How It Works

Speed Growth, Reduce Risk

To understand what MESA is about you need to understand what we are not. We are not a for-fee consulting agency. We are not a venture capital firm. We do not take equity or assume a board seat. What we are is a non-profit, pro bono, C-level mentoring organization focused on helping Minnesota’s emerging software companies succeed, by speeding learning and growth and reducing execution risk.

Our motivation and reward lies in the success of our mentees and the belief today’s successful software companies will not only accelerate community growth themselves but will become the seeds of the next generation of growth in the Minnesota software community. As a result, MESA rekindles Minnesota’s software economy and re-establishes our state’s primacy as a top-tier technology center.

We seek out the most promising MN-based emerging growth software companies who will benefit from mentoring—typically for two to three years—to realize their potential and apply our collective “been there, done that” knowledge to help them achieve it. We require mentees to be committed to a substantial growth strategy, to engage in our processes, and be incredibly open to mentoring input.

MESA’S Mentorship Model

Here are the steps for a company to engage with and then be mentored by MESA:
  • 1

    Initial phone interview with a MESA mentor as we identify mentee candidates to present at a MESA presentation session held each quarter

  • 2

    Company presentation to a group of MESA mentors

  • 3

    Internal MESA group assessment and decision to move forward to further due diligence

  • 4

    Depending on company size, 1 or 2 mentors initiate the mentoring engagement with monthly meetings. MESA never assigns mentors. Rather, mentors step forward to work with a mentee based on interest in the company and a fit with their work experience

  • 5

    The first several meetings are further due diligence to validate the power of the value proposition, the market potential for growth, and the personal fit between mentee and mentors

  • 6
    The engagement is now “official.” The MESA mentoring period typically lasts 2-3 years with monthly mentoring sessions so significant interaction exists, and major company progress is achieved
  • 7
    The mentors work with the mentee to identify a single Wildly Important Goal (WIG) to be the focus, but not the only subject, for mentoring. The definition of a WIG is simple and powerful: the achievement of the identified WIG makes every other achievement secondary and will propel the company forward more than achieving any other goal in that time period
  • 8

    Finally, it’s that time, when typically after two to three years of insightful mentoring, that the mentee graduates from MESA either as the company is acquired or the company is thriving as an independent entity. The mentors move on to assist a new company in support of the MESA mission to grow the size and vibrancy of the MN emerging growth software community