Why Great Mentors are Hard to Find: A Conversation with Jonathan Gorczyca


Kimon and Richard speak with Jonathan Gorczyca, the founder of Mentor Deck and Helm Experience & Design. Jonathan has worked as a product designer for almost 20 years, helping companies design and launch their products, often for the first time.

Based in Buffalo, New York, Jonathan has been an integral part of the start-up scene. He specializes in UX (user experience) and helps early-stage ventures with new products. Through Helm Experience & Design, he has transitioned from supporting early-stage companies to helping larger companies looking for a product refresh or redesign.

When working with smaller companies, Jonathan uses cost-effective methods instead of full consultation projects. He seeks out driven founders who are committed to creating a great product and are open to flexibility. Familiarity with the company, its culture, and its people is essential to helping them develop something new.

One of the first companies that Helm worked with is now a publicly traded company, ACV Auctions. Jonathan first saw the idea as a sketch and saw the entire project through until it existed, with over 1,000 employees.

Jonathan emphasizes that part of finding success in this line of work is sticking through the good and the bad times with founders. As he puts it, “success is not a straight line.” What concerns him most is when founders become difficult to contact. Jonathan warns that “silence is a red flag.”

Through Mentor Deck, Jonathan and his team connect with entrepreneurs and invest in companies based in Buffalo. Mentor Deck investors help ensure accountability for entrepreneurs and bring expertise in critical product design areas. Though still very small in scale, Jonathan is looking to expand into different cities.

Kimon and Richard share their own struggles with finding good mentors and the right people for different companies. Jonathan remarks that what spurs him most to connect the right investors with the right founders comes from the excitement of turning nothing into something. He is obsessed with the scale of it and the number of jobs that can be created through entrepreneurship.

Jonathan's LinkedIn

Kimon Fountoukidis:

Kimon is the founder of both Argos Multilingual and PMR.

Richard Lucas:

Richard is a business and social entrepreneur who has founded or invested in more than 30 businesses, including Argos Multilingual, PMR and, in 2020, the New Books Network.

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Richard Lucas and Kimon Fountoukidis

Richard Lucas is a business and social entrepreneur who founded, led and/or invested in more than 30 businesses.

Kimon Fountoukidis is the founder of both Argos Multilingual and PMR. Both companies were founded in the mid 90s with zero capital and both have gone on to become market leaders in their respective sectors. Kimon was born in New York and moved to Krakow, Poland in 1993. Listen to his story here.

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