A few months back Prem Bhatia (co-founder of Cooleaf, a really cool startup you should check out) asked me if I wanted to be a mentor in Founder Institute. It was really a no-brainer for me as the list of mentors is great, Prem is A+ and I love helping startups, so I quickly accepted the invitation. Plus its hosted at the Atlanta Tech Village so its an easy commute.

This past Tuesday night I spoke to the current class along with David Moeller and Paula Collins. We spent some of the time grading the one minute pitches of the founders and then we each talked for about 20-30 minutes about our stories and offered advice to the group.

The theme of the night seemed to be: Execute and work your butt off if you want to make it. As each of us told our stories, those were the common themes to success. Seems no matter how good your idea is, how great your culture is, or how connected your LinkedIn is, if you don’t execute and work relentlessly, you’re probably not going to make it as a startup. You’ll usually hear the same thing if you listen to any successful entrepreneur tell their story.

Here’s a pic from Chris Richards who was one of the founders in attendance: