founders and a host of other special events. You’ll have opportunities to mix with our growing SU community, which hosts salons with our global chapters.
Our mentoring is voluntary, so SU does not offer compensation. In addition, we don’t think it’s appropriate to ask for equity from the startups in exchange for any light mentor engagements (i.e., a few calls and meetings).
If a mentor were to step into a more involved role, such as to take a board seat or do part-time work, the startups are welcome to discuss a more formal arrangement.
After you submit your application, we will contact you to schedule an onboarding phone call. During the call, we will brief you on upcoming programs and answer any questions you may have. You will then be placed on our mentor list to receive access to updates from SU Labs.
We curate the startup-mentor matching process very thoughtfully. If we find an appropriate match for you, we’ll send you information about the startup to see if you’d be interested in connecting with the team (we’ll send the startup your overall info/bio as well). If you want to connect, we‘ll put you in touch with the startup so that you can arrange a time to speak. We will periodically check in with you to see if you have any questions or updates.