Venture Café

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Venture Café
IndustryTechnology, Startups
Founded2009; 11 years ago (2009)
FoundersTim Rowe
HeadquartersBoston, ,
Areas served
8 cities
Key people
Tim Rowe
ProductsWorkspace for startups, small businesses, freelancers and entrepreneurs
BrandsVenture Café, Venture Café Global, Innovation Hall, District Hall
ServicesShared workspaces and related services for entrepreneurs

Venture Café is a nonprofit organization that hosts community events and programs that support early-stage entrepreneurs.[citation needed]

There are eight Venture Cafés in cities across the Midwest, South, and Northeastern regions of the United States, and in Tokyo, Japan; Rotterdam, The Netherlands; and Sydney, Australia. Each Venture Café is independently managed and runs the flagship program, the Thursday Gathering. Venture Café Providence was announced through a partnership with the city of Providence [1], and there are plans to open another Venture Café in Warsaw, Poland [2].

Venture Café Boston[edit]

The Venture Café was conceived as a restaurant located in the CIC in Boston, Massachusetts.[3] The restaurant failed to attract investment and was reimagined as a gathering for the entrepreneurial community based on the book Venture Café by Teresa Esser.[4] Venture Café Kendall launched in 2009.[citation needed]

Venture Café St. Louis[edit]

In 2014, Venture Café expanded to the Cortex Innovation Community in St. Louis, Missouri, to bring together the emerging startup community.[5] The success of the St. Louis location prompted the launch of Venture Cafés in other cities and ultimately the creation of Venture Café Global Institute, a public benefit corporation based in both St. Louis and Boston.[6]

In 2014, the City of Boston and Venture Café Kendall opened District Hall, a free drop-in workspace for entrepreneurs, including an event venue, restaurant and coffee shop. In 2018, as part of St. Louis Cortex District's new 4220 Duncan building anchored by Microsoft, Venture Cafe launches Innovation Hall in St. Louis based upon Boston's District Hall.[7] The St. Louis location will also be the first to launch the Education Hub, also known as EdHub STL, a program supporting and bringing together innovators in education to benefit youth access to education.[8] EdHub STL is inspired by the Forward Through Ferguson report which calls for an innovation education hub to address the region's most entrenched educational issues.[9]


Thursday Gathering[edit]

The flagship program of Venture Café is the Thursday Gathering, a weekly event that convenes new and experienced entrepreneurs to exchange ideas and support. The Thursday Gathering includes several free educational sessions aimed at entrepreneurs to learn how to start and run a business. The Gatherings are informal, allowing opportunity to discuss creative and speculative ideas and look for collaborators, co-founders, mentors, or investors.[4]

Innovation Hall[edit]

Venture Cafés in St. Louis, Boston, and Philadelphia offer free drop-in workspace for entrepreneurs to work and collaborate in addition to paid event and meeting rooms and restaurants and coffeeshops.[citation needed]


Venture Café Foundation in Boston runs the Roxbury Innovation Center and St. Louis launched EdHub STL in 2018.[10] Both programs bring together innovators in education including students, parents, administration, and teachers to help solve inequities in education and introduce youth to entrepreneurship and STEAM activities.[citation needed]

Café Nights[edit]

Café Nights are monthly or quarterly versions of the Thursday Gathering located outside the weekly event.[citation needed]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ McGowan, Dan (10 September 2018). "Mayor Elorza, nonprofit leaders launch innovation partnership". Retrieved 5 October 2018.
  2. ^ "Our netowrk is growing". Retrieved 19 February 2019.
  3. ^ Kirsner, Scott (21 June 2018). "How a failed restaurant became Cambridge's hottest Thursday spot". Boston Globe. Retrieved 24 August 2018.
  4. ^ a b "Venture Café's mission is connecting innovators to make things happen". Venture Cafe Official Website. 24 August 2018. Retrieved 24 August 2018.
  5. ^ Bryant, Tim (Sep 29, 2014). "Cambridge Innovation Center opens at Cortex". St. Louis Post Dispatch. Retrieved 24 August 2018.
  6. ^ McGuigan, Christine (2 March 2018). "T-REX and Venture Cafe STL are changing St. Louis' startup landscape". Silicon Prairie News. Retrieved 24 August 2018.
  7. ^ Deem, Jason (10 May 2018). "Cortex Unveils New 4220 Duncan Building". NextSTL. Retrieved 24 August 2018.
  8. ^ "Venture Cafe St. Louis To Open Innovation Hall At Cortex". 12 April 2018.
  9. ^ "Create an Innovative Education Hub". Forward Through Ferguson. 24 August 2018. Retrieved 24 August 2018.
  10. ^ Kukuljan, Steph (11 April 2018). "'Innovation center,' restaurant to open at Cortex". St. Louis Business Journal. Retrieved 24 August 2018.