Unreasonable Mentor Ideal Profile

The most critical foundation of the Unreasonable East Africa model is mentorship. We believe it is the most important component of guiding our entrepreneurs to creating financially viable, scalable companies that will improve the lives of millions of people. Therefore, we’re highly selective of the Mentors we bring to the Institute and look for people who, at the highest level, meet the following six criteria:

  1. They believe in the power of entrepreneurs to tackle some of the world’s biggest social and environmental problems.
  2. They have achieved success at the scale that our entrepreneurs aspire to, meaning they’ve brought hundreds of people out of poverty or sold a company for $1 billion. In other words, for entrepreneurs who are looking to build a food franchise, they want to learn from the founder of McDonald’s.
  3. They aren’t just lucky, they’re good. There’s a saying that goes, “If you succeed once, you may be lucky. If you succeed twice, you’re good.” Success in one company may be just luck. We’re looking for Mentors who have achieved repeated success (example: Unreasonable Mentor Kamran Elahian started 10 companies, 7 of which were acquired or IPO’d for between $70 million and $1 billion).
  4. They would be great mentors to us (i.e. the Unreasonable Team). As young, first-time entrepreneurs, we are in many ways our own customer. And we vet a lot of mentors by asking ourselves, “would I want to have this person as my own mentor for the next year?” Some of this is about understanding if this potential mentor has not only achieved a great deal, but can also teach how they did that.
  5. If we could, we’d have a beer with them every week. We want to bring in Mentors who we could go to bat for, be of service to, and advocate to our fellows. And it’s hard to do that with Mentors that we just don’t feel like we could have an on-going relationship with.
  6. They are driven by values. We want mentors who are role-models of ethical leadership and who model the principles we select for in our entrepreneurs. We also seek those who want to be mentors for the right reason. Some people want to join out of ego, and we have turned away such mentors in the past (even telling them we didn’t believe they brought the humility we were looking for).

How We Select Mentors

It’s a simple process! Here’s how it looks:

  1. Initial touchpoint. We get introduced, they email us cold, or we email them cold. We then take a careful look at their background and read whatever we can about them online to see if it’d be worth having the next conversation with them. If yes, we move forward.
  2. Phone Call / In-Person Meeting. We meet with them to hear their story, learn what drives them and get a sense of their interest in being a mentor, why they want to do it, and if they can make the time commitment.
  3. We test their mentoring abilities. We introduce them to 1-3 Fellows who we think they are relevant to to get that Fellows’ feedback on whether or not they were helpful.
  4. We get feedback. We get in touch with both the Fellow and the Mentor. If the Fellow has really positive feedback and the Mentor wants to continue to engage with that Fellow, then we make the Mentor an official one! In some cases, we don’t go through this step in the process (this is more for Lead Mentors, who commit to working with one venture for the long-term rather than Expert Mentors, who commit to leading a workshop at the Institute).
  5. Making it official. We add their photo and bio to the website, confirm their dates, and book their flights!