Unless you’re Adam Neumann, it’s unlikely you’ll raise serious funding until after you’ve got serious traction.

Especially in this recession.

Which means you’re going to have to “figure it out” with your own resources.

This is not easy, and most founders get overwhelmed and call it quits before giving it a fair shot.

Having a mentor who’s had their own bootstrapped startups to coach you through the early days can be highly therapeutic and positively inspiring.

In this post, we’re going to feature mentors that excel at mentoring founders during these early days.

  • The 0-1
  • The first key hires
  • The first mental breakdown
  • The first big wins

These mentors have “been there done that.”

Suggested mentors

Kosta Panagoulias


  • Bootstrapped his SaaS Web4Realty out of his parent’s basement with zero dollars in the bank, and no tech experience. That company was successfully acquired in a 7-figure cash exit
  • He personally closed the first 500 paying clients for his company through cold calling and outbound email marketing.
  • Maintained a fully remote setup with +20 team members in over 10 countries around the world
  • Hosts a podcast called Founder Views which offers a bootstrapper’s view on business and SaaS

What mentees are saying about their sessions

I had a great talk with Kosta, about things like building a remote team, how to start a company and about some of the things that he went through in the early stages of building his startup, and about doing sales for a startup in the early stages.

Radu Benga - Co-founder & Strategy Manager at Cyber Dacians

Dani Whitestone


  • Bootstrapped TurboLaw Software to 7 figures while serving as the Director of Sales and Marketing before negotiating it’s acquisition
  • 30 years of experience as an entrepreneur and loves sharing experiences from her crazy journey
  • Strong focus on empowering women in business but welcomes mentoring anyone who would benefit from speaking with her

What mentees are saying about their sessions

I’ve been working with Dani for several months now, and I can’t emphasize enough what a tremendous help she has been to me and to my company. Since working with her, we have seen a 594% increase in our website’s engagement time and 96% increase in visitors. I can’t wait to see where we go next! Thank you Dani!

Ericka Schubert - Co-founder and Chief Operations Officer at ChattyKathi

Harri Thomas


  • Bootstrapped Respondent.io
  • Raised 4 rounds of funding after years of bootstrapping, he’ll tell you why
  • Non-technical founder who can help you find low cost resources to fill gaps
  • Background in market research and marketing strategy
  • Grew up on a sheep farm in Australia before working for the world’s largest companies like Johnson & Johnson, Delta Airlines, American Express, and Meta

What mentees are saying about their sessions

I’m a founder, and I reached out to Harri for advice on fundraising versus continuing to bootstrap. Harri gave excellent advice based on his own experience. He provided clear, concrete examples and responded to all of my questions. I would highly recommend him as a mentor.

Tammy Bjelland - Founder & CEO at Workplaceless

Chris Banks


  • Bootstrapped ProWritingAid from 0 to 40 employees with no investment
  • Can help you create a culture of innovation within your company
  • Can advise on who to hire and when to hire them as you grow
  • Loves talking strategy as it’s one of the hardest and most important things
  • Studied experimental psychology at the University of Oxford

What mentees are saying about their sessions

I had an awesome call, there was a lot that I learned within the 1 hour conversation that took place. I feel very empowered to venture out and start to implement the actionable steps that we discussed.

Jamie Bethel - CEO at InstaGopher

Pedro Goes


  • Bootstrapped Inevent from $0 to > $1mn ARR in less than 3 years before getting accepted into YCombinator
  • 40 under 40 founder by Association Magazine, a UK Event Tech Award Winner and a Gold Crocodile Award Winner
  • Technical founder who’s been doing sales for the past 8 years
  • Previously started a company in college where he had more than 10,000 monthly active paying users
  • Enjoys mentoring early stage startups on how to start generating revenue

What mentees are saying about their sessions

Pedro gave so many actionable insights on our call. You can tell his mindsets around success come from a wealth of experience on his own journey to building a huge company. Highly recommended

Euan Wu - Founder at The Change Compass

Common mentor topics

Over 24,000 1:1 mentorship sessions have been booked on GrowthMentor, most of them booked by early stage startup founders still looking for product market fit.

Looking for inspiration for topics to chat to a mentor?

Here are just a few of the session topics booked over the past years:

  • How to structure profit and equity split for co-founders
  • GTM strategy for an early stage startup
  • Clarity on business model and sales and marketing strategy
  • Validating startup and product feature ideas
  • When to start thinking about raising money
  • Building an MVP app
  • Building a strong team on a lean budget
  • Figuring out what good traction looks like and what to do next
  • Early team structure
  • Positioning a product in a crowded marketplace
  • General advice when starting out
  • Audience development strategy
  • Bootstrapping a startup while still in full time employment
  • Working with limited time & resources and bringing in a culture of growth experimentation
  • Pricing, packaging, and positioning
  • When you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed and want some perspective
  • How to test pricing when you don’t have many customers
  • Launching your product and getting early adopters
  • Cold outreach strategies that founders can quickly learn
  • Launching new marketplaces: how to solve the chicken vs. egg dilemma

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