Mentor Interview and Top Tip
What does it take to make an accelerator unique?
What does it take to make its portfolio thrive? One essential pillar is a broad network of mentors, who dedicate their spare time in order to support the startups in their field of expertise. In our format #meetthementor we are introducing the faces who help our startups scale their businesses. First off is Heidrun Twesten — with her concept of STORYDISTILLING. But read for yourselves in the interview…
1.) Please introduce yourself — who are you and since when do you mentor at NMA?
I am a Storydistiller, Corporate & Startup Advisor and Founder & Managing Partner of Impacct GmbH. We focus on developing equity stories that drive company value. Since 1996, I have developed numerous (equity) stories for IPOs, private and public companies as well as startups and personalities. Back in 2015, I startet mentoring at NMA with their first batch.
2.) You got more than two decades of experience in the startup orbit — let us know, what does it take to become a founder?
Mainly, it takes guts to become a founder. The strong will to actively drive change — and take the personal risk to do so. Research came up with only one characteristic that’s more prominent/frequent in entrepreneurs than in employees: resilience. My personal experience shows that successful founders listen particularly well, accept advice and criticism constructively and implement what they have learned quickly. Last not least, it helps a lot to be a likeable person who loves selling.
3.) You met many startups so far. Did you see changes or a development into a certain direction over the past 5 years?
Professionalism of teams has increased over the last years — as has the support of a growing ecosystem. And I am very happy to see some more female founders and higher diversity (age, nationality) in tech startups here recently.
4.) Sourcing stories can be one of the hardest parts of storytelling — what is your approach? How do you tell a story right?
The key is to first distill and clearly define the core story — and use it as the content base of all communication. If this is done well it isn’t at all hard to source stories as they arise nearly automatically from an authentic foundation. A well told story engages its audience — so it’s key to know who exactly you want to listen and what they need.
5.)Your field of expertise is story development — in a nutshell — what is the number one thing every startup should know about it and why? What is the most important advice you have when it comes to storytelling?
Everyone and every organisation has a story. My most important advice is to take the time and effort to dig deep to find it and then work hard to tell it compellingly. Good startup stories are always rooted in the personal WHY of their founders — which fits well with the fact that investors’ main reason to invest is the quality of the team.