Investing in the education and advancement of employees within large to enterprise-sized organizations comes at a cost, and is often covered through less than ideal programs. From free online courses, to disorganized public speaking training, through to sticks-and-glue mentorship programs, the concepts for each of these are beneficial, but often go underutilized, or simply miss the mark.
Mentessa is a Founder Institute Munich portfolio company adding easy-to-use tech to organizational mentorship programs, so that employees can immediately see and measure the real benefits. Led by Founder & CEO Dr. Tina Ruseva, Mentessa is focused on matching mentors and mentees based on the most suitable fit, not just random volunteer selections. According to CEO Ruseva,
In Germany, it costs $1 billion euros just to administrate mentorship programs (as an industry). Less than one of every 1000 employees profit from the programs right now. There is a lot of time wasted, and not enough value is being pulled as a result.
Mentoring for the Future of Work
The Mentessa team explains that most organizations use a combination of random selections from volunteers, a wonky excel sheet, and a lot of back and forth via email—an inefficient process at best. On top of this, employees only have the likes of LinkedIn to see if a mentor’s skills even lineup with their own interests and needs, and that really only shows a snippet of who a person is. However, these employees all have something more to offer, and in many cases have strengths and skills that can benefit a mentee.
On the mentoring side, it’s easy for professionals to also get too bogged down helping others. Mentessa, on the other hand, helps connect people in an easier format that looks similar to how Tinder works.
Mentessa is a business tinder, or the Tinder for mentoring. It’s a solution that consists of a matchmaking application where every employee can find just the right expert at the right time, on-demand, very quickly, to solve their problems. And, it has an online platform for human resources, where they can gain insights about what their talent really needs, and how their talent development initiatives are working.
Even prior to their full launch, the Mentessa team has been making waves with their pilot programs. They were recently accepted into Téléfonica’s open innovation hub, which has a presence in 24 countries. The pilot program is helping the crew work out all their bugs, while at the same time gaining global exposure. Ruseva says,
Over the past five years, I’ve worked with big companies in teams just to realize how little people actually exchange knowledge and collaborate in the workplace. It’s different in the startup scene, we do a lot of mentoring, we are constantly looking for people who might challenge our ideas or give us advice. But in big companies, it’s rather that new employees get anchored to their team and the majority of people do not interact with more than 10 people in their companies.
This is one of the reasons Ruseva launched Mentessa, and why calling this “mentorship” may be doing the end result a disservice. In the past, mentoring was really about two people, from two different areas, focused on sharing some basic knowledge over a brief period of time. Now, Mentessa plans on helping mentees find the right mentor at the right time, and turn mentoring into an abundant resource of collaboration, engagement, and diversity.
Our mission is to empower people to find, connect, and work with each other independently of their department, role, gender, or any other individual characteristics. Our first product is a peer-to-peer matchmaking app that facilitates diversity and connection through lunch dating at work.