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Society News Update, 20 Oct. 2016

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Kauffman Fellows a Charter Organization of new SBA / NVCA / LinkedIn ONBOARD Initiative

Earlier this week, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) published a report, Measuring the Representation of Women and Minorities in the SBIC Program.The Small Business Investment Company (SBIC) Program “provides an alternative source of financing for high-risk small businesses lacking access to adequate capital from traditional sources,” and since its inception has deployed $80.5B in capital. The study shows that “the racial and gender makeup of investment boards is tied directly to investment decisions they make, especially with regard to the race and gender of the owners of companies in which they invest” [read the full press release]. Maria Contreras-Sweet, the SBA Administrator, also noted that this study “shows that we can expand opportunity and increase our overall economic strength by ensuring more women and underrepresented groups are in a position to make major investment decisions.”

Contreras-Sweet also announced a new public–private partnership with LinkedIn and NVCA called Open Network for Board Diversity (ONBOARD), and Kauffman Fellows is proud to be a Charter Organization for this initiative. ONBOARD will work to increase the number of women and underrepresented groups on corporate boards and C-suites of high-growth small businesses.

More diversity in the boardroom makes good business sense, and there’s no arguing with that. A recent article in the New York Times cited studies showing that having at least one woman on a corporate board had numerous measurable benefits, including better director attendance, fewer rash acquisitions, and a lower rate of earnings restatements and fraud. The hedge-fund manager interviewed in the article commented, “Weak governance practices, including a lack of diversity, coincides frequently with poor valuations. … Those improvements, in our minds, are no-brainers.”


Watch the Kauffman Fellows Reunion VC Summit on Livestream

Portions of the upcoming global summit in Kansas City will be livestreamed—a Kauffman Fellows first!

On Monday, October 24, tune in to watch the opening session of the summit, from 7 to 8am PDT:

  • 7amOpening remarks
    Wendy Guillies, President & CEO of the Kauffman Foundation
  • 7:15amThe Roots of the Kauffman Fellows Program
    Phil Wickham (Charter Class), Executive Chairman of Kauffman Fellows, will moderate a discussion with Mike Herman, Jim McGraw, and Steve Roling, three of Ewing Marion Kauffman’s closest associates, about the creation of the program
  • 7:45amThe Power of the Kauffman Fellows Trusted Expert Network (TENx)
    Jeff Harbach (Class 16), President & CEO of Kauffman Fellows, unveils his vision to create a trusted expert network with the power to change the world

Brad FeldAlso on Monday, October 24 at 12 noon PDT, we are pleased to broadcast the day’s keynote speaker, Brad Feld, Managing Director of Foundry Group and a Kauffman Fellows Board Member. Brad has been an early-stage investor and entrepreneur since 1987, believes there are plenty of opportunities to build and invest in great startups outside Silicon Valley, and will explore why it makes sense now more than ever. Brad is the author of Startup Communities: Building an Entrepreneurial Ecosystem in Your Community.

Steve CaseOn Tuesday, October 25 at 7:30am PDT, keynote speaker Steve Case will also be broadcast on the KF website. Steve is co-founder of Revolution LLC, and has embarked on a nationwide effort known as “Rise of the Rest” to work closely with entrepreneurs in emerging startup ecosystems across America. Interviewed by Phil Wickham, Chairman of Kauffman Fellows, they’ll explore how the AOL co-founder believes high growth companies can start and scale anywhere, not just a few coastal cities, and talk about his recently released book The Third Wave.


New Home for Kauffman Fellows Event Information

We are blessed with an abundance of global- and local-level events happening at Kauffman Fellows, as you can see from the sidebar at the top of this post. In lieu of describing each of them here in the Society News updates, each event is now listed with full details on the Kauffman Fellows website “Calendar of Events” page. Check it out!


Erin Andrew (Class 20) Gave a White House Presentation as Part of the TechWomen 2016 Initiative

Erin Andrew (Class 20) is the Assistant Administrator for Women’s Business Ownership at the U.S. Small Business Administration, and gave a talk to the Emerging Leaders group from the TechWomen 2016 initiative who were meeting with White House and State Department staff. Erin (below, on right) led a discussion on “the hurdles female entrepreneurs face and the importance of empowering them to solve global challenges and increase economic prosperity.”

