VENTURE FOR AMERICA INC

New York, NY   |  www.ventureforamerica.org

Mission

Venture for America is creating economic opportunity in American cities by mobilizing the next generation of entrepreneurs and equipping them with the skills and resources they need to create jobs.

Ruling year info

2011

Interim CEO

Dorie Smith

Chief Operating Officer

Elizabeth Brake

Main address

307 7th Ave Ste 1201

New York, NY 10001 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

27-2987904

NTEE code info

Single Organization Support (J11)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Venture for America's goal is to fuel job growth in cities that need it while empowering our best and brightest to help startups grow and create value in their communities. Through our fellowship program, we aim to produce high-character leaders who will found and lead quality organizations throughout their careers. VFA focuses on cities that have experienced a brain drain and typically struggle to attract talent, but have a commitment to revitalizing the regional economy through entrepreneurship. We partner with startups looking to hire talented young people, fostering a wave of future startup builders.

With VFA all parties benefit: graduates who crave development, growth companies that need talented early hires, and regions searching for the next sources of job growth and innovation.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Training Camp

Five week training course

Population(s) Served
Adults

Venture for America is a nonprofit fellowship program creating economic opportunity in American cities by mobilizing the next generation of entrepreneurs and equipping them with the skills and resources they need to create jobs.

VFA identifies highly talented recent college graduates via our rigorous selection process that is designed to test candidates’ adaptive excellence, grit and resilience, and ability to contribute to a growing startup. After five weeks of training, VFA Fellows spend two years working for a startup in a U.S. city with an emerging startup ecosystem.

Throughout the fellowship, Fellows learn how to contribute to a growth business and benefit from mentorship, ongoing training, and the access to the nationwide VFA community. When Fellows and alumni are ready to build companies of their own, VFA provides resources to help them become successful entrepreneurs.

Population(s) Served
Adults

Venture for America is a nonprofit fellowship program creating economic opportunity in American cities by mobilizing the next generation of entrepreneurs and equipping them with the skills and resources they need to create jobs.

VFA identifies highly talented recent college graduates via our rigorous selection process that is designed to test candidates’ adaptive excellence, grit and resilience, and ability to contribute to a growing startup. After five weeks of training, VFA Fellows spend two years working for a startup in a U.S. city with an emerging startup ecosystem.

Throughout the fellowship, Fellows learn how to contribute to a growth business and benefit from mentorship, ongoing training, and the access to the nationwide VFA community. When Fellows and alumni are ready to build companies of their own, VFA provides resources to help them become successful entrepreneurs.

Population(s) Served
Adults

Venture for America is a nonprofit fellowship program creating economic opportunity in American cities by mobilizing the next generation of entrepreneurs and equipping them with the skills and resources they need to create jobs.

VFA identifies highly talented recent college graduates via our rigorous selection process that is designed to test candidates’ adaptive excellence, grit and resilience, and ability to contribute to a growing startup. After five weeks of training, VFA Fellows spend two years working for a startup in a U.S. city with an emerging startup ecosystem.

Throughout the fellowship, Fellows learn how to contribute to a growth business and benefit from mentorship, ongoing training, and the access to the nationwide VFA community. When Fellows and alumni are ready to build companies of their own, VFA provides resources to help them become successful entrepreneurs.

Population(s) Served
Adults

We know it isn’t easy to turn a side project into a full-time job. Among other things, building a company takes time, space, and support from people who have been there. Enter: the VFA Accelerator.

For three months, participants spend their time in Detroit living and breathing their company. With help from the team and a wide range of industry leaders, Fellow founders can focus solely on building their fledgling companies. From connecting Fellow founders to advisors, to providing them with space to work, to helping them figure out the legal stuff, the Accelerator is all about guiding new founders down the path to success.

At the end of the three months, we host a Demo Day for Accelerator companies to pitch to investors in our network and for a chance to raise seed capital!

Population(s) Served
Adults

Where we work

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Venture for America serves 18 cities across the country by supporting and fostering the growth of local entrepreneurial ecosystems through ourFellowship program. VFA Fellows are recent graduates from top colleges around the country. VFA's selection process screens for traits beyond academic success and on ­campus involvement; our Fellows demonstrate grit, resilience, work ethic, humility—all traits we see as necessary to success in startup life and in starting a company.

