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Society News Update, 29 Sept. 2016

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Women Fellows Quarterly Breakfast – San Francisco, November 1

Claire Tomkins (Class 15) and Hana Yang (Class 20) are organizing the first Kauffman Women Fellows Quarterly Breakfast in San Francisco on Tuesday, November 1st. If you have a Bay Area address listed with KF, you should have received an invite already; if we missed you, or if you happen to be in the Bay Area and would like to attend, please email Jewel Savadelis.

Location: Americano (in Hotel Vitale), at the corner of Mission St. & Embarcadero in San Francisco
Date: Tuesday, November 1, 8am to 9:30am

The breakfast series is co-sponsored by Kauffman Fellows and First Republic Bank (FRB). Next quarter’s breakfast will be held in Menlo Park.

Vinetta LogoSuzanne King (Charter) Serving Tonight as Vinetta Showcase Judge

Suzanne King (Charter) will serve this evening as a judge at the Vinetta Showcase pitch event in Washington, DC. The Vinetta Project sources “high-potential female founders with proven business models and offer them unprecedented access to proprietary events, resources, exclusive networks and capital from vetted investors.” It has seven chapters across North America, and in addition to events such as tonight’s pitch and panel, Vinetta hosts workshops and fireside chats for female founders, and also runs the Vinetta Collective, “the world’s first talent agency dedicated to the rise of tech’s top female founders.”

Paul Hsiao (Class 8) and Gary Little (Mentor Class 4) Close $300M Fund

Canvas VenturesCongratulations to Paul Hsiao (Class 8) and Gary Little (Mentor Class 4) and their firm, Canvas Venture Fund, on their recent $300M fund closing. Forbes reports that the firm plans to add about 20 more startups to its portfolio in Series A and B rounds. The firm only invests in roughly one startup per partner per calendar year, focused on fintech, digital marketplaces, and digital health. Paul says, “We’ve never been fast. We want to keep it boutique, and we want to be a heavy hitter in certain areas.” Canvas was named a “VC Firm to Watch” on the 2015 Forbes Midas List.

Adrian Li (Class 21) Brings “China Angels” to Indonesia

Adrian Li (Class 21) and his firm, Indonesia-based Convergence Ventures, organized a recent visit of 8 “China Angels”—investors who have founded or invested in billion-dollar businesses in China. During their visit, the angels had on-site visits of 2 of Indonesia’s largest technology startups, and heard elevator pitches from a dozen early-stage startups. Of the visit