About VFA

Our 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.

Our Credos

Everything we do is guided by our credo, five beliefs that speak to our core values. These are the ideals we were founded on, that define our community, and that unite all of our Fellows, Alumni, and Team.

My career is a choice that indicates my values

There is no courage without risk

Value creation is how I measure achievement

I will create opportunity for myself and others

I will act with integrity in all things

What do these beliefs look like in practice? Operating with a strong, independent work ethic. Finding ways to thrive in the face of pressure and ambiguity. Putting an emphasis on building new solutions to existing problems. Lastly, it means always working towards a greater goal.

Fellowship Stats

There are currently 366 active Fellows and 611 Alumni.

  • 2012 - 38
  • 2013 - 61
  • 2014 - 99
  • 2015 - 103
  • 2016 - 156
  • 2017 - 154
  • 2018 - 161
  • 2019 - 205

We are currently in 14 cities - Birmingham, Baltimore, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Charlotte, Columbus, Detroit, Kansas City, Miami, New Orleans, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, San Antonio & St. Louis.

VFA is currently exploring expanding to new markets for 2020 and beyond.

Talking Points

(Updated August 2018)

LinkedIn Language

Venture For America is a selective two-year entrepreneurship fellowship that serves to create economic opportunity in American cities. VFA Fellows complete intensive training and commit to spending two years working at a high-growth company in an emerging startup ecosystem.

Resume Example

Venture For America, Detroit, MI; 2016 Fellow

  • Selected from a competitive pool to join national entrepreneurship fellowship for recent college graduates and professionals who commit to spending two years at high-growth companies in an emerging startup ecosystem
  • Participated in intensive summer training program and continued professional development trainings to build the skills necessary to add value to a startup company
  • [Optional] Engaged in (XYZ Launch activity) with (xyz)-focused curriculum
  • [Optional] Led xyz programming for xyz affinity group with xyz members

Strategic Planning

VFA underwent a strategic planning process in 2017 during the CEO transition from Andrew to Amy. The finalized plan can be found here. The focus areas of VFA’s growth until 2020 are deepening our impact in cities, focusing on launch resources and diversity, equity and inclusion. The plan includes specific action steps for each pillar of growth.

We are looking to expand to one new city in 2020 and two additional cities in 2021. In the strategic plan you’ll find a strategy screen which guides our city expansion strategy. A VFA city must possess a need for VFA (brain drain, unemployment, etc.), an existing startup ecosystem and the ability to fund our program through philanthropic support. Elizabeth Brake is leading city expansion efforts, if you have any questions about this work you can reach out to her via email: elizabeth@ventureforamerica.org.

We are always analyzing the sustainability of our markets and much is contingent on feedback from Fellows on the startup ecosystems in each city and the ability to have the program in each market be fully funded. We have no current plans to exit any cities, but will be as transparent as we can with these analyses. We currently have 11 Community Directors and would like to have all markets staffed with an on the ground Community Director by 2020.

National Board of Directors

Our national board members are:

  • Sy Jacobs, Founding and Managing Partner, Jacobs Asset Management
  • Scott Krase, Portfolio Manager and Senior Partner, Oak Hill Advisors
  • Jay Bockhaus, Investor, Director, Advisor
  • Dorie Smith, Co-Founder of Of Mercer
  • Randy Rubin, Founder and Co-Chairman of Crypton Companies
  • Marty Halbfinger, Managing Director and Private Wealth Advisor, UBS
  • David Liu, Chairman and Co-Founder of The XO Group
  • Christian Anthony, Co-CEO and Co-Founder of ListenFirst Media
  • Shane Tintle, Partner, Davis Polk and Wardwell LLP
  • Eric Felder, Investor
  • Gigi Lee Chang, Managing Partner at BFY Capital and Founder of Plum Organics
  • Marcy Engel, Executive Vice President and General Counsel of HRS Management, LLC
  • Shegun Otulana, Founder and CEO of Therapy Brand/TheraNest

Amy manages the board and holds all of these relationships. She welcomes you to reach out to her with a self-contained forwardable email if you would like an introduction to any member. The Board enjoys working with and hearing from Fellows! You are also encouraged to reach out to them on LinkedIn.