[close this]

GIA's 2021 Cohort Announced

January 6, 2021: The GIA's seventh annual accelerator program beginning January 19 features a cohort of seven companies ... seven in seven, that has a nice ring to it!
Read more here

Mentor Program

The single most important aspect of success of our portfolio companies is the mentoring and connections they will receive from experts in the industry. Mentors have a profound impact on the entrepreneurs. It is common for the mentors become integral to the company and are themselves introduced to new ways of thinking, doing and growing businesses.

The mentor pool is from a wide range of industries, with about half coming from the insurance industry. Tech, legal, HR, marketing, capital, and design are other areas represented to offer the startups a wide range of resources. Insurance is a complex industry, with lots of roles, with that in mind, we are sure to gather a well-rounded group of mentors. Our insurance-focused mentors cover a broad range of insurance areas such as underwriting, actuarial, claims, and IT.

There are just over 110 insurance-focused mentors, of which approximately 64 work in Central Iowa and meet the startups face-to-face. Mentors from outside Iowa typically meet the startups via Hangouts or Skype, and sometimes make the trip to Des Moines to meet face-to-face.

The Matching Process

The insurance-focused mentors meet each startup in a 30-minute "speed-dating" setting. The mentors self-schedule their meetings over the first three weeks of the program. This fosters an intense influx of new connections, ideas and sometimes adjustments on the fly. Mentors and startups select who they want to work with and we formally pair them together.

Training and Expectations

The GIA provides mentor training to set expectations, answer questions, and explain what it takes to be a great mentor. The most important thing as a mentor is to have a "pay it forward" mentality - we stress that this is very much a volunteer position and these startups have very little to give at this point.