UnLtd USA Mentor Guidelines

The UnLtd USA approach to mentoring entrepreneurs tackling pressing social, environmental and civic problems.


Welcome to the UnLtd USA Mentor Network!

In this guidebook, you will find:

  • An overview of the UnLtd USA approach toward mentoring entrepreneurs tackling pressing problems, your role as a Mentor and what to expect
  • Information about the UnLtd USA program and the types of entrepreneurs we back
  • Further background on UnLtd USA

Mentoring with UnLtd USA

Mentors come to UnLtd USA with deep entrepreneurial, investment or industry expertise. We believe that as much as our entrepreneurs will gain from working with you, you will also have a meaningful experience working with our entrepreneurs and learning about the development of social impact startups.

Your Role as a Mentor:

Each entrepreneur is matched with a dedicated Venture Partner or Venture Fellow from the UnLtd USA team, who will run monthly meetings in a format similar to board meetings.

UnLtd USA Mentors complement this directly and make up a critical component of our Venture Support program. 

Working in parallel with the UnLtd USA team, your focus is to guide our entrepreneurs to (1) test and validate their impact and business models and (2) identify and pull in the resources, talent and support they need for success. As a Mentor, your role is primarily to:

  1. Constantly question, challenge and push our entrepreneurs to identify, justify and test their working hypotheses. We know that you come from many years of experience and expertise. Our hope is that those years of experience will help our entrepreneurs shortcut the learning process as they test and build their impact and business models and step into their role as a founder/CEO.
  2. Connect our entrepreneurs with further support, resourcescontacts and capital (when appropriate) that can support their progress. We know that the most effective entrepreneurial ecosystems in the world are ones that quickly route further support and smart capital to entrepreneurs at the right time. Our hope is that your role in Austin's startup community will expand our entrepreneurs’ networks and access to people and these critical resources.

We ask that you:

  • Push our entrepreneurs to identify and address the tough questions early on
  • Open your networks to our entrepreneurs where appropriate
  • Be an ambassador and advocate for UnLtd USA entrepreneurs

Time Commitment:

In the first three months of our program, we host monthly Mentor Drinks. Please attend at least one of these and interact with founders you have an interest in working with.

Early on in the program, your interaction with our entrepreneurs may come at the suggestion of the Venture Support team, but ultimately will be Founder- and Mentor-driven, particularly as the program progresses.

Your interaction with your Founder is up to you; some Mentors may meet with entrepreneurs on a one-off basis to tackle a specific and targeted challenge, others may take a more proactive role, meeting one - two times monthly and even joining the entrepreneur's Advisory Board.

Cohort 2 Mentor Drinks

  • Thursday, April 23rd, 5:30 - 8:00pm
  • Thursday, May 28th, 5:30 - 8:00pm

About UnLtd USA

Twice a year, we select cohorts of Austin's most promising entrepreneurs tackling pressing social, environmental and civic challenges, backing them with seed funding and twelve months of customized, ongoing support:

  • 3 months of accelerator-style workshops, mentor events and one-on-one support from the UnLtd USA team
  • 9 months of portfolio management with our Venture Support team, on a one-on-one basis or as a participating member on our entrepreneurs' Advisory Boards

Our goal over the course of the year is for each entrepreneur to develop key skills as a social entrepreneur, to build relationships with other founders, to establish the networks they need for success and to accelerate their progress towards further financing, scale and impact.

Who we look for

Our entrepreneurs undergo an extensive selection process, including the submission of an online application, due diligence conducted by the UnLtd USA Search & Selection team and a pitch to a Final Selection Panel of external advisors, investors and entrepreneurs. At each step along the way, entrepreneurs are evaluated against for criteria:

  • Entrepreneur: does the entrepreneur and founding team have the background, skills and networks necessary for success in their venture
  • Impact: does the entrepreneur propose a solution to a pressing, large-scale problem that if successful, could serve as a macro-level solution to the problem
  • Enterprise: has the entrepreneur identified a business model with a large and growing market to support their impact, with evidence of demand from their initial customers
  • Trajectory: does the entrepreneur have an early track record of success, a sensible plan and use of funds for the next twelve months and a big vision with ambition to scale

We work with both for-profit and non-profit impact enterprises, with the requirement that all initiatives have the ability to create a revenue-generating enterprise that will sustain and drive their impact. Some UnLtd USA investees will be high-growth organizations that are good candidates for venture-style equity funding, while others will most effectively scale their impact through alternative growth strategies and funding models. We support entrepreneurs to find the most effective and efficient strategy for scaling impact.

Point of Contact

We’re here to help! If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact Zoe, Founder & Executive Director, at any point:

Zoe Schlag | zoe.schlag@unltdusa.org | 303-204-8856

Next Steps – How to Get Involved

  1. Have a look at our UnLtd USA investees
  2. If you didn’t receive this guidebook from Zoe, please email Zoe to ask about mentoring with our entrepreneurs
  3. If you know a mentor who would be a good fit to mentor our investees, please nominate them
  4. Still have questions? Email Zoe at zoe.schlag@unltdusa.org