“The outside view of a mentor can challenge an entrepreneur to honestly address the most critical weaknesses of his business model and, eventually, to create a more successful product” (Luca Bianchi, mentor Swiss FinTech Mentoring Program).

Mentoring is a great opportunity for both parties, but to realize its full potential there has to be a functioning match.

The matching event

On the 6th of July the upper floor of the Impact Hub Zurich was crowded with people and full of lively conversations, all part of the first matching event of the Swiss FinTech Mentoring Program that started this year. The event aimed at providing space to get to know one another personally during a first meeting between startups and mentors, all taking part in the program.

After a short introduction from the president of the Swiss Finance + Technology Association, John Hucker, the speed dating between mentors and mentees began. Startups had 7 minutes to introduce their concept and venture to the mentors seated around their table. A quick speech and several questions allowed for a first impression and enabled to see whether there is space for future collaboration. The procedure was then repeated with the groups of mentors rotating from one table to another waiting to discover all ideas. This format allowed for plenty of lively conversations to take place in less than 2 hours of overall meeting time. Most importantly it gave the participants a chance to evaluate with whom they would like to work with throughout the program.

The participants’ impressions

Last week’s atmosphere of shared enthusiasm characterised the entire event as mentors and mentees alike had been looking forward to meet one another and form promising teams. All the participants are passionate about what they are working and believe in the potential that the mentoring program has to offer. This ensures a positive working environment right from the start and an unparalleled chance for the Swiss FinTech startups to benefit from a wide range of international expertise with some of the mentors based outside of Switzerland.

Word from the startups:

“I think that this great initiative could bring me the competitive edge to succeed in this ever evolving environment. Getting unparalleled advice and feedback from some key players in the market will definitely help Wealthinitiative to reach its full potential. The introduction meeting definitely gave me a glimpse of that” – Douglas Azar.

Word from the mentors:

“I decided to be a mentor with SFTA because I have a passion for technology and I want to make my expertise in the area of growth marketing available to Swiss startups.  I particularly enjoy working on startups with global aspirations. I usually help steering the customer acquisition and activation process. Most founders I meet are busy with the product development and they usually welcome my inputs from the growth marketing perspective to achieve rapid scale and take advantage of creative, low cost ways to activate new customers” – Luke Szkudlarek.

“The mentoring program is a win-win-situation for the mentor and the mentee: while the mentee can benefit from the mentor’s professional know-how and experience, the mentor gets a deep insight of the challenges of a startup entrepreneur and what strategic decisions they have to take right at the beginning” – Dominik Witz.

“Mentoring programs are a great way to meet interesting and inspiring people – for both mentors and entrepreneurs. Start-ups can benefit from expert input from people with a broad variety of professional backgrounds and different perspectives” – Luca Bianchi.

Next steps:

All preferences have been registered and the first matches are already communicated to participants. Next week all the matches will be announced to signal the start  of the mentoring journey for the first 13 startups. However, the program is ongoing and Swiss Finance + Technology Association is happy to welcome new participant at any time. For more information visit the Mentoring Program page.

If you are a startup in FinTech field and have an ambition to become a world-class successful company, please register here. Selected candidates, regardless of their stage of development, will be invited to join the program and benefit from an extensive expertise of our mentors.

If you want to become a mentor and share your expertise and network to help Swiss FinTechs grow, please sign in here. The top five profiles sought include experienced entrepreneurs, senior financial professionals, technology leaders, international contacts, and design experts.