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
Approach

Recruit

We recruit recent graduates who are ambitious, diverse, and looking for a challenge with their careers. Our rigorous application and selection process makes sure we find Fellows who can add value on day one.

Train

We connect recent college grads with jobs in startups, entrepreneurship-adjacent organizations, and early-stage companies. When our Fellows see someone building a business first-hand, it lets them see that they can, too.

Connect

Our Fellows explore opportunities in cities with emerging entrepreneurial ecosystems. The companies where they work contribute to job growth and economic progress in those cities and the Fellows become part of a new community.

Support

Through our network of investors and industry experts, we support Fellows when they start their own companies. Even our Fellows who decide not to start companies are offered ongoing programming to keep them connected to our community.

The Power of Diversity

What we’ve created at VFA represents a unique community and opportunity. Our aim is to leave everything we touch better than we found it – with our Fellowship stronger and the entrepreneurship industry more diverse, inclusive, and welcoming.

Our Efforts

RISE

RISE is a coalition of diversity, equity, and inclusion resource groups for Fellows and Alumni. RISE exists to empower, provide opportunities, and create a formal space for members of our community who identify as members of underrepresented groups in entrepreneurial and innovation communities.

Operation 3 to 300

An initiative to help 300 women and racial and ethinc minorities become entrepreneurs over a three year period. This effort is fueled by the generous support of UBS and Uber.

Diversity of Fellowship Cohorts

For our Fellows, we are an onramp into careers in innovation, technology, and entrepreneurship, particularly for communities that have been historically underrepresented in these industries.

Our Impact

More than 1200 Current Fellows and Alumni

More than 450 Company Partners

29% of Fellows have started businesses

Fellows have raised $191 million of investment capital

About Us

Our Team is made up of dedicated and passionate professionals working to cultivate the next generation of entrepreneurs and startup leaders.

Eric Somerville

Chief Executive Officer

Josh Russakis

Senior Director, Company Partnerships

Elizabeth Brake

Chief Operating Officer

Rick Pena

Finance Manager

Abby Guerin

Director of Birmingham

Carrie Murphy

Vice President of Community Partnerships

Kate Loar

Director of St. Louis & Kansas City

Andrew Albert

Director of New Orleans

Ali Garber

Vice President, Strategic Partnerships

Brandon Mitchell

Director of Miami

Julia Kortberg

Director of Programs

Sarah Craft

Director of Detroit

Betsye Moon Park

Vice President, Finance and Human Resources

Keenan Covington

Director of Marketing

Julia Wang

Senior Manager, Entrepreneurship

Emma Simpson

Director of Strategic Partnerships

Sarah Olivarez

Director of San Antonio

Alyson Stemas

Vice President of Programs

Realé Snorton

Recruitment Manager

Bonnie Martinez

Marketing Manager

Gulsun Cavusoglu

Director of Philadelphia

Tyler Orginski

Company Partnerships Manager

Desi Price

Finance & Accounting Associate

Jenny Sharpe

Director of Pittsburgh

Kyle Goodfellow

Director of Charlotte

Mandi Ford Argo

Director of Tulsa

Angelica Dandridge

Director of Northeast Ohio

Victoria Reyes

Senior Human Resources Manager

Natalia Joseph

Senior Programs Associate

Tess Cardoza-Hawk

Senior Manager of Learning Programs

Katie Roy

Communications Manager

MaryCatherine Wright

Vice President of Talent

Cory J. Anderson

Director of Baltimore

Christian Anthony

Co-CEO and Co-Founder, ListenFirst Media

Dorie Smith

Founder and Investor

Gigi Lee Chang

Managing Partner at BFY Capital and Founder of Plum Organics

James Feagin IV

Director of Entrepreneurship, Rocket Community Fund

Jaret Davis

Co-Managing Shareholder for the Miami Office of Greenberg, Traurig, P.A.

