Our “Mentoring @1871” interview series will feature 1871 community members who have made a valuable contribution to our network. The new interview initiative is a collection of stories, stories that highlight what Chicago leaders have gained by participating in the 1871 mentorship program.
Here’s what Tony Wilkins, Investor at Chicago’s Hyde Park Angels has to say about mentoring @1871:
How long have you been mentoring at 1871?
Since May 2012.
What do you get out of being a mentor?
Deal flow. A sense of giving back, being a part of something large and vibrant, dare I say...joy.
Is there a great anecdote or story from your time as a mentor that you can share?
Better to be in a bad business with great people than in a fabulous business with bad people. The former will find a way and the latter will destroy the way.
Who is someone you've met recently through the mentorship program that got you excited about what they're doing?
Wow, lots of people. Most recently, Lisa Carrell of Proxfinity. I think she's doing
something really interesting to help people make the most out of their
conference dollar. I've introduced her to a few of my contacts in the
industry. Jeremy Baras at PopUp Republic is another very cool service
Why should someone come to your office hours at 1871?
To get an honest, single data point from someone who has seen and done a lot in
the early stage space, might be able to point them in a good direction, save them some time and tell them some, perhaps, relevant stories.
About Hyde Park Angels:
Hyde Park Angels is the largest and most active angel group in the Midwest. With more than 100 entrepreneurs, executives and ventures capitalist members, Hyde Park Angels seeks to provide critical advisory services to entrepreneurs and the entrepreneurial community.
About Tony Wilkins:
Tony Wilkins is a veteran angel investor.
He spent 26 years in the investment industry starting as a portfolio manager at Stein, Roe & Farnham, moving to sales with Weiss, Peck & Greer and held a variety of roles over 15 years at Northern Trust in Chicago. Tony is the Membership Chair of Hyde Park Angels, an Advisory Board member of Great Oaks Venture Capital, Senior Advisor to the Arise 2.0 Accelerator and served as Excelerate Labs’ (now Techstars Chicago) 2012 Executive in Residence. He has invested in over 25 startup ventures since 1992 with recent exits in FeeFighters and ASAP Advisor Services.
A CFA charter holder, Tony holds an electrical engineering degree from Northwestern University and an MBA from the Booth School of Business at the University of Chicago. He has invested in 26 startups in the past 25 years.