At least a year before I became a partner at Capital Factory I had been going to the events at CF to be able to meet up with some of my friends that had been in the entrepreneurial scene around Austin. I really enjoyed the opportunity to catch up with folks while also meeting the energized entrepreneurs working out of the CF offices. While I had talked to Josh about being a mentor or partner early on, I was in the middle of transitioning out of my firm, transitioning into academia, and I just didn't think that I could take on any role within Capital Factory.
What led to my joining CF as a partner is another interesting story for another article (Josh is a very compelling person) but what came of it has been a complete and pleasant surprise.
Prior to being a mentor at CF I met with startups on a regular basis. At least three to four times a week I would have meetings. Sometimes over coffee, sometimes over lunch, or occasionally in my office. It usually cost me time and money to travel to do these meetings which were one-off meetings in the middle of busy work days. I'm not sure that these were always productive for either the entrepreneur or myself.
What I have found since joining CF is that the office hours signup coordination, the focused time with entrepreneurs, and the CF environment has improved the efficacy of my mentoring efforts and I believe that the entrepreneurs find the meetings useful and focused and me much more available than previously when I did the one-off meetings. Additionally, once I do the office hours slot with a company it seems that I run into many of those entrepreneurs around town and our ad-hoc meetups are meaningful because of the focused office hour mentoring time.
I find that the things that the CF companies are working on are cutting edge, interesting, and help inform my understanding of what is going on in the entrepreneurial and technology areas which I'm able to use to keep current in my classrooms. These meetings have proven to be as educational to me as I hope that they are for the entrepreneurs that I meet with.
There are a number of brilliant components to Capital Factory but for me the organization and managed mentoring and office hours are a unique benefit of the CF experience.