Apply to First Round’s Fast Track Mentorship Program

See how we’re expanding our mentorship efforts outside of the First Round community

Back in 2016, we piloted a new program to connect members of the First Round community with high-impact mentorship. As we’ve iterated on the program in the four years since, we’ve used our learnings to distill the essential elements of successful mentorship and hone every detail of the initiative we now call Fast Track. Over the past eight cohorts, our powerful matching process and carefully-curated set of resources have helped thousands of pairs meet up for structured bi-weekly sessions — and walk away with a meaningful, career-changing experiences.

We started off with a focus on matching seasoned advisors and operators with the early-stage founders we’ve backed and the rising stars on their teams. For the past two years, we’ve experimented a bit by opening up Mentor applications to operators from outside the First Round community. But given the high demand for this program, we historically haven’t made that change on the Mentee side, reserving most of the spots for team members at First Round-backed companies.

As we’ve looked to kick off a new cohort of Fast Track this fall, we’ve been reflecting on this decision point of who gets to access this program we’re incredibly proud of — especially against the backdrop of the necessary conversations about systemic injustice and structural barriers to advancement in tech that have been playing out over the past several weeks.

We know that we have a very long way to go on our journey to build a more inclusive community that better reflects the diversity of our country. As a small step, we’re sharing today that we’re opening up spots in our upcoming Fast Track cohort to Black and Latinx founders and operators outside of the First Round portfolio.

Over the past four years, we’ve witnessed the incredibly powerful effects that mentorship can have on career trajectories, and we are hopeful that we can play a small role in helping underestimated individuals network and advance in the startup world. But before we share more details about the program, we’d like to acknowledge a few important points many have highlighted when it comes to mentorship and programming efforts in tech:

  • First, to avoid the risks that come with creating separate and potentially unequal structures, we have chosen to start by taking steps to open up our existing resources and forums.

As we shared in this Review story on mentorship last fall, the guiding focus for Fast Track has been to bottle the most powerful experiences that can change the course of careers, and deliver them to as many company-builders as we can — and we’re determined to make more progress on this work.

With that, we’re pleased to officially announce the 9th cohort of First Round Fast Track, running from Labor Day to Thanksgiving. If you’re interested in joining our next cohort as a Mentee or a Mentor, we invite you to apply here by 8/1.

You can find out more about Fast Track and what we’re specifically looking for in Mentees and Mentors below:

How the program works:

Fast Track is our 90-day mentorship experience pairing hundreds of tech leaders with founders and startup operators. From 9/8 to 11/20, mentees will meet bi-weekly with their mentors to discuss their professional goals, challenges of startup life, how to cultivate their leadership skills, and how to grow their companies.

We’ll match you based on your goals, your areas of development, plus similarities in functional area and professional experience. All pairs will meet virtually throughout the 90 days. Along the way, we’ll arm you with best practices and help you learn the most through your mentorship pair.

Who should apply:

You might be a good fit for a Mentee spot if any of the following resonates:

  • You’re a Black or Latinx founder or employee working at a startup (under 1,000 people) in any function, whether it’s marketing, sales, engineering, product, design, people ops, and more.

You might be a good fit for a Mentor spot if:

  • You’re a VP, mid-career superstar or director at a breakout tech company, which generally translates to 10+ years of experience — but we make exceptions for people with an uncanny ability to coach and wisdom beyond their years.

What you’ll get from joining:

  • An experience that’s meaningful by design: You’ll receive playbooks and best practices on how to make the most out of this mentorship experience. For mentees, mentorship can help you become your best self: whether that’s deepening your own understanding of your goals, receiving critical feedback and encouragement, leveling up in your career, or making new connections. For mentors, you have the amazing opportunity to transform someone’s career.

Apply here today! Application closes on August 1st.

Know anyone who might be a good fit? Please forward along this post and encourage them to apply.

The first round for remarkable founders.