Our Fellows contribute value to the startups where they work by helping contribute to companies' growth. Growth businesses are the true engines of job creation in the U.S. economy, and VFA seeks to assist these businesses in their first ten years of operations by seeding them with top talent at below market prices (Fellows are recent graduates from top colleges around the country, screened for grit, resilience, and work ethic, all traits we see as necessary to success in startup life and in starting a company.) Data from the The New Geography of Jobs shows that when a high­ tech company hires one person, five new jobs follow. Not only are our company partners adding five jobs within two years of hiring a VFA Fellow, but also our Fellow­-led companies are creating jobs in their cities. Since launching, our Fellow-­led ventures have generated more than 200 jobs nationally.

We also aim to support Fellow engagement in the greater community, and have done so by encouraging our Fellows to volunteering, star side projects and businesses, and build relationships with local and regional entrepreneurs. In driving talent to local startup organizations that otherwise would not have access, and by giving ourFellows the training and resources they need to do this, we aim to bolster the entrepreneurial ecosystems of our cities and increase the rate at which millennials start their own companies in these cities. By virtue of contributing to the entrepreneurial ecosystems in our cities, we ultimately aim to spur job growth and impact regional economy.

Venture for America addresses key needs in our markets: attracting quality talent and creating quality jobs. The specific activities we undertake each year to drive these goals are our recruitment and selection of each class of Fellows, during which we draw talent from a high-caliber national pool via career fairs, information sessions, and Campus Ambassador; our annual Training Camp, a five week program that trains and prepare Fellows to start working in startups; and ongoing programing over the course of the two-year Fellowship, which includes mentorship, frequent trainings and learning resources, and entrepreneurial programming support for Fellows who aim to found and fund their own businesses.

Our capabilities include a dedicated team of 33 full-time New York City and regionally based employees who work on active recruitment, a streamlined and proven selection process, a high-touch placement process, and building robust programming for the support and professional development of Fellows. We are also supported by an actively engaged Board of Directors, and Regional Advisory Boards in many of our cities.

In 2016, we began building out a model of regional Community Directors, who live and work on the ground in VFA cities. We currently have a team of seven Community Directors who collectively manage 13 VFA cities; these cities placed, on average, twice as many Fellows in 2017 than cities that are not managed by a Community Director and have proven to have higher rates of Fellow satisfaction. In keeping with our new strategic initiative to strengthen our program and go deeper into our cities, we aim to have a Community Director managing every VFA city by 2020. Our hope is that this new, more regionally-focused approach becomes a model for how we remain closely connected to our Fellow cohorts and key partners in critical regions while still allowing us to expand into new markets nationally.

In the past six years, Venture for America has recruited and trained 700+ talented Fellows while maintaining a competitive <20% acceptance rate for our program. We have expanded to 18 cities since our inaugural year in 2012, and have placed Fellows in 450+ companies in these cities. Our partner companies have created more than 2,000 jobs upon hiring our Fellows. We have greatly strengthened the programming and support we offer to our Fellow founders, and as a result, companies founded by our Fellows have raised over $35,699,000 in funding, generated $17,775,851 in revenue, and currently employ 218 people.

Currently, VFA has 350 active Fellows currently employed by 200 company partners, and nearly 400 alumni. While we have already seen our impact steadily increase in the past six years, our growth will continue for years to come. With the recent publication of our strategic plan, we have decided to recommit to our goals and refine our program around three key pillars
to achieve them. First, as an organization, we are recommitting ourselves to the cities where we can have the greatest impact, building out the teams and infrastructure there that will allow us to succeed long-term. Next, we will grow our Launch programming so that we can bring more resources to bear for Fellows and Alumni who are starting companies. Finally, we will continue to be an onramp to entrepreneurship for historically excluded communities by embracing diversity at all levels of our organization.

Financials

VENTURE FOR AMERICA INC
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

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VENTURE FOR AMERICA INC

Board of directors
as of 3/31/2021
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Sy Jacobs

Jacobs Asset Management

Christian Anthony

ListenFirst Media

Jay Bockhaus

Peter Ezersky

Rhône Group

Eric Felder

Citadel

Martin Halbfinger

UBS

Scott Krase

Oak Hill Advisors

Miles Lasater

Higher One

Shara Mendelson

Shatze, LLC

David Liu

XO Group, Inc.

Andy Parker

Bombora Investment Partners

Shane Tintle

Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP

Andrew Yang

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? No