A two-year program has trained over 350 investment leaders from more than 50 countries. Its graduates have funded more than 2,500 companies. Unfortunately, you have probably never heard of it.
When the Kauffman Fellows Program launched in 1994, it was the first formal venture capital (VC) training program in the world. Today, its staff continues to identify, train, and connect emerging global leaders in the VC sector.
“The goal of the Kauffman Fellows program is to capture and codify the best practices in capital investment,” says the program’s director Phil Wickham. “Because there is no formal academic program in venture capital, we seek to educate leaders on these practices in order to make them fluent and connected in this space. We look for and select ‘change makers’ who are going to build something cool and meaningful.”
Thirty-five fellows are selected for the two-year program each July. During the program, fellows participate in three-day learning modules every three months. The modules are taught by experts working in the field, including investors from Andreessen Horowitz, Benchmark Capital and Union Square Ventures, behavioral and design experts, and successful entrepreneurs. Classes cover everything from interpreting term sheets to leadership development. The specialized curriculum also includes a personal development plan, executive coaching, facilitated mentoring, peer learning, and networking.
Those selected to be fellows are typically employed at an investment organization (e.g., a VC firm, angel group, accelerator, etc.), and often possess a graduate degree. The selection committee favors applicants who have expertise in science, technology, or business, and an aspiration to support growing entrepreneurial companies.
The results of the Kauffman Fellows Program are impressive:
- Seventy percent of the 350+ fellows who participated in the program are now general partners in VC firms and 30 program alumni are venture-backed entrepreneurs.
- More than 2,500 companies have received investments from alumni of the program and 167 of those companies had an IPO.
- The program has also fostered 525 corporate/startup partnerships.
The two-year program is valuable, but it is not cheap. Tuition is $72,500 USD per fellow. This covers all expenses of the program, including education modules, leadership programs, and professional development. Additional expenses, including transportation and lodging, are the fellow’s responsibility.
If you would like more information on the program, you can visit the Kauffman Fellows website: http://kauffmanfellows.org/index.html
Contributed by Cristina Yoder.