PHOTO: The James River

Our exceptional team of mentors have started, grown, and sold companies across a range of industries. They provide specialized coaching at every stage in the startup process, helping our members face challenges with confidence and find solutions with ease.

What It Means to be a Mentor

Mentors are at the heart of the Startup Virginia experience and help drive our members to success. Our mentors come from a wide variety of professional backgrounds, representing an array of industries and offering unique viewpoints. Members are connected to mentors who have the skills and expertise most relevant to their individual business or business challenge.

Because mentors are a vital part of our culture, we hold them to the highest of standards. We select those who have the professional credentials, as well as the time and dedication to devote to our members.

Startup Virginia Mentor Guidelines

Being a mentor is about much more than simply offering advice. It's about cultivating a deep relationship with someone in order to help them grow as an individual, as well as a business. By taking a vested interest, providing support, and being a steadfast resource throughout the process, you become an invaluable part of our members' journeys.

In order to ensure a successful mentor/member relationship at Startup Virginia, below is an outline of our expectations:

  • Allocate at least 3 hours of mentorship each quarter
  • Come prepared by doing your research and be thoughtful with your questions
  • Serve as a trusted partner who can empathize and offer guidance
  • Share knowledge in confidence and give back without expectations
  • Be intentional, honest and direct with your ideas and feedback
  • Remain professional and respectful of time by not arriving late or running over
  • Take initiative in building the mentor/member relationship
  • Practice active listening and refrain from dominating the conversation
  • Understand that the value of mentorship is not monetary
  • Schedule all meetings and offer feedback after each session using Union, our mentoring platform
  • If a meeting is scheduled outside of Union, please let us know by sending the name of the participants, the date, and the time of the meeting to: contact@startupvirginia.org 

In addition to helping our members, there are many benefits of being a mentor. You can stay updated on the latest startups and ideas, be invited to networking and exclusive events, and take pride in the fact that you are contributing to the startup ecosystem in Virginia, driving the success of the next generation of business pioneers.

Startup Virginia icon with shadow

"Startup Virginia is an exceptional environment. A group of passionate entrepreneurs and thought leaders coming together in concert to make exceptional tools to better the world. Startup Virginia is a catalyst organization fueling the future of the MidAtlantic entrepreneurial ecosystem. I am proud to be a part of it."

– Jeff Palumbo

“Being a Mentor at Startup Virginia is both rewarding and fun!"

— Michael Saxon


“Richmond is an amazing place because of its incredible creative energy.   It is energizing to work with highly-skilled, mission-driven entrepreneurs  who are making a difference by building companies that improve tomorrow.”

— Cliff Fleet

“Being a Startup Virginia mentor has been a very rewarding experience and has given me the opportunity to meet and work with several founders on their successful journey to launch their companies.  It is very exciting to be a part of Startup Virginia in its leadership role in the growing Richmond Entrepreneurial Ecosystem."

— John Kemper

I always feel like I'm getting the better end of the bargain in learning about a startup business from an industry I likely know nothing about. Great learning for me, and fun to share my startup experiences with them!”

— Brad Cummings

“I enjoy working with the variety of startups and am so excited to see the talent and ideas coming out of Richmond! I have been lucky to do what I do and live and Richmond and enjoy sharing my experiences with the growing community here.”

— Mike Lambert

"I have volunteered as a mentor with Startup Virginia since early 2017. I have had several mentors over the course of my own career who have helped me tremendously. They have been generous with their time and selfless as they have invested in my development. Being able to pay that gift forward with many of Richmond's startup CEOs has been a great way for me to invest in the community." 

— Dave Wasik

“I eagerly anticipate my Startup Virginia office hours each month. I leave each session inspired by the inspiration and determination of the founders."

— Scott Ukrop

"Assisting entrepreneurs to achieve their "Big Ideas" brings me full circle on two quotes that impacted me but I believe them too. The first, "Your life is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life"-Steve Jobs and a quote from Reid Hoffman-"An entrepreneur is someone who jumps off a cliff and builds the plane on the way down."

— Rafe Wilkinson

Current Mentors

A Subject Matter Expert (SME) offers deep industry or functional expertise and coaching in a specific area (e.g. finance, marketing, sales, strategic planning, technology, etc.)