Erin Andrew (Class 20) at the White House

The TechWomen program brings women leaders in STEM from “from Africa, Central Asia and the Middle East together with their professional counterparts in the United States for a mentorship and exchange program.” The 5-week program is primarily based in Silicon Valley, where women have project-based mentorships at leading companies in the region; they also participate in professional development workshops and networking events, and travel to Washington, DC for targeted meetings to conclude their program. Over the past 5 years, 333 women from 21 countries have completed the program. TechWomen is an initiative of the U.S. State Department.


Francisco Coronel (Class 20) Authors VentureBeat Article on the Latin America Startup Scene

VentureBeatFrancisco Coronel (Class 20) wrote a VentureBeat article entitled, “VCs Should Give Latin America Another Look.” Francisco addresses four common myths and misperceptions surrounding the investment and startup environment in LatAm “that continue to spawn hesitation among potential investors and foreign companies seeking expansion into the area.” These myths include the size of the startup community in the region, the countries available and ready for investment, the “copycat” types of startups seen in the past, as well as the national political stability of Latin American countries. Read the full story, and see why these ideas are no longer confining the startup landscape in the region.

Francisco is a Founding Partner at NXTP Labs, the most active early-stage investor in Latin America, with operations in Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, and Uruguay. The firm is a technology incubator that provides young entrepreneurs with “seed funding plus infrastructure, training, mentoring, and interactive marketing services.”


Yousef Hammad (Class 21) and BECO Capital Profiled in Rowad Magazine

Yousef Hammad (Class 21) and his Dubai-based firm, BECO Capital, were profiled in Rowad Magazine, a Bahrain-based journal for regional entrepreneurs with a vision to expand internationally. Commenting on the tech startup environment today in the MENA region, Yousef says, “This is the golden age for the region’s entrepreneurship world. The weak oil prices and expanded security spending are hurting our economy, which may be a blessing in disguise as the governments and corporates look for ways to reduce costs and diversify revenue. Innovation from the region’s entrepreneurs today will be more welcome than any other time in the past, and today’s technology has leveled the playing field for the entrepreneurs. This is an opportunity not to be missed.” Read the full interview.


Nominations open for “Top 50 in Digital Health” through October 21

Nominations are now open for the Top 50 in Digital Health, an annual award recognizing “leading entrepreneurs, investors, technologists, reporters, and providers dedicated to bringing technological advancements to healthcare,” sponsored by Rock Health, Fenwick & West, Goldman Sachs, and Square 1 Bank. The 2016 list of honorees includes Daniel Kraft (Class 13), who was named the “Biggest Digital Health Evangelist.” The list is intended to call out those who are making “exceptional progress in driving resources, attention, and innovation toward a massively better healthcare system.” Nominate your digital health champion! Application closes October 21.


Fundraising and Portfolio Activity

kruxCongratulations to Clint Corver (Class 14) and Miriam Rivera (Class 15) of Ulu Ventures, whose portfolio company Krux was recently purchased by Salesforce for $700 million, split equally in cash and stock, according the Wall Street Journal. Clint and Miriam’s firm, Ulu Ventures, was the seed-stage investor for Krux in 2010, which later went on to raise Series A and B rounds. Krux uses artificial intelligence to analyze trillions of signals across all device types and delivery channel to better identify audience segments for targeted marketing and advertising. Its clients, which include NBC Universal, L’Oreal, HBO, Shutterstock, and AARP, to name a few. The company already has a partnership with Salesforce, and will supplement Salesforce’s existing AI capabilities.

AcuamarkDxBernard Peperstraete’s (Class 11) firm, Acuamark Diagnostics, announced that it is raising funds to finance clinical trials for its cancer early-detection diagnostics. The firm’s proprietary technology aims to detect a wide variety of molecules in low abundance in cancer patients, including DNA mutations and messenger RNAs. “Tumors vary greatly,” Bernard said. “They can release a great variety of markers and marker types into the bloodstream, all of which need to be captured.” Most tests currently on the market look at only a limited number of biomarkers. Acuamark’s assays will run on commercially available instruments and will run in a multi-step, triaging process that will allow physicians to run a rapid, low-cost, highly accurate test first that will then point the way toward Acuamark’s more detailed assays if needed. Read an interview with Acuamark’s co-founder, Cornell Medical professor Dr. Francis Barany, “Do I Have a Hidden Cancer?” about the translation of his research from the lab into the clinical setting.

