Why one hour per week, two-months commitment?
We find this is a very reasonable commitment, easy to commit to, with time that is plenty enough for a good thorough review of a strategic plan or of a funding pitch. Longer programs (as we see in many organizations) often lose both the momentum and focus required for action and impose too many engagements. However, after the first meeting Mentor and Mentee can certainly organize themselves as they wish.
Why no NDAs?
Most leading Angels refuse signing NDAs because this is going into a complex contract, hence with a legal risk. that goes against the spirit of the relationship, especially with mentor that are Wharton Alumni.
Why no formal deliverables?
This is not paid consulting with people having to write a report to justify their fees. Also the diversity of cases, status and needs in startups is enormous so each situation will be different. We do expect however to get feedback, issues faced, success stories…
Risk of conflict of interest for employees
It is best that Alumni employed by an organization do write to their HR to declare that they are doing unpaid mentoring for a startup, giving details about the startup activity. They should do the same if they become investor (even if just receiving sweat equity). Equally they should never represent themselves as acting from their organization in dealings with the Startup, only as a volunteer Wharton Alumni. Disclosure and proper communication is important to avoid any issues.
What if I am offered a strategic board membership or sweat equity?
Any formal relationship beyond the mentoring requires a formal shareholder agreement that is an opportunity to define clearly the relationship and should include a Hold Harmless clause for the new investor. Best if this happens to be part of an angel club that is familiar with such process.
When specialist, payable advice is required
This can be part of the recommendation of a mentor as we do have several specific experts within the Wharton Alumni community. For instance communication or IT or M&A tasks are often contracted by startups. We aim to have a list of Alumni experts available and it is just important to separate the mentoring from any commercial transaction.
Write to Jérôme Nollet email@example.com. or Jérôme Le Grand firstname.lastname@example.org