Entrepreneur Mentors, in addition to being an SME, have been directly involved in founding a startup.

Amanda Aghdami

  David Allen

  Danny Ansell

Gary Armstrong

Justin Ayars

Craig Bagby

  M.H. Bartzen

Brian Bassett

Nick Bawa

  David Beeghly

Jeffrey Begin

Michael Beller

Russ Bencks

  William Benton

  Kyle Benusa

Zac Blanco

  Karen Booth Adams

Boz Boschen

  Bryan Bostic

  Shawn Boyer

Tennille Boyer

  Jon Brew

  Ashley Brooks

DeJuan Brown

  Aaron Bumgarner

Al Byers

William Byrd

Doug Carleton

   Patrick Carroll

  Anne Chamberlain

Chiedo III

Phil Conein

Ernie Connon

Ed Cook

Chris Cox

Earl Cox

Phillip Crowe

Blue Crump

Brad Cummings

Tanya Cummings

Micah Dalton

Don Davidson

William Dickinson III

Liz Doerr

Lem Doss

Sean Ducharme

Justin Etheredge

Marcy Ewald

Michael Falcone

Todd Feldman

Mercer Ferguson

Jennifer Finn

Whitney Forstner

Chris Forstner

Will Franklin

David Fratkin

Ned Freeman

Patrick Friel

Natalie Garramone

Mike Garrett

Chris Gatewood

Chip Gerstenmaier

Brian Gibson

Krystal Gillespie

Eric Glymph

Jesse Gordon

Andrea Goulet

Scott Green

Ali Greenberg

Leslie Griles

Richard Grossberg

Michael Grow

Rebecca Gwilt

Brian Harris

Marshall Hays

Jon Heckel

Andrew Holpe

Edwin Huertas

Subhash Jaini

Stephanie Jefferson

Lori Jennings

Nick Jones

Rick Jones

Sanjay Kamani

Arvinder Kaur

John Kemper

April Kim

Arnold Kim

Dave Klein

Justin Knight

Ani Kochiashvili

Joe Kunkel

Steve Kyryk

Mike Lambert

Somiah Lattimore

Justin Laughter

David Lay

Jill Lemon

Chris Leone

Kimmie Lockett

Will Loving

Blake Luse

Leslie Madden

Fay Manolios

Dave Maraghy

Jimmy Marks

Patrick Maslyn

Mike McCollum

Marcus McConnell

Amyli McDaniel

Alex McGlothlin

Rick Mears

Alex Mejias

Michael Mendelson

Keith Middleton

Joel Mier

Michael Mitchell

Kendall Morris

Dan Morrison

Olivia Mortensen

Megan Mullinix

Gordon Murdock

Kevin Nanna

Lauren Nelson

Mark Nichols

Kile Niklawski

Paul Nolde

Todd Nuckols

Doug Nunn

Marc Nystrom

Kristin O'Connor

Eddie O'Leary

Marc Oosterhuis

Mark Ownby

Maria Pahuja

Dinesh Pai

Nikhil Parekh

Steve Parker

Neil Patel

Hunter Pechin

Brad Perry

Eddie Phillips

Michael Pirron

John Polk

Lee Ann Pond

Jim Pop

Hunter Post

Kelley Powell

Brian Powers

Luke Rabin

Mark Rausch

Elizabeth Roark

Agustin Rodriguez

Carrie Roth

Thibault Roumengous

Jay Sanne

Michael Saxon

Jason Seibel

Paul Serignese

Ryan Shriver

Glen Sink

Andy Sitison

Charlie Small

Tiana Smith-Cluff

Rick St. John

Steve Stoloff

Will Strickland

Jason Swatek

Sid Tanu

Matt Teachey

Robin Tenkate

Mac Thayer

Joseph Thompson

Brandon Thorne

Rad Tollett

Sebastian Traeger

Liza Tullidge

Scott Ukrop

Paul Van De Putte

Jason Verkay

Todd Waldo

Scott Walker

Buckley Warden

Dave Wasik

Oliver Way

Tom Welch

Garret Westlake

Jonathan Weston

Andrew White

Rafe Wilkinson

Anne Wilson

Jim Woodward

David Wright

Steve Yates

Tom York

Mark Zaruba

Rachel Everett

Brian Gibson