Episode 12 – Software as a Service (SaaS) Platform Built to Solve a Pain Point with Mentoring (Interview with Brit Fitzpatrick)
Brit Fitzpatrick is founder & CEO of MentorMe – a SaaS mentoring platform. Brit is a 2014 FOCUS100 Fellow and a member of the Fall 2014 Points of Light Civic Accelerator. She’s been named one of the top 50 under 40 emerging leaders in social enterprise by American Express, and Inc. Magazine recognized her one of “8 Awesome Black Women Tech Founders to Watch.” In 2015, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce named Brit a “Woman Entrepreneur to Watch.” Brit serves on the Advisory Board for 100 Girls of Code and as an ambassador for Ronald McDonald House Charities.
While spending a lot of time over her granny’s house over the summer as a youngster, Brit had her first run in with entrepreneurship by selling ice cream to neighbor kids after they had missed the ice-cream truck. Unfortunately this came to a quick halt after she was found guilty (admittedly) of selling her products for unreasonable mark-ups and a fellow child told their parents on her.
Brit maintained an ability to identify “pain points” in the lives of potential customers. So after approximately 10 years of experience with mentoring herself, she had the idea of creating a service similar to the eHarmony dating and for creating mentoring relationships.
Brit was accepted into a 90-day start-up accelerator and began a process known as “customer discovery”, where she conducted over 100 interviews to determine the challenges people faced in establishing successful mentoring relationships. From there she initially started to built the product herself and created spreadsheet methods for matching certain mentors to mentees for early clients, using user-submitted data. Over time the product evolved into a more comprehensive solution to the mentoring experience.
- Embark on the process of “Customer Discovery”.
- “Do what you can do while you are waiting.”
- Take care of yourself.
- While you need validation for your ideas, you also have to validate yourself.
- “The Entrepreneur’s Guide to A Customer Development” by Patrick Vlaskovits
- “Business Model Generation: A Handbook for Visionaries, Game Changers, and Challenges” by Alexander Osterwalder and Yves Pigneur
- “Do More Faster: TechStars Lessons to Accelerate Your Startup” by Brad Feld and David Cohen
- “The Lean Start-Up” by Eric Ries
- “The 10 x Rule: The Only Difference Between Success and Failure” by Grant Cardone
*These are Amazon affiliate links.
- HubSpot – Free Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Software for Business
- Boomerang – Gmail message scheduling tool
- HootSuite – Social Media Management Dashboard
“Never compromise who you are personally to become who you want to be professionally.” – Janice Bryant Howroyd