So the big news here in Western Mass is the announcement of Mass Mutual investing in Valley Venture Mentors.
Short version of the article: Mass Mutual is giving 1.5 million to Valley Venture Mentors (VVM), plus 5 million to create a fund to provide capital to startups and entrepreneurs hungry to change the world.
It was just about a year ago that I attended my first VVM meeting and subsequently pitched for a startup I was working with called KnowledgeWare21 and we were accepted into the program. I’ve since remained with VVM as a mentor, and then now as a facilitator where I’ve have the pleasure to mentor with 2 fantastic startups in this round, Trext and uChampion.
Speaking from both sides of VVMs two sided market (entrepreneurs and mentors) I can accurately say the program provides tremendous value for both sides.
Entrepreneurs spend so much time in the “details” it’s really helpful for them to step back and get feedback at a high level from some pretty darn smart and experienced people. The culture is always about helping the entrepreneur and giving encouraging and positive feedback.
Mentors get to take a day from their usual work and cheer on exciting startups from the sidelines. Plus it feels good when mentors are able to provide value to the entrepreneurs whether it’s help with marketing ideas, technology, or to recommend someone for a position that needs to be filled.
Just back in February, VVM received a $150,000 grant. Since then the size of the meetings has seem to quadruple due to the word getting out and increased marking. Plus, VVM has created a coworking and meeting space for startups and mentors which just opened. Clearly VVM knows to execute quickly and ramp up the program while staying true to the original culture.
There’s no doubt VVM will use Mass Mutuals generous contribution to create even more value in this area as it helps local entrepreneurs execute on their vision and create jobs in the process.