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For Mentors

Curated relationships with trailblazing startups.

Multiply your impact as a Third Derivative mentor.

Help the world’s most promising startups become the next big thing in climate innovation.

Become a Mentor

Discover and support the world’s most promising solutions.

Third Derivative mentors play a critical role in advancing climate innovation by helping world-changing startup leaders reach their incredible potential. By sharing your perspective and subject matter expertise with the next big names in climate tech, you’ll not only stay ahead of the latest breakthroughs—you’ll help bring them roaring to life in the markets that need them most.

Connect with Third Derivative’s powerful ecosystem.

As one of our valued mentors, you’ll be able to tap into the power of our global, virtual network of climate trailblazers, from startups to corporates, investors, and other elite mentors. Just a click away, enjoy access to and camaraderie with high-caliber leaders collectively paving the way to a brighter climate future. Our deep network plugs you into RMI experts and more.

Participate in a curated, world-class program.

Veteran entrepreneurs. Experts in highly specialized technical fields. PR and financial hotshots. It takes a variety of insights to succeed in climate innovation. Depending on the area of expertise, we’ll match you with startup leaders who could benefit most from your insights, and whose solutions capture your imagination. Think of us as your innovation matchmakers, standing by to connect you with highly-vetted innovators you can do more than believe in—you can help champion.

Expand your impact, on your terms.

Whether or not you’re a lifelong sustainability expert, you can make a powerful difference in a startup’s success story. For those who’ve spent their careers in other industries, becoming a Third Derivative mentor could be the opportunity you’ve wanted to help tackle the climate crisis—without leaving your day job. Whatever your background may be, your involvement can be as intensive or light as your schedule and desires dictate.

"Working with the Third Derivative team and companies has been a great experience. D3 has been able to attract some of the most interesting and energetic cleantech concepts and entrepreneurs, and I really enjoy what I can share with them to help achieve their visions—and what I learn from their passion."

Andrew Roehr, Managing Member
Mill River Advisors

Three steps to becoming a climate innovation hero, aka, Third Derivative mentor

Step 1:

Fill out the application to help our team evaluate whether your skill set is a match with our current startups. The application will also ask you to self-select as either an expert or coach (or both, if you’re so inclined).
  • Experts offer deep knowledge around a particular topic, skill, or geography. They can connect as needed with one or more startups, depending on the subject matter and their preference.
  • Coaches have successfully grown an enterprise from startup to exit, and are paired with startups to provide more regular mentoring through the course of the program.

Step 2:

We’ll schedule a call for coaches to discuss the program in more detail. For experts, we’ll send you a welcome email with everything you need to get set up with our tools, including Slack and stacker.

Step 3:

The Third Derivative Ecosystem Success team will directly match coaches with startups, taking into consideration the following factors: needs, preferences of the startup versus expertise, and your preferences. For experts, we’ll match you with startups based on their specific problems to solve and asks, and from there design mentoring formats that make sense including 1:1 sessions, group roundtables, workshops, and more.

Join the best-networked mentorship program

Help guide the world’s most promising climate tech leaders

Apply to be a mentor

Curated relationships with trailblazing startups.

Third Derivative mentors have exclusive access to the brightest startups in climate innovation today.

Meet our current cohort

Top questions about the mentorship program, answered:

How much time do I need to commit to being a mentor?

How much time do I need to commit to being a mentor?

It depends on how much time you’re ready to contribute. If you sign on as a coach, we ask you to commit to a year’s worth of monthly meetings with your startup leader—but from there, it’s up to you and the startup to chart the course. Experts can participate on an even more flexible basis, engaging with startups ad-hoc as needed and desired, for whatever time period you choose.

How do mentors meet startups?

How do mentors meet startups?

You will match with startups in two different ways:
  • We will proactively connect you with startups based on your skills and what our startups need*.
  • You find startups of interest. If you’d prefer, we wholeheartedly invite you to look at the list of startups, message folks on Slack, be an active community member, join social hours, and meet startups organically. Feel free to reach out to anyone you think you can help. This is an open, welcoming network.

    *Coaches are paired with startups by Ecosystem Success when the startup enters the program.
How do I communicate?

How do I communicate?

The program uses Slack as our main platform. Slack is where the community connects, where announcements are made, and how we will connect you with startups to help. Here is some guidance around culture, privacy, etc. 

If you’re new to Slack, that’s okay! We recommend downloading the app to your phone and desktop to stay in touch. Also, here’s a quick guide to help with some of the mechanics.

Startups will be able to view your profiles via stacker. We request you make sure that your profile is up-to-date by following this step-by-step guide to stacker. Your profile is pre-filled based on information you previously provided.

What are best practices for mentors?

What are best practices for mentors?

The mentors who have the best experience in the program:
  • Are active on Slack and let people know what they know by engaging in conversations, and attending events
  • Stay in touch with the program team, and ask questions when they have them
  • Experts: Understand that sometimes there aren’t immediate matches for their skills, and are patient as we find matches and as startup needs change
  • Coaches: Stay in touch with D3's Ecosystem Success team when they have questions
Can I reach out to companies directly?

Can I reach out to companies directly?

Yes, please! While we do our best to match you, things change quickly and we may miss something, so please do reach out and make connections with startups you might be able to help.

What if I don’t get any pings from startups or the staff?

What if I don’t get any pings from startups or the staff?

There might not be immediate matches, and that’s okay. Just be patient, and feel free to check in with the D3 team while you remain active in the Slack community.

What if I have ideas or suggestions of how to improve things?

What if I have ideas or suggestions of how to improve things?

We want them! We’re a startup ourselves and are always looking to improve things.

What if things go really well and the startup wants to compensate me/hire me etc.?

What if things go really well and the startup wants to compensate me/hire me etc.?

We are not involved in negotiating these arrangements but we support whatever is decided between both parties.