Press Releases

June 4, 2013: Venture for America Announces Fellow Innovation Fund to Support Projects in Detroit, New Orleans, and Other Cities

May 31, 2013: Venture for America to Send 100 Top College Graduates Over Next Five Years to Support Detroit and Cleveland Startups

December 3, 2012: Downtown Project and Tony Hsieh Pledge $1 Million to VFA


June, 4 2013

VENTURE FOR AMERICA ANNOUNCES FELLOW INNOVATION FUND TO SUPPORT PROJECTS IN DETROIT, NEW ORLEANS, AND OTHER CITIES

FELLOWS GAIN ACCESS TO AMERICA EXPRESS OPEN FORUM’S NETWORK OF ENTREPRENEURS AND ROCKETHUB’S CROWDFUNDING PLATFORM TO FUND THEIR IDEAS

New York, NY — Venture for America, a fellowship program that helps recent grads become entrepreneurs, announced today that it will be offering its Venture Fellows the opportunity to use RocketHub, a crowdfunding platform, giving them the chance to compete for $25,000 in funding for their projects and ideas. For the first time ever, this “Innovation Fund” will offer the opportunity for these young entrepreneurs to access money available only to Venture for America Fellows.

Additionally, American Express OPEN Forum, a sponsor of the Venture for America since 2012, will provide support for VFA Fellows with access to its advice-sharing platform, featuring powerful expert insights and a community of entrepreneurs. VFA Fellows will be able to leverage OPEN Forum’s network of entrepreneurs to exchange advice and make informed decisions related to a variety of business topics.

“We are thrilled to give our Fellows the opportunity through the Innovation Fund to begin launching their projects and ideas,” said Andrew Yang, Founder and CEO of Venture for America. “This is really the first step toward giving our Fellows the opportunity to one day launch their own businesses and create jobs.”

The projects competing in the challenge include a non-profit that teaches entrepreneurship in middle schools in New Orleans and Detroit, a networking app based in Providence, RI, and a sandwich shop in the up-and-coming “Over the Rhine” neighborhood in Cincinnati, OH. The Fellow that raises the most money through RocketHub between now and July 8th will receive $10,000 from the Innovation Fund, with other prizes for second and third place. To learn more about their projects and contribute to their ideas, you can visit VFA.RocketHub.com.

“RocketHub is excited to partner with Venture For America to support their initiative of revitalizing American cities through entrepreneurship,” said RocketHub CEO, Brian Meece. “Crowdfunding now plays an important role in bringing innovation, jobs, and opportunities to communities across the nation.”

Venture for America’s Fellows are recent college graduates chosen through a rigorous, multi-stage application and selection process. By giving these aspiring entrepreneurs a pathway to join startups and providing them with training and mentorship, Venture for America hopes to mobilize these young people as entrepreneurs moving forward. Fellow Innovation Fund Projects can be viewed at VFA.RocketHub.com.

About American Express OPEN Forum:

American Express OPEN Forum is an advice sharing platform featuring powerful expert insights and a community of entrepreneurs. Our focus is on unlocking the collective knowledge of entrepreneurs and growth-minded business owners by creating a community where they can come together and share their experiences.
To learn more visit OPENForum.com.

About RocketHub:

RocketHub is an international, pioneering, open community that has helped thousands of entrepreneurs, scientists, artists, and social leaders raise millions of dollars. Part of RocketHub’s mission is to educate the public on the power of the crowdfunding model. As a result, the founders have lectured on crowdfunding at top schools and conferences around the globe, and have even testified in the U.S. Congress on the power of online fundraising.


May, 31 2013

VENTURE FOR AMERICA TO SEND 100 TOP COLLEGE GRADUATES OVER THE NEXT FIVE YEARS TO SUPPORT DETROIT AND CLEVELAND STARTUPS

DAN GILBERT AND QUICKEN LOADS PLEDGE $1.5 MILLION TO BRING VENTURE FOR AMERICA ENTREPRENEURSHIP FELLOWS TO DETROIT AND CLEVELAND’S URBAN CORE

New York, NY — Venture for America and Quicken Loans Inc. today announced a five-year partnership that will bring dozens of the nation’s most talented and enterprising young college graduates from around the country to Detroit and Cleveland’s developing and creative, tech-focused urban cores over the next five years.

Dan Gilbert, Founder and Chairman of Rock Ventures and Quicken Loans, and Majority Owner of the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers, has pledged $1.5 million to fund these Venture for America “Fellows,” which provides these new college grads with two-year career opportunities at several established as well as tech startup companies in the downtowns of Detroit and Cleveland. The announcement of the donation was made at Venture for America’s Summer Celebration last night.

Venture for America’s Fellows are recent college graduates and aspiring entrepreneurs chosen through a rigorous, multi-stage application and selection process. The organization, created in 2011, provides U.S.-based startups the talent they need to thrive and create a new generation of business builders and job creators.

“We’re thrilled to bring a host of the country’s top college graduates to support Dan Gilbert’s vision to revitalize Detroit and Cleveland,” said Andrew Yang, Founder and CEO of Venture for America. “Our Fellows have been hard at work helping to build businesses in Detroit this past year. With this commitment, Venture for America will be in Detroit and Cleveland the next five years and beyond.”

Gilbert, over the past two years, has invested $1 billion to acquire more than 7.5 million square-feet of commercial real estate in Detroit, creating a vibrant urban core where young people and others want to live, work and play.

Detroit is attracting some of the country’s most innovative and inspiring artists, designers and new economy businesses to its growing tech hub and creative center. More than 80 companies have settled in buildings owned by Gilbert’s real estate arm, Bedrock Real Estate Services, with some of them currently employing Venture for America Fellows.