Jay Bockhaus

Investor, Director, Advisor

Jennifer Gabrielli

Deputy Head of Ultra High Net Worth, Americas Wealth Management, UBS

Marcy Engel

Executive Vice President and General Counsel of HRS Management, LLC

Randy Rubin (Co-Chair)

Investor and Founder, The Crypton Companies

Shane Tintle

Partner, Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP

Shegun Otulana

CEO & Founder, TheraNest

Abhas Gupta

Co-Founder & CEO, Calyx Health

Alexandra Frey

Executive Director, 80/20 Foundation

Alexandra Wilkis Wilson

Co-Founder, Gilt & Co-Founder, Glamsquad

Andy Weissman

Partner, Union Square Ventures

Bernard Sucher

CEO, Tikun Olam USA

Betsy Idilbi

Co-Founder & CEO, Tech Talent South

Bhikhaji Maneckji

Retired Attorney

Braxton Goodrich

Managing Director, Timberline Investments

Bret Piat

President & CEO, JungleDisk

Cassie Young

Chief Customer Officer, CM Group

Chanell Scott Contreras

Executive Director, ProsperUS Detroit

Chip Hazard

General Partner, Flybridge Capital Partners

Chris Paik

Partner, Thrive Capital

Chris Schultz

Co-Founder, Launch Pad

Clarinda Barnett-Harrison

Co-Founder and Community Experience Design Lead, City Innovations at Ford Motor Company

Cliff Holekamp

Co-Founder & Managing Director, Cultivation Capital

Courtney Nelson

Vice President, Coefficient Capital

Crystal McDonald

Director of Entrepreneurship, Propeller

Dan Kelley

Vice President, Global Executive Recruitment, American Express

Dan Roselli

Co Founder & Managing Diretor, Packard Place & Queen City Fintech

Dan Vigdor

Executive Chairman, HackerU

Darius Graham

Program Director, Baltimore, The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation

David Adelman

CEO, Campus Apartments

David Gilboa

Founder, Warby Parker

Devon Laney

President, Innovation Depot

Dug Song

Co-Founder, Chairman & CEO, Duo Security and General Manager, Cisco

Edi Demaj

Co-Founder & COO, KODE Labs

Eileen Lee

Co-Founder, The Lola

Eric Bahn

Co-Founder and General Partner, Hustle Fund

Eric Weissmann

Vice President, Cintrifuse

Evan Segal

Chairman, Tracy and Evan Segal Family Foundation

Gabriel Rodriguez-Garriga

Senior Vice President of Strategy and Partnerships, Detroit Regional Partnership

Gary Chou

Founder, Orbital

Gary Horowitz

Partner, Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP

Gary Klein

Founder & CEO of G Klein & Associates

Graham Weston

Co-Founder and former Chairman & CEO, Rackspace

Greg Ho

President, Chief Operating Officer, and Co-Founder, Spring Mountain Capital, LP

Guillermo Silberman

Managing Partner, Tamar Equities Group

Hanad Duale

Advisor, START Columbus

Harly Stevens

Senior Vice President, CBRE

Hassan Bazzi

Director of Community Innovation, Forward Cities

James Edward Feagin IV

Director of Entrepreneurship, Rocket Community Fund

Janine Shelfo

Chief Strategy Officer, Advance

Jared Weinstein

Co-Founder, Breakthrough Birmingham & Partner, Thrive Capital

Jaret Davis

Co-Managing Shareholder for the Miami Office of Greenberg, Traurig, P.A.

Jason Jones

Director of Entrepreneurship, Idea Foundry

Jason Van Itallie

Managing Director, Belzberg & Co.

Jay Adya

Managing Director, Iconica Partners

Jeff Weiner

Executive Chairman, LinkedIn

Jeremy Hunnewell

CFO & Business Strategist, Zehnder Communications

Jeremy Shinewald

Founder and President, mbaMission

John Cammack

Founder and Managing Partner, Cammack Associates LLC

Josh Kopelman

Partner, First Round Capital

Katia Beauchamp

Co-Founder & CEO, Birchbox

Keith Luedeman

Executive Director, Innovate Charlotte and Founder, goodmortgage.com

Kelly Boatright Sexton, Ph.D.

Associate Vice President for Research, University of Michigan Tech Transfer Center

Kerry Kellogg

Partner, 3L Capital

Kris Brown

Partner, Goodwin

Lisa Katz

Senior Program Officer, William Davidson Foundation

Lisa McLaughlin

Co-Founder & Co-CEO, Workit Health

Lorenzo Gomez

Co-Founder, Geekdom & Geekdom Media

Lynn-Ann Gries

Principal, Gries Consulting

Mark Wilkins

Managing Director – Wealth Management, Private Wealth Advisor, UBS

Marty Finkle

Retired CEO, AscendU

Matt Wisdom

Co-founder, TurboSquid

Michael Borofsky

Chief Operating Officer & Chief Strategy Officer, The Pohlad Companies

Michael Lefenfeld

President and CEO, Cyanco

Natalia Martinez-Kalinina

General Manager, Miami & Lead, Latin America, CIC

Pat Matthews

Co-Founder & CEO, Active Capital

Patrick Comer

Founder & CEO, Lucid

Patti Glaza

Managing Director, Invest Detroit Ventures

Prabhdeep Singh

Global Head of Operations, WeWork Labs

Randy Brandoff

Founder, Eleven James

Rob Cummings

Managing Director & CTO, Falfurrias Capital Partners and Co-Founder & Director, DealCloud

