BENGALURU: Who would you turn to for advice if things were not going according to plan at the workplace? Somebody much older and wiser who has been there, done that, and you can look up to? Well, many young entrepreneurs do not seem to be settling for this seemingly default option.
Harsh Jain, the founder of interior design and building services startup Nestopia, regularly bounces ideas on strategy off fellow entrepreneur Mayank Lhila, co-founder of travel startup Tripifini.In the past couple of months, Lhila has helped Jain with legal resources and advice on issuing employee stock options or ESOPs. And this works both ways, with Jain giving Lhila suggestions on a viable online marketing strategy.

Jain and Lhila are part of an expanding fraternity of entrepreneurs who are increasingly relying on peers for mentorship. “Young founders like us have much to gain from older, experienced mentors, but a peer has a greater level of understanding,” Jain told ET. “Lhila knows the space I’m working in by virtue of being an entrepreneur himself. We frequently talk about areas we can share resources in.”

Similar is the case with Satish Kannan, co-founder of DocsApp and Vivek Rajkumar, founder of Aibono. Recently, when Kannan found performance issues with an employee, he was debating with himself whether to let the employee go. Under Rajkumar’s suggestion, though, Kannan tried out the employee in another role, where the employee flourished. “We are also in touch with Tarun Mehta of Ather Energy, who gives us suggestions on scaling up and hiring the right people,” Kannan said.

Peer-to-peer mentoring is a great step in the evolution of the startup ecosystem, said Jappreet Sethi, CEO of YoStartups, which provides consultation services to startups. Silicon Valley has become what it is today because communities of interest developed and entrepreneurs connected with each other not on common strengths but on common weaknesses, he said. More than 40 co-founders of various early-stage startups in the portfolio of White Unicorn Ventures regularly communicate with each other on the Stack platform.
Rohit Chokhani, principal founder at the Mumbai-based early stage venture capital firm said there are different threads related to hiring, technology, intern transfers and the like, where emerging entrepreneurs share synergies and feed off each other’s ideas.

“Young startups often do not have the financial resources to experiment with technology, because it’s expensive. A major trend we are seeing is that co-founders are sharing technology resources in order to be able to sustain themselves in the long run,” Chokhani said.

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