The concept of Charter Membership is at the heart of the success of TiE. The initial idea was mooted by Ambrish Patel (AJ) and refined by Suhas Patil. Mentoring of the young aspiring entrepreneurs was one the original goals of TiE. Two classes of memberships were necessary to separate the mentors from mentees. Charter membership dues was set at $1000 whereas members only had to pay $100 per year.
TiE Charter Members, by definition, were people who had achieved a certain level of success and were now ready, able and willing to pay forward. They had to commit to spend time and energy to mentor younger generation.
The concept was further refined by Nitin Mehta to include people who are willing to spend time and energy to make TiE organization successful. CK Prahalad further talked about the ancient Indian tradition of Guru-Chela as a model.
Mentoring became one of the bedrock activity of TiE and contributed to its attraction to many people, both mentors and mentees.