Ron Pillar

Founder, Pillar Capital Advisors

Ronald Meyers

Startup Evangelist, University of Cincinnati

Scott Tobe

President, Signature Financial Planning

Shelley Seifert

Chairman & CEO, First Bank

Sherman Hu

Enterprise Sales, Investor, Advisor

Smitha Gopal

CEO, Rendia

Steven Mazur

Co-Founder & CEO, Ash & Erie and 2013 VFA Fellow

Talia Goldfarb

Founder & CEO, Myself Belts

Thibault Manekin

Co-Founder and Partner, Seawall Development

Tom Bendheim

Founder and CEO, b7 Properties

Tony Summerville

CEO & Founder, Fleetio

Walt Frye

Founder & CIO, The Incite Foundry

William Bissett

President and Founder, Portus Wealth Advisors

William Generett Jr.

VP for Community Engagement, Duquesne University

Zeev Klein

General Partner and Co-Founder, Landmark Ventures

Zeke Vanderhoek

Founder and Principal, The Equity Project Charter School

$1,000,000+ Donors

PriceWaterhouseCoopers Charitable Foundation
Quicken Loans
UBS

$500,000+ Donors

Alabama Power
The William Davidson Foundation

$200,000+ Donors

American Express Open Forum
Blackstone Group
Burton D. Morgan Foundation
Dara Khosrowshahi
Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation
John Brown Cook Foundation
John S. & James L. Knight Foundation, Miami
Slack

$100,000+ Donors

80/20 Foundation
Abell Foundation
Altec-Styslinger Foundation
Bank of America
CVC Capital Partners
Hillman Foundation
KIND
Lenfest Foundation
Reid Hoffman
Stavros Niarchos Foundation
The Evan and Tracy Segal Foundation
Wyncote Foundation

$75,000+ Donors

Comcast NBCUniversal
Goldseker Foundation
Mike & Gillian Goodrich Foundation
New Economy Initiative for Southeast Michigan
Rhode Island Foundation

$50,000+ Donors

Barclays
Greater Cincinnati Foundation
Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation
Jeff Weiner
Leon Lowenstein Foundation
Reemprise Fund
Scotwork
Skoll Foundation
The Daniel Foundation

$25,000+ Donors

Aaron and Lillie Straus Foundation
Andy Parker
Barbara Shapiro
BCBS
Darren MacDonald
David Liu
Eric Felder
Haile/U.S. Bank Foundation
John S. & James L. Knight Foundation, Charlotte
Marian Salzma + Havas PR
Miles Lasater
NBC Universal
Peter Ezersky
Reginald F. Lewis Foundation
Scott Johnston
Scott Krase
Shara Mendelson
Sy Jacobs
The Anschutz Foundation

$10,000+ Donors

Arthur M. Blank Foundation
Bennett Goodman
Columbus Foundation
Davis Polk & Wardwell
Edward Emerson
Fabrice Grinda
Foundation for the Carolinas
HBO
Jared Weinstein
Josh Kopelman
Kenneth Hirsh
Leonard Suskind
Lucid
Mary Miller
Michael Fascitelli
MightyHive
NC IDEA Foundation
T. Rowe Price Foundation
The George Gund Foundation
Thrive Capital
WeWork

$5,000+ Donors

Albert Wenger
Barry Volpert
Bart Harvey
Ben Stein
Bernard Sucher
Bhikhaji Maneckji
Brian Miller
Charlie Kroll
Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham
Cultivation Capital
Gallagher Evelius & Jones LLP
John Cammack
John Payne
Johns Hopkins Technology Ventures
Leo Eisenberg
Lloyd Blankfein
Marty Halbfinger
Maryland Technology Development Corporation (TEDCO)
Matt Wyskiel
Rob Cummings
Scott Kleper
Sean O’Brien
Shane Battier
Silicon Valley Bank
St. Louis Economic Development Partnership
Stacey Lane
Steven Klinsky

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