More than a Mentor
Standing at the bottom of a waterfall, I used my positive thoughts to slowly float to the top. But… it wasn’t actually the middle of the wilderness—I lifted my VR headset to see the bustling cafe of actual reality. My guide in this immersive neurofeedback experience with a brain-computer interface (BCI) was Sarah Hill, founder and CEO of StoryUp Studios. She and her company created a healing product called HEALium— the world's first virtual and augmented reality platform powered by brainwaves and heart rate via consumer wearables.
Sarah was in the first cohort of WXR Fund’s accelerator program and we were paired together as part of the mentorship aspect of the accelerator. We connected over video for months before finally meeting at that restaurant at SXSW in March 2017. After Sarah showed me the demo in that meeting, we discussed strategy, fundraising and marketing and ultimately stumbled up on the name of their first product, HEALium.
A key part of the WXR Accelerator is the 1:1 mentorship that each founder has with an expert in the field. It has been great to see over time that some mentors and founders continue their relationships and become advisors, investors, and friends.
In the first weeks of each WXR Accelerator program, we take time to get to know the start-ups and their current needs. We then pair the founders with one of the hundreds of individuals in our network to guide them in addressing the potential gaps and challenges the companies may experience over the next three months and beyond. Previous mentors have included experts such as Joanna Popper from HP, Sarah Downey from Accomplice VC, and Ishita Kapur from Microsoft.
Founders from previous cohorts say their mentor relationships have helped them with:
Term sheet negotiation
Pitch event introductions and feedback
Connections to advisors in XR and tech
Hiring advice and recommendations
A safe space to share fears, hopes, challenges, and successes in the entrepreneurial journey
Applications for the WXR Accelerator are open through July 31. The WXR Accelerator is comprised of four main parts— online sessions/office hours, mentorship, community and programming/events (including a pitch showcase with global investors). WXR team member Eva Hoerth did a great job describing the overall benefits of the Accelerator in this recent post.
Over a 1.5 years later and long after our official WXR relationship ended, Sarah and I continue to connect regularly and assist each other in both our efforts (and I’ve joined the WXR Fund as a managing partner!). I look forward to helping form other mentor relationships in the upcoming WXR Accelerator cohort.
by Amy LaMeyer, Managing Partner at WXR Fund