StartupPlays Accelerator “Democratizes” Access to Mentors Outside Silicon Valley

June 6, 2012

11:00 am

Today, StartupPlays opened up a global network where startups can connect with mentors from around the world.

StartupPlays markets itself as a global accelerator program. For $9/month – giving up no equity – startups get access to discounted courses from successful entrepreneurs, such as “Drive 50K Unique Users/Month to Your Startup” and “Validate Your Product Concept in 7 Days.” Starting today, startups can rack up points and get intros to mentors like Dan Martell (who founded a similar site focusing on mentorship, Clarity.fm), Richard Robinson (China), and Vijay Anand (India).

It works like an “AngelList/Hacker News hybrid,” explains founder Scott Annan. Mentors get a list of hot startups in their field (those with the highest points), and StartupPlays also promotes those startups on its blog and social media.

StartupPlays is not exactly like a traditional accelerator. Since everyone is “accepted,” it might be harder to get the attention of mentors. In many ways, it’s more like an online community.

But whatever it is, it could help entrepreneurs – who can’t find local mentors and don’t want to join accelerator programs – get access to some of the same tools and resources.

“There’s a lot of towns – Ottawa included – where it’s difficult to build a startup. There’s not as strong a community,” says Annan, a mentor at FounderFuel accelerator in Montreal.

Startups using StartupPlays would be able to “get actionable feedback …. and still manufacture this network that is global that can make introductions as you would if you were in Silicon Valley,” he says.

If you don’t want to join, you can buy the “plays” individually at StartupPlays.com.

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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 kira@tech.co.

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