Overview | Team | Plan | Reviewers | Program

The Study

We looked at information on the Companies (773), Reviewers (1,067), and Business Plan Reviews (7,271) that were part of the MCN program between 2008 and 2018. Much of the reviewer information is focused on the 500 individuals who reviewed 5 or more companies with the MCN during that ten year window.

Focus Areas

  1. What attributes of the company’s leadership team most strongly correlated to future success.
  2. What attributes of the business plan most strongly correlated to future success
  3. What attributes of the reviewers most strongly correlated to an ability to more accurately predict companies that would succeed or fail.
  4. Internal research on the success of our program implantation.

Definition: Company Success

We looked at four success measures. While all of our companies aspire to social, environmental, or cultural impact, those measures vary widely by industry, so we stuck with four items that could be more consistently tracked. Data came from interviews, LinkedIn, Pitchbook, Crunchbase, Owler, and other media reports.

  1. Annual Revenue — which we adjusted by relative country wealth, since $100K USD means different things if you are based in, and selling to people in, the USA vs. being based in, and selling to people in, Myanmar.
  2. Longevity — Years in business since participating in our program.
  3. Non-Founder Hires.
  4. Funds Raised from external sources (debt, equity, or other means.)

Lessons Learned

Since 2007, the Mentor Capital Network has been obsessively tracking how to best support social entrepreneurs to make a better impact on the world. We’ve learned many things, but four of them have stuck with us, and have been fully integrated into our programs in a way that I think makes one of the most effective programs in the world. 

  1. Build Peer-to-Peer relationships. Founders want to talk to other founders who are addressing the same challenges. One advantage the MCN has in working with so many companies across so many countries is that we can make sure that these are non-competitive peer relationships.
  2. Build long-term relationships. We create mentoring relationships that are designed to last far beyond the length of our formal program. We regularly get reports from mentors who have had the joy of watching the companies they met through us grow and flourish.
  3. Keep the entrepreneurs focused on their businesses. The MCN is dedicated to supporting society’s leaders without taking them away from running their businesses. 
  4. Share the lessons and responsibilities of the ripple effect. As our friend and adviser Tami Kesselman says, one of the differences between an entrepreneur and a social entrepreneur is that once you disrupt a system, a social entrepreneur is responsible for what else happens because of the changes you make.

Other Presentations of this information

In March 2020, our work got a write up in the online magazine Blue Avocado.

In July 2020, we presented our findings to the Social Venture Circle.

In July 2021, we presented our findings via the Impact Entrepreneur Fireside chat series.