The TWO39 LABS mentors have helped the seven original startups in the program for the past 12 weeks. Each startup is assigned two dedicated mentors. From one-on-one meetings with their designated mentees, to helping the other startups with any questions that they may have had, our mentors are truly one of a kind.

All of our mentors come from extremely diverse backgrounds. Their insight, resources, and time have significantly impacted the startups in a positive way.

The TWO39 LABS mentors help to shape the program to what it is today.

Meet one of the TWO39 LABS mentors, Raphael Ocampo.

Your background:

My name is Raphael Ocampo and I am a local entrepreneur here in Southwest Florida. I own and operate a few technology companies. One in particular is in the fintech (financial technology) space. I am hoping to help people out here in this mentorship program with the accelerator for TWO39 LABS.

Why did you want to become a TWO39 LABS mentor?

When I started a company, I never had these types of opportunities. I did not have access to other mentors. So, I had to learn the hard way by making a lot of mistakes.

When Alex came to me asking if I'd like to participate, I thought it would be a good idea and see if I could share any of my experiences with startups. Hopefully I've made some type of positive impact going into that.

How has your experience been so far?

The experience has been way better than I thought it would be because I had never been part of this. So I thought it was going to be a short program that is actually a bit longer than I expected.

But that's good because I got to see the companies evolve over time.

It's been a positive experience.

What value do you see TWO39 LABS for Southwest Florida?

The value is huge. Like I said, I never had this type of experience when I started a company. I grew up in a part of the country where we didn't have a lot of entrepreneurs. It wasn't even a thought that came into my mind when I was getting out of high school and going into college. So what I see is that this experience for all of these startups is huge. And I think it should be part of every community because it's such a great asset, such a great tool and such a great experience for not only the mentees, but also for the mentors.

I would describe the accelerator program as a way to access resources, whether it mentors who have been there and they've learned through the hard knocks. It's a way to get your business going forward quicker by learning from others and expanding your network, your business network. So, yeah, I think it's just a path to learn and move forward faster.

Maybe a takeaway would be to, you know, utilize the network that it's brought. Sure, there's been some lessons learned, but, you know, sometimes I hear people say, well, how do I meet this type of person? How do I meet this other type of person? How do I meet an investor? How do I meet a potential partner? Well, the cohorts here seem to be a good start. I mean, you could look at the other participants and figure out who might be a good asset for you in the future, even if it's just a friendship, because over many, many years, businesses come and go. But the relationships last a lifetime. So I think a key takeaway would be to lean on the new relationships that have been acquired through this.

I would tell the mentees to, you know, stay positive. And no matter the outcome of this, everything is a learning experience and use the information you use to better yourselves, better the team around you and better the business.

TWO39 LABS is an accelerator program that focuses on providing startup companies and entrepreneurs with the necessary tools to accelerate growth and build successful companies. In turn, these companies will bring and retain economic opportunity, innovation, technology, and investment to Southwest Florida.

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