Crush Your Career Goals with First Round’s Fast Track Mentorship Program — Apply Now

First Round
7 min readJan 17


As we turn the page to a new year, plenty of folks are setting ambitious goals to tackle in the coming months. January is a month brimming with opportunity (and shiny new annual plans). But as anyone who’s previously attempted to make resolutions knows well, there’s a wide gulf between setting your intentions and actually sticking with them — particularly at a startup, where plans are quickly upended and flexibility is required to stay afloat with the shifting tides.

In our experience, there’s immense power in bringing someone else aboard to hold you accountable to your goals, encourage as you make necessary pivots, and cheer you on to think even bigger.

Back in 2016, we spun up our own structured mentorship program, running a small proof-of-concept with 20 mentor/mentee pairs in our First Round community. Our mission was to bring more rigor to the mentorship process — from the frequency of meetings, to the content, to measuring effectiveness.

In the years since, Fast Track has become one of our widest-reaching programs at First Round — we’ve now got 13 cohorts under our belt, with over 3,400 mentorship pairs. We provide the structure for an experience that’s meaningful by design, with playbooks, resources and best practices on how to make the most out of the mentorship experience. And within that structure, each one of these thousands of mentorship pairings is able to blossom into a relationship that’s incredibly unique, best suited to serve the mentee’s needs and the mentor’s expertise.

Some mentees entered Fast Track with goals to level up from individual contributor to managers. Others made a cross-functional leap, looking for mentorship guidance as they flexed new skills and drank from the firehouse. And some mentees leaned on their mentors as they joined a startup for the first time, and tackled all the nuances that come from going from big to small.

And our mentors get a ton of value out of the program, too (in fact, many have returned to mentor for multiple Fast Track cohorts). The feedback we hear time and time again is that while mentors sign up for the program with the goal to share knowledge, they end up learning right alongside their mentee. Whether it’s sharpening their coaching and leadership skills in 1:1 sessions with their mentee, sitting in on a workshop exclusive for Fast Track Executives, or connecting with folks and building deep relationships across the First Round community, there are tons of tangible benefits to signing up as a mentor (including the opportunity to lift up other folks as you climb).

Apply here to be a mentor or a mentee! Applications close on February 10th.

How the program works:

Fast Track is our 90-day mentorship experience pairing hundreds of tech leaders with founders and startup operators. From around President’s Day to Memorial Day, mentees meet bi-weekly with their mentors to discuss their professional goals, the challenges of startup life, how to cultivate their leadership skills, and how to grow their impact.

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 get the most out of your mentorship pair.

In addition to those impactful 1:1 sessions, mentors and mentees also receive invitations to events within the larger Fast Track cohort — past events have included angel investing 101, public speaking workshops, Q&A events with First Round’s partners, and more. All participants also have the opportunity to connect with other mentors and mentees via virtual coffee chats, an exclusive online community, and networking events.

The time commitment for mentors and mentees:

  • From March 6th to May 26th, mentors and mentees will meet every other week for one hour, a total of six 1:1 sessions.
  • There is mandatory training for both mentors and mentees the week of February 27th.
  • There is optional programming for everyone in the Fast Track community — but you’ll get the most out of Fast Track if you make time to attend a few of these extra sessions and events.

Who should apply:

In the past, given the high demand for this program, we reserved mentee spots for team members at First Round-backed companies. But last year, for the first time, we expanded access to Fast Track by publicly opening up the program to all operators in the startup ecosystem. We were absolutely thrilled with the positive feedback from folks who joined our most recent cohort, so we are jazzed to, once again, make Fast Track 14 mentor and mentee slots open to anyone in the tech startup community.

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

You’re a startup operator looking to learn and grow in your role, either as an individual contributor or a team leader. Mentees can come from any functional background, whether it’s engineering, product, design, marketing, sales, people ops, and more. Operators across the startup ecosystem are encouraged to apply to be a Fast Track mentee, even if you’re not already a part of the First Round community.

Hear directly from some of our former mentees:

“I truly believe my mentor from Fast Track was a key component of my success in my first year leading a function at a Series A startup. She created a space for me to think deeply about problems, reflect on how I was showing up in different dynamics, and coached me on up-leveling my team.” -Amber Zeise, People & Talent at Cocoon

“My mentor was so kind and knowledgeable with whatever I brought to our meetings. Her thoughtfulness and ability to reflect were invaluable to us working together. I feel like I grew immensely in my leadership skills and mindset in just a few months!” -Heather Cotanch, Internal Communications and Enablement Lead at Superhuman

“Fast Track is so unbelievably helpful. I continuously learn things from my mentor that I am able to implement into my workflow immediately following our meeting. It’s valuable to have an outsider’s perspective on your company and the dynamics you’re facing.” -Emma Steele, Account Executive at Highlight

“Thanks so much for organizing an incredible Fast Track session for all of us mentees and mentors! From the matching to the kickoff, to specific events — everything has been so meticulously thought out. I loved the sessions with my mentor, and hope to get good enough to mentor others someday!” -Jesika Haria, Co-Founder at LogicLoop

Apply here by 2/10 to be a mentee!

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 with over five years of experience under your belt (or a founder who can share the good, the bad, and the ugly). While startup experience is highly encouraged, we’ve also had plenty of impactful FAANG mentors. The common thread is that you have a strong desire and ability to help rising stars achieve their bold goals, navigate career paths, attack specific functional areas, recognize blind spots, and manage and lead teams. You use your own learnings and candor to elevate the knowledge of others, helping mentees discover and amplify their talents.

Hear directly from some of our former mentors:

“I’m grateful to have spent the past quarter as a mentor for First Round’s Fast Track program. It’s hands-down the most well-run mentorship program I’ve ever experienced in my 25 years of work in tech and now in the professional growth space. It’s impressive how much time and dedication First Round has invested towards the growth of people in the greater tech industry.” -Tutti Taygerly, former product leader at Meta and Executive Leadership Coach

“I feel great satisfaction in knowing that I am helping someone along in their career. I did not have many mentors coming up the ranks, and I feel like I could have accelerated my growth if there were more programs like Fast Track. I also think the networking aspects the program offers are great as well.” -Lisa Crooke, Founder of Silicon Valley CFO

“As a mentor for Fast Track at First Round, I was blown away by the organization, structure and sheer support & guidance provided throughout. The experience was invaluable and at the same time, not only did I get to partner with an amazing mentee, I also learned a ton from the First Round crew and fellow mentors! I cannot wait for many more cohorts as a Fast Track mentor. The mentorship program developed by First Round is one of a kind. The level of knowledge gained and support provided is unparalleled to any other such program.” -Rich Bowen, Marketing Strategic Operations at Chime

Apply here by 2/10 to be a mentor!

A new leader at the helm:

Finally, we’re thrilled to officially announce our new GM of Fast Track, Sarah Constantino. To many folks in the First Round community, particularly our founders, she’s a familiar face. Prior to taking the Fast Track reins, Sarah was on First Round’s Talent Team, collaborating with founders in our community to source incredible candidates and make key early hires. There’s a clear throughline between her work as a talent expert and her new role at the helm of Fast Track: helping folks accelerate their career, whether that’s by matching the right candidate with the right startup, or pairing a mentee with a mentor who can unlock fresh insights. (We’re also delighted to share that our previous Fast Track lead, Julia Govberg is staying in the First Round fold as Partner Bill Trenchard’s Chief of Staff. Julia jotted down her insights from her time running Fast Track for other folks who are looking to create a structured mentorship program.)



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