We asked the CEO & founder of BrighteKatherine McConnell, and her mentor, Trevor Allen, to talk us through how mentorship has assisted along the startup and capital raising journey. Here’s what they said…

Q. You came to the startup game with an array of commercial experience. What made you decide to join the mentor program?

Katherine: I joined the mentor program as I had never started a business from scratch before — this was my first time. I had come from a 14 year career in investment banking and was accustomed to having access to subject matter experts to assist with my decision making process. I saw the mentor program as a way I could access this same expert advice and experience.

Q. Trevor, this is this your first mentor relationship. What made you sign up in the first place?

Trevor: I had a feeling that I could assist the startups with contacts and a knowledge of how to get things done. I also felt that I would get a lot out of it by learning from fintech startups that had been pre-vetted by S&C — in other words the start-ups would be smart and would have a much better idea than me about how fintech is changing lives.

Q. What were you looking for in an ideal mentor?

Katherine: I hadn’t really thought a lot about it except that I needed them to be a lot more experienced and a lot smarter than me.

 

Q. What were you looking for in an ideal mentee? How did you know your mentorship with Katherine would be productive?

Trevor: I was after a business opportunity that I understood and could add value to. Early discussions with Katherine showed me that we talked the same language.

Q. When did you know your mentor was right for you?

Katherine: Right from the very first meeting. Trevor has a deep corporate experience in investment banking (M&A and Deal Advisory) and accounting (KPMG) and was now a non-executive director on multiple high profile Boards. He knew exactly what I was trying to do, understood the opportunity and also knew the types of people I needed to meet and things I needed to do to progress.

I had met mentors previously that did not have deep experience or knowledge and were not able to understand how they could add value.

But Trevor — straight from the first meeting — I knew I had a lot to learn from him.

Q. How long has the mentorship been ongoing?

Katherine: Since the commencement of the first Mentor Program in January 2016.

Brighte’s Founder & CEO, Katherine McConnell, on SkyNews

Q. What does your mentor/mentee relationship look like now? How has it matured over time?

Katherine: Trevor is an investor in Brighte and is now Brighte’s Chairman of our Board.

Every day, every month there is a new hurdle and a new challenge. After he successfully helped me navigate my first equity raise, he then became my Chairman and he supported me in setting up the Board and putting in place the Corporate Governance processes. Every month it is something new.

Q. What do you see as the highlight from your mentor relationship so far?

Katherine: I recall someone telling me during Brighte’s Seed Raise that what I was trying to do ‘was not impossible, it had just never been done before’. Trevor’s enormous efforts assisted me to close this Seed Raise oversubscribed.

Trevor: Completing the capital raise which allowed the business to commence operations.

Stay tuned for our next round of Mentor Program insights…

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