DC’s Smartly to Build Mentorship Website

September 1, 2012

10:00 am

Smartly, a new startup in DC that was founded in August, has plans to connect mentors with people in need of advice and (in the process) bolster a struggling US education system. Before tackling schools, Smartly will take a look at the corporate environment, where new employees could use some guidance. Below, cofounder and advisor Frank Taylor tells the short life story of Smartly.

Tech Cocktail: What was the inspiration behind Smartly? What do you enjoy most about working on it?

Frank Taylor: Smartly was inspired by the declining competitiveness of the American K-12 education system. By enabling successful and sustainable mentoring experiences, the Smartly platform will help students realize their full potential.

The thrill of building something great and the reward of helping others drive the Smartly team.

Tech Cocktail: Describe a crucial decision for Smartly.

Taylor: After winning the Lean Startup Machine pitch competition, the Smartly team had to decide whether or not to pursue the 3-day-old idea further. We learned that, despite significant existing obligations, we all believed in the concept strongly enough to sacrifice our time, energy, and money to push forward.

Tech Cocktail: What’s one quirky fact about your team? 

Everyone is always right, all the time, which makes for lively debates.

Smartly cofounder Mary Wessendorf

Smartly was a showcased startup at our Tech Cocktail DC mixer in August.

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Kira M. Newman is a Tech Cocktail writer interested in the harsh reality of entrepreneurship, work-life balance, and psychology. She is the founder of The Year of Happy and has been traveling around the world interviewing entrepreneurs in Asia, Europe, and North America since 2011. Follow her @kiramnewman or contact