Kauffman Fellows Program

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Kauffman Fellows Program
Kauffman Fellows.png
Founded 1994
Founder Ewing Marion Kauffman
Type Non-operating private foundation
(IRS exemption status): 501(c)(3)[1]
Key people
Phil Wickham (CEO)
Website http://kauffmanfellows.org/

The Kauffman Fellowship, named after Ewing Marion Kauffman, is a two-year educational, networking, and leadership development program for venture capitalists. The program is dedicated to the world of venture capital and the cultivation of new high-technology, high-growth, high-impact companies.[2] As of 2013, Kauffman Fellows have collectively made $6 billion in venture capital investments, sparking growth in hundreds of new enterprises, $15 billion in annually recurring revenues, and the creation of 50,000 jobs.

Kauffman Fellowship[edit]

The Kauffman Fellows faculty brings together leading venture capital investors, along with entrepreneurs, limited partners, engineering and science thought-leaders, corporate chiefs, and policy experts from academia and government. Each new class of Kauffman Fellows thoroughly explores the vision, risk-sharing, agility, and humility required to forge world-changing new enterprises. Unlike an academic fellowship, the Kauffman Fellowship is tuition-based. Each Kauffman Fellow works full-time at their sponsoring venture capital firm, which funds the Fellow's tuition. Kauffman Fellows and their firms engage in a practical, 24-month apprenticeship including professional coaching, mentoring by senior partners, and quarterly sessions of industry and leadership curriculum (totaling approximately 25 days) conducted in Palo Alto, California. As lifetime members of the Society of Kauffman Fellows, fellows and their firms join a trusted network in Silicon Valley and across 6 continents that links together hundreds of investment firms collectively deploying $50B in venture capital. Building on the shared values developed during the fellowship, insights are propagated, resources are made available, and opportunities get efficiently vetted and syndicated globally.

Headquartered in Palo Alto, California, the Kauffman Fellows Program is administered by the Center for Venture Education, a 501(c)(3) post-graduate educational institution dedicated to fostering entrepreneurship throughout society. The mission of the Kauffman Fellows Program is to identify, develop, and network emerging global leaders in venture capital. Success means that entrepreneurs are building stronger, more enduring companies and, correspondingly, venture investors are realizing enhanced returns.

For firms and individuals considering a Kauffman Fellowship, the value derived can be measured along three axes: (1) investing apprenticeship, (2) leadership development, and (3) global network.

Investment apprenticeship[edit]

Kauffman Fellows are granted an efficient, critical exposure to the entire waterfront of investment approaches being practiced around the industry in these challenging and fast-changing times. Ideas are presented and discussions are moderated by leading practitioners – primarily venture investors, but also entrepreneurs, limited partners, policy experts, and academic thought-leaders. The result is a broad, well-informed foundation upon which to continue to build up one's career-long effectiveness.

Leadership development[edit]

During the two-year fellowship, each class explores and evaluates a range of leadership approaches and human dynamic topics. Kauffman Fellows come away with a series of formal and informal assessments of their own interpersonal strengths and weaknesses, and a clear, constructive view of how they are perceived by others, and why. The goal is to build up empathy, trust, honesty, and adaptability – traits that are crucial in a world that depends on collaborative risk-taking, sophisticated technical and operational assessments, and patient determination.

Global network[edit]

Success in early-stage venture investing has always depended on awareness and access. Knowing about promising new ventures is not enough; one must also earn a place at the table. The Society of Kauffman Fellows is dedicated to bringing people together and investing them with the knowledge and relationships that help businesses grow. Having built momentum and enjoyed an international expansion, the Society of Kauffman Fellows now represents a tightly-knit, well-placed and like-minded band of professionals. All are open and supportive – from charter class to the most recent program graduates, from supporting mentors, partners, faculty, and deans, to the many friends of the program who work as LPs and entrepreneurs around the world. For individuals and firms alike, the two-year Kauffman Fellowship provides a gateway for participating in and contributing to this thriving, trust-based network.

Center for Venture Education[edit]

The Kauffman Fellows Program originated as an endeavor of the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, from which it was spun out in 2000,[3] and is now managed by the Center for Venture Education, based in Palo Alto, California.

Notable Kauffman Fellows[edit]


  1. ^ http://kauffmanfellows.org/about/faqs, accessed 2013-08-05
  2. ^ http://www.kauffmanfellows.org/overview.aspx
  3. ^ http://blogs.wsj.com/venturecapital/2012/01/12/truebridge%E2%80%99s-second-fund-of-funds-good-news-for-kauffman-fellows/
  4. ^ "Justin Rockefeller". Rockefeller Brothers Fund. Retrieved September 23, 2014.