WHAM: Wharton Alumni Mentors for Startups
Helping the builders of a new world!
A multi-country initiative embedded within local Wharton Alumni associations
Startups provide solutions to new challenges and contribute to the rapid and profound transformations in society that we are witnessing today. Led by dreamers and visionaries, startups are a powerful tool for improving the world. At the same time, Wharton graduates are trained and experienced to help businesses succeed and become important actors of these changes in society.
The goals of volunteer mentoring are straightforward. The most frequent are to review and give advice relating to the strategic plan or the pitch for investors. But the discussions can extend to advice on communications and the operational structure to helping face a particular challenge and networking. The framework of the program is one hour per week for two months. However each situation is different, and the details are agreed upon between the startup and the mentor.
Wharton Alumni Mentors is an informal structure of volunteers operating within the local alumni associations with strong support from their boards. The goal is to manage a simple process to allow alumni to participate in this mentoring adventure. As of December 2020, WHAM has already logged over 100 mentor volunteers in Europe, and set up over 20 mentorships with some relationships leading to investor pitches and continuing relationships.
The connection Mentor/Mentee is made by a selection team after consultation (startups do not choose their mentors). If both parties agree, they are put in touch and start the dialogue. We provide a Mentoring Program Charter to ensure a successful relationship. Of course, the mentor leaves the mentee fully responsible for their operational decisions.
Often mentoring will be associated with preparation for fundraising. In this case, the mentor will direct the startup back to the angel investment club/fund or accelerator that originated the mentoring request.
How it works
- Select startups that would benefit the most and send us their contact details + elevator pitch
- WHAM chooses the mentor and makes the connection with the start-up
- At the end of the mentoring period, the parties are encouraged to give feedback