Startup Advisors & Mentors - 5 Things to Beware of When Hiring and Adding Start-up Advisors


If you're considering a startup advisor or mentor, know the following tips and advice from experienced startup leaders.  Mentors and startups go together like ham and cheese, bacon and eggs, Batman and Robin. Startup advisors play a hugely valuable role in not only the foundation of the company in question, but the actionable decisions it will make on the long road ahead moving forward. However, just because you've located an equity startup advisor doesn't mean you've found someone who is the right fit for you. There are five key things you need to beware of when hiring a startup advisor for the best results.

#1 Beware of the Short-Sighted Startup Advisors

To a certain degree, startup mentors will need to be focused on the immediate future - after all, if you want to keep the car running you have to do whatever it takes to keep gas in the tank. However, if you find someone who is ONLY focused on short-term gains and is less concerned with the bigger picture, you may not be looking at someone who is acting with your best interests in mind. According to, this type of mentality will only double up on your problems down the road.



#2 Startup Experience Does Not Equal Experience In Your Industry


Just because someone has proven themselves to be a successful startup advisor does not necessarily mean they have what it takes to be of value in the industry you're operating in. Mentoring a tech startup is a world apart from mentoring a startup in another sector, for example, and the skills learned in one do not necessarily translate well into the other. Beware of someone who is just "generally" experienced and look for someone who can bring a lot to the table in terms of where you're trying to work.


#3 Beware of the Mentor for Mentor's Sake


One of the biggest mistakes you can make is bringing on a mentor just because you think it is what you're supposed to do. As your business grows and evolves, you will begin to notice certain gaps in your own area of expertise. These gaps are precisely what startup mentors are designed to fill. Someone who brings little to the table is ultimately someone you don't necessarily need to keep around.

#4 Beware of Someone Who Can't Commit

Always be on the lookout for someone who wants to lend their services as a startup advisor just because they're trying to further their own agenda. Any startup advisors you choose to work with should be in it for the long haul - they should be available when you need them to be and should be as active as you feel comfortable with. Someone who you can't get to commit to in-person meetings or who rarely picks up their own phone is a person you can probably do without. At the very least, it's someone who you need to re-evaluate your current relationship with before moving forward.

#5 Beware of the "On Paper" Startup Advisors

When a person says they're a startup advisor but isn't connected in a way that is beneficial to you or has little in the way of actual advise to offer, you're looking at someone who is a startup advisor "on paper." In theory, they fill an important role - in practice, you're looking at a different story. A quality startup advisor shouldn't just say they can contribute - they should be to provide you with results that will go a long way towards proving it in the first place.

These are just a few of the many things to beware of when hiring a startup advisor. One thing you should always trust, however, is your own instincts. If someone seems hugely qualified and talented and even passionate but doesn't feel like the right fit for you for whatever reason, you should consider looking elsewhere. You need someone who not only can fulfill the promises they make but also support what it is you're trying to do, which is not necessarily something you can "teach" as you go.

Startup Advisor and Investor, Ross Blankenship speaking at event with entrepreneurs and new startups.  

Startup Advisor and Investor, Ross Blankenship speaking at event with entrepreneurs and new startups.  


As a private equity and venture capital firm, Angel Kings makes calculated, intelligent investments in startups ranging from cybersecurity to biotechnology.  Get started investing private equity funds and venture capital today.  You can also learn more from expert on startup investing and private capital equity, Ross D. Blankenship.  Blankenship also serves as a mentor and advisor to companies in cybersecurity and biotechnology. 


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