Blackstorm LabsErnestine Fu (Class 17) and the company she co-founded, Blackstorm Labs, have been in the news of late. This week, Blackstorm was named one of “10 Hot Startups to Watch in 2016” and was featured in a TechCrunch article last month after it raised $33.5M in funding. Blackstorm offers a “lightweight universal development environment that can be used to create and share high-performance applications across environments and delivery systems. Currently, apps are controlled largely by Google and Apple via their respective app stores. However, Ernestine says, “If you think about what’s next, where we’re going to have new distribution platforms that can exist in the form of one messenger, apps within app environments, IoT, mobile browsers—the goal of this company is powering the infrastructure to trade and distribute software to all the post app-store platforms.”


This Week’s Blog Selections

We offer two blog posts in this week’s update:

  • Samir Kaji (Class 20) wrote an essay on Medium.com, “The Micro VC Surge Just Won’t Stop.” With 500 first-time micro-VC funds currently in the market (most in the U.S.), Samir discusses what these new statistics mean for the startup market, for LPs, and for micro-VCs in fundraising mode.
  • Ewa Grzechnik Treitz (Class 19) wrote a blog post on LinkedIn, “Great Companies [Will] Come from Central Eastern Europe.” Ewa describes the many assets that Central Eastern European (CEE) startups bring to the table: technical talent, lower cost of development than Western Europe, teams willing to relocate to grow their businesses, and often location-independent business models.

Job Opportunities

Several job opportunities have been sent in by fellows; see below for details. Jobs will be removed from this list after 4 weeks. Browse back-issues of Society News if you’re looking for an older job post. If you are a Fellow or Mentor and would like to re-post your job, please email us.

  • Silas Capital portfolio company Lifefactory is looking for a VP of Operations. Based in Sausalito, CA, Lifefactory is “the pioneer and leader in glass hydration,” best known for their iconic glass water bottles, now sold in over 30 countries. The VP of Operations is responsible for day-to-day oversight, execution, and coordination of U.S. and international components suppliers, manufacturing schedule, quality control, and logistics. Minimum 10 years of work experience, with at least 4 as an executive in the wholesale consumer products sector, is required. View the full job description and how to apply on LinkedIn.
  • Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC), the largest and most active early-stage technology venture investor in Canada, is seeking an experienced investment professional to lead the fund-of-funds and co-investment activities. Candidates must have at least 10 years of fund and co-investing experience in the PE/VC asset classes, and experience in a managerial capacity with an institution undertaking indirect investments. Ability to communicate in both English and French is an asset. This Vice President position is also responsible for seeding and growing emerging top-tier general partners as well as supporting existing top-quartile Canadian GPs. Read the full job description. Questions? Contact Ela Borenstein (Class 17).
  • The Draper Venture Network is looking for a tech-savvy Analyst to help develop and enhance internal tools for investment, marketing, community engagement and collaboration. The Draper Venture Network team, based in San Mateo, serves as a hub for an alliance of 10 venture firms and their 350+ portfolio companies across four continents. The ideal candidate has some venture or startup experience, enjoys a fast-paced environment, and can code or is otherwise nimble with various technology tools. The role can start as a part-time internship to test fit, with the potential to become full-time. Contact Sid Mofya (Class 19) for more information.
  • Streamlined Ventures is hiring a Principal. This is a partner-track opportunity. Streamlined is an early-stage fund now raising Fund II and under the management of Ullas Naik. They made news with their recent exit of AppLovin (acquired $1.4B). Ullas is a fantastic individual. Email Claire Tomkins (Class 15) for an intro.
  • Golden Gate Ventures is in search of a business developer to be on the ground in Indonesia, helping its portfolio companies achieve their strategic goals and supporting growth of the Golden Gate Ventures’ brand in the country. Preferred candidates have 2+ years of experience in tech startups or VC, and must be fluent in English and Bahasa Indonesia. Business travel is mostly within the country, with occasional travel to Singapore and other SEA locations. View the full job description on LinkedIn, or contact Vinnie Lauria (Class 17) for more information.

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