“The commitment to Venture for America was a no brainer…these young, creative and entrepreneurial Fellows are exactly the kind of talented brain force that the companies who are relocating to the burgeoning urban cores of Detroit and Cleveland want and need,” said Gilbert.

“Detroit and Cleveland are becoming thriving business hubs,” said Yang. “Our goals align perfectly with what Gilbert’s organization is trying to build, and we believe Venture for America Fellows will have a real impact.”

About Quicken Loans:

Detroit-based Quicken Loans Inc. is the nation’s largest online home lender and the country’s third largest retail home mortgage lender. The company closed a record $70 billion of volume across all 50 states in 2012. Quicken Loans generates loan production from web centers located in Detroit, Cleveland and Scottsdale, Arizona. The company also operates a centralized loan processing facility in Detroit, as well as its San Diego-based One Reverse Mortgage unit. Quicken Loans ranked #1 in customer satisfaction among all home mortgage lenders in the United States by J.D. Power and Associates in 2010, 2011 and 2012.
Quicken Loans also ranked among the top-30 companies on FORTUNE Magazine’s annual “100 Best Companies to Work For” list for the last 10 consecutive years. It ranked in the top-15 of Computerworld magazine’s “100 Best Places to Work in Technology” for the past eight years, ranking in the top-5 in 2012. The company recently moved its headquarters and more than 8,500 of its nearly 10,000 team members to downtown Detroit. For more information about Quicken Loans, please visit quickenloans.com, on Twitter at @QLnews, and on Facebook at facebook.com/QuickenLoans.

About Opportunity Detroit:

Opportunity Detroit is a campaign that promotes downtown Detroit as a great place to live, work and play. The campaign launched last fall as a partnership with Quicken Loans, Rock Ventures, the Detroit Regional Chamber (of Commerce), and dozens of non-profit, civic and business organizations in the city. It started with a commercial and web site, and it continues to evolve as a campaign to tell Detroit’s story as an emerging high-tech hub, and the city’s ongoing transformation from a muscle economy of the past to the brain economy of the present and future. For more information, please visit opportunitydetroit.com.

Press Contacts:

Venture for America: Lisa Gruber, M Booth, (212) 539-3228, lisa@ventureforamerica.org

Quicken Loans & Rock Ventures: Paula Silver, (313) 373-7255, paulasilver@rockventures.com


December 3, 2012

DOWNTOWN PROJECT AND TONY HSIEH PLEDGE $1 MILLION TO VENTURE FOR AMERICA TO SPUR LAS VEGAS DOWNTOWN REVITALIZATION EFFORTS

VENTURE FOR AMERICA WILL SEND OVER 100 TOP COLLEGE GRADUATES OVER THE NEXT FIVE YEARS TO SUPPORT DOWNTOWN PROJECT’S START-UP BUSINESSES, LOCAL SMALL BUSINESSES, REAL ESTATE DEVELOPMENT, AND COMMUNITY EFFORTS

Las Vegas, NV — Downtown Project and Venture for America today announced that Tony Hsieh and Downtown Project pledged $1 Million to Venture for America starting in 2013. During the next five years, Venture for America will send at least 100 of the country’s most talented and enterprising graduates to downtown Las Vegas to assist Tony Hsieh and Downtown Project in helping revitalize downtown Vegas.

“We’re thrilled to be able to support Tony Hsieh’s work and vision,” said Andrew Yang, Founder and President of Venture for America. “Our Fellows here in Las Vegas are able to get invaluable experience helping build businesses and create jobs.”

Downtown Project, announced last year, is a $350 million initiative to help reinvigorate and develop downtown Las Vegas into a thriving employment center and community. The budget includes $200 million for real estate development, $50 million for tech start-ups, $50 million for local businesses, and $50 million for education, music, and arts. Zappos.com is planning to relocate its 1,200+ Henderson employees to the old Las Vegas City Hall building in 2013.

“Venture for America is a natural partner for us,” said Tony Hsieh. “Their Fellows are already a valuable part of the community and we’re excited to put more to work.” Tony noted that he appreciated Venture for America’s emphasis on job creation. “We’re going to help create hundreds of new businesses and thousands of jobs here in downtown Las Vegas over the next five years.”

Venture for America Fellows are recent college graduates aspiring to be entrepreneurs who are chosen through a rigorous, multi-stage application and selection process. Hundreds of applications are received annually from students across the country.

“Since Venture for America’s launch last year, we’ve been operating in a number of cities and Las Vegas is among the very best,” said Andrew. “They’re doing great things here. We are looking forward to working with Downtown Project for years to come.”

About Downtown Project:
To learn more about Downtown Project, please visit:

http://downtownproject.com

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About Venture for America:

Venture for America is a registered 501c3 non-profit corporation designed to do for entrepreneurship what Teach for America has done for education – provide a pathway for young, talented grads to become business builders and job creators in areas of need. In 2012, VFA sent its inaugural group of 40 recent grads from the top U.S. universities, called “Fellows”, to join start-up companies in low-cost cities around the country, including Detroit, Providence, New Orleans, Cincinnati, and Las Vegas. Philanthropic individuals and companies supporting Venture for America include Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos; Andrew Weissman of Union Square Ventures, David Tisch of Techstars, and Dan Porter of OMGPOP. It has established partnerships with Detroit Venture Partners, Betaspring, Bizdom U., the New Economy Initiative, Rhode Island Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship and other regional start-up accelerators, investors, and incubators.

Press Contact:
Lisa Gruber
lisa@ventureforamerica.org
212-539-3228

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