Mentor Hours: Startups’ chance to learn from the best

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Mentor Hours is your chance to utilise Web Summit’s contact book and meet the founders and CEOs of major tech companies in your industry.

This November, tech industry professionals from around the world will come together in Lisbon for Web Summit 2023. Many of these industry leaders got their start as entrepreneurs in startups, and emerging companies coming to the event can learn from their experience during our Mentor Hours sessions.

These pre-scheduled, 45-minute interactive meetings pair you and up to 10 similar startups with a suitable business expert. Our data science team uses custom-built algorithms to match our mentors to your industry, location and chosen content track.

Your mentor will lead a meeting in the Mentor Hours area on the exhibition floor, with time allocated for you to ask questions and share the challenges you encounter in your startup.

What are the Mentor Hours’ tracks?

Mentor Hours is divided into four distinct areas:


  • Lead: Get to grips with leadership, strategic planning and entrepreneurship.
  • Engage: Learn the ins and outs of marketing, social engagement and PR.
  • Build: Discover more about UI and UX, hardware and software development or front and back-end development.
  • Grow: Get advice on raising capital and general financial management.

Each track features different business leaders who will draw on their insights – and the collective experiences of the attending startups – to discuss the issues relevant to you.

What are the benefits of Mentor Hours?

Advice specific to you

Getting personalised insights from a business mentor is a privilege not every startup experiences. Having this guidance tailored to your industry, market and location is priceless.

Mentor Hours is all about pairing you with a business leader who matches your startup – not just whoever is available. This means you can gain a solid understanding of how to tackle the issues facing your business, and how to get ahead of the competition.

Star-power mentors

Our past mentors represented some of the biggest names in the tech and investments sectors, including Crunchbase, NOKIA Solutions and Networks, Cavalry Ventures, Branch, and Sony. These business leaders got to where they are because they understand the challenges that all young entrepreneurs face.

Practice makes perfect, and our Mentor Hour hosts are among the most experienced professionals in the business world.

Global expertise

Web Summit brings together tech enthusiasts and heads of companies from more than 160 countries worldwide. Mentor Hours is one of the only resources that offers access to business mentors with a broad understanding of a range of markets.

That means you can benefit from an outside perspective on regional issues facing your startup, while having this advice tailored to your industry.

How can startups join Mentor Hours?

Companies that are part of Web Summit’s ALPHA and BETA startup programmes can apply to be part of Mentor Hours. Startups can only submit one application to join Mentor Hours – multiple applications will not be accepted.

If your application is successful, you must choose your top two preferences to determine which mentor you are paired with. Our data science team will do their best to ensure that as many startups as possible are matched appropriately.

From there, we will provide your mentor with your contact details so the conversation can kick off even before the conference begins. The Web Summit team should contact you by early November with the details of your mentor and the time of your meeting.

Apply to join the Web Summit 2023 startup programme before registering for Mentor Hours. If you already have, you can apply for Mentor Hours here.

Main image of Mentor Hours with Jager McConnell of Crunchbase during day one: Diarmuid Greene/Web Summit (CC BY 2.0)

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