MentorMob Joins Start-Up Incubator Catapult Chicago
CHICAGO, March 13, 2012 /PRNewswire/ –MentorMob, the free, community-based service that helps anyone learn anything through the power of crowdsourcing, today announced that the company has joined Catapult Chicago, a collaborative start-up community for Chicago-based entrepreneurs leading high-potential start-ups in the technology space.
“We feel we’ve found the perfect home right now for MentorMob at Catapult,” said Kris Chinosorn, co-founder of MentorMob with Vince Leung. “What drew us in is that Catapult is really about the people, the social aspect of building a start-up where the community of entrepreneurs can brainstorm and collaborate on issues that all start-ups face. It is run by start-ups, for start-ups – that’s a huge advantage.”
“The community at Catapult provides the perfect atmosphere for entrepreneurs like Kris at MentorMob to share what they’re doing,” said Ryan Leavitt, president and co-founder of Catapult. “Internally, they can share their experiences, their best practices, their problems and their knowledge through the unique social aspect of the group. Externally, the sponsors of Catapult provide extremely valuable resources to support these companies so they can really focus on the tasks at hand that are core to their businesses – and not get bogged down by questions about taxes, HR, or legal issues.”
The collaborative aspect of Catapult reflects the business model of MentorMob; the platform provides a structured system for learning, with each topical category – known as a Mob – maintained by Mentors. Less formal than the online instruction typically provided by schools and private learning companies, MentorMob topics can range from learning about World War II to virtually any subject a Mob’s members feel passionate about. Due to the collaborative nature of the platform the content continually grows and improves, similar to Wikipedia.
The concept has gained traction, with MentorMob earning the 2011 CityLIGHTS New Concept Award from the Illinois Technology Association, a nomination for the 2011 Chicago Innovation Awards, an alternate standing at TechCrunch Disrupt/San Francisco and just last week the win at the prestigious Mozilla/HASTAC DML Competition in San Francisco. The company was founded by its two University of Illinois graduates in 2010 with bootstrap funding, and today enjoys Catapult’s business residence at 321 North Clark Street, boasting spectacular views along the Chicago River.
“Joining Catapult now is the perfect move at the perfect time for MentorMob,” says Chinosorn. “We are like a lot of the other ‘scale-ups’ that are part of the community at Catapult: we already had some early funding, we’re past the ideation stage, we have some definite momentum going and we’re ready to build to the next stage. Catapult exposes our company to a wealth of specialists, for example, HR resources in the form of talented individuals who are not only involved with their own companies at Catapult, but also people who are helping those people out, coming in and out of Catapult’s doors every day. So we can draw from their proven experience and expertise, without taking a lot of time going through traditional human resources channels to find individuals with top talent to bring on staff.”
Chinosorn’s enthusiasm for Catapult grows not only from MentorMob’s involvement; it’s enhanced by the fact that, after meeting Leavitt and Vishal Shah, the other co-founder of Catapult, and hearing their concept, he became a Catapult Chicago co-founder himself. “What really drew me into working with Ryan and Vishal on Catapult was based on the experiences I had while working on the West Coast in Silicon Valley. Start-ups out there really put a lot of significance on the social aspect of business – it’s all about the interactions you have with other people, your team, your network. That helped define what I was looking for when I came back to Chicago. When I spoke with Ryan and Vishal and they described their vision, I knew I had to jump on board.”
MentorMob aims to revolutionize the transfer of human knowledge by leveraging the power of crowdsourcing to streamline the learning process. The award-winning, free, community-powered service aggregates the best educational content from across the web and organizes it into easy-to-follow, step-by-step Playlists that help anyone learn anything. Founded in 2010 by a pair of University of Illinois graduates and entrepreneurs with bootstrap funding, MentorMob is headquartered in Chicago. For more information, visit www.mentormob.com.
Catapult Chicago is an independent collaborative community for start-up companies with demonstrated business traction. It is a place where the most talented people behind the most promising start-ups can learn, grow and excel together. Catapult is built upon the vision of entrepreneurs themselves – people who not only “talk the talk” but actually “walk the walk.” To apply to become a Catapult resident or for information regarding sponsorship opportunities, please email email@example.com or visit the Catapult Web site: www.catapultchicago.com.