Life After VFA

Two years as a Fellow is just the beginning. Our Alumni go on to be leaders at startups, launch their own companies and much more.

Choose Your Own Future

There is no one-size-fits-all path for a VFA Alum. After the two years of the Fellowships, our Alumni go on to do a range of things – from traveling the world to going back to school. The wide-ranging experience they’ve gotten on the job working in a startup sets them up for success in any number of fields. But, there are a few paths our Alums tend to follow.


Most VFA Alums emerge from the two years of the Fellowship and find themselves startup leaders, going from entry-level talent learning on the fly to senior leaders at their companies charting the forward path towards growth. They take on more responsibility, keep growing as professionals, and continue to work in early-stage companies and startups.


Over half of our Alums stay in their VFA cities and put down roots there. From buying houses to getting involved in local politics, Alums see their cities as not just a place to pass through but as their new homes.


We don’t expect every Fellow to become an entrepreneur, but plenty do. About a third of VFA Alums have actually gone on to start their own businesses, with 13% currently working as founders at their own companies.


No matter which path you choose, the VFA community and network will always be a resource, an incredible network, and source of friendship, camaraderie, and support. The relationships built through VFA last a lifetime.

60% of Alumni still work in startups after their Fellowship

13% of Alumni are full-time Founders of their own companies

52% of Alumni stay in VFA cities after the Fellowship

Life After VFA

Alumni Stories

No two Fellowship experiences are alike and neither are the paths that our Alumni follow.

This was an unbelievable opportunity and I can't imagine my life without it. I met SO many incredible people that I will call friends for the rest of my life, I got to work on problems professionally that I had no business working on, and I got to know an amazing city in a part of the country that I probably would not have experienced otherwise. VFA broadened my horizons in the best way possible and I'm excited to see how this experience continues to push me throughout my career.

– Brian Barr '17

Starting a Company with VFA

Not every Fellow goes on to start their own business, but plenty do. To date, almost a third of VFA Alums have founded their own companies.

What are they building? Everything from streetwear designs made with heritage fabrics to comfort food pasta made from chickpea flour. There’s no limit to the kinds of companies that our Fellows are founding.

Take a look below and get to know a little more about our Fellow Founders.

Fellow-Founded Companies


Founded by Marino Orlandi '15

Natur-All Club

Founded by Muhga Eltigani '14

Zest Tea

Founded by James Fayal '12

Meet a Fellow Founder

Meet a Fellow Founder

Sean Wen '14 turned a pop-up into a restaurant chain

Like a lot of his classmates at UT Austin, Sean began his career in finance, joining Goldman Sachs as an analyst. He quickly realized that he wanted to be a part of something bigger and more meaningful—and when he heard about Venture For America, it seemed like the right opportunity for Sean to make an impact. As a Fellow in San Antonio, Sean and a friend from college decided to turn their tradition of hosting Vietnamese-style crawfish boils into a business. First with pop-up events and now with one full restaurant, and another on the way!

Read Sean's story
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