Batten Institute

Batten Institute - Ventures - VentureMAP

Venture Mentors and Advisers Program (vMAP)

About vMAP

Venture Mentors and Advisers Program (vMAP) is an initiative of the Batten Institute at the University of Virginia Darden School of Business. This program facilitates connections between industry experts and student entrepreneurs currently participating in our venture programs.


vMAP participants comprise a network of professionals who volunteer to support students and early-stage startups by sharing their industry expertise, business knowledge, and other resources, as appropriate. The range of their backgrounds is extensive, covering industries such as biotech, big data and business analytics, artificial intelligence, clean and smart energy fintech, agriculture, product manufacturing, transportation, and retail. Common issues addressed by our vMAP experts for founders and founding teams include:

  •     Technology and product development
  •     Product/market fit
  •     Customer development, acquisition and lead generation
  •     Fundraising
  •     Global market integration
  •     Government regulations
  •     Overall strategy, marketing and branding
  •     Work/life balance

Volunteer With vMAP

Mentors and advisers can have an enormous impact on early-stage venture outcomes and founder success. They often help founders overcome major hurdles and guide them toward achieving critical milestones. vMAP volunteers – now over 100 strong – commit time and energy toward supporting founders as they grow personally and professionally, refine early-stage prototypes, and develop their “bird-in-hand” (i.e., who they are, what they know, and who they know) principle.

Please consider volunteering. Working with our program, you will have the opportunity to:

  •     Significantly impact the success of a startup;
  •     Gain insight from and be a part of a thriving startup ecosystem;
  •     Network with educators and experts driving real change and innovation;
  •     Give back and support the Darden School of Business, the University of Virginia and the broader entrepreneurial community in Central Virginia and beyond.

  • vMAP Expectations

    Participants in vMAP, who are typically appointed for a one year term, commit to being available for our student-entrepreneurs throughout the year, especially during the summer when VentureLab, our flagship incubator, is in operation. The actual time commitment varies widely among volunteers, from only attending ad hoc meetings with founders all the way to extended periods of time working with a venture to refine an elusive business model or strategize around customer adoption. vMAP volunteer contributions encompass two general categories of commitment:

        Mentoring is working one-on-one with a specific venture, typically investing 1-2 hours a week with the founder(s). Interactions with the ventures are driven by company demand and interest and will fluctuate.

        Advising is engaging on ad-hoc demands where the volunteer can share subject matter knowledge with entrepreneurs. Advising includes answering requests for industry guidance and making connections, where appropriate.

    Members of the vMAP community are invited to participate in development workshops and networking events throughout the year and may be asked to present their expertise at program events.

  • Application Process
    • Orientation: Contact Sandra McCutcheon at to arrange a conversation exploring where you can be most helpful, according to your industry and interests.  
    • Application: Complete an application to help us create a robust profile describing your preferences, expertise, skills and background. In order to adhere to University-wide policies for all non-employee assignments involving students, participation in vMAP is contingent upon successful completion of a satisfactory background check.
    • Engagement: Engage with our venture teams and play a substantial role in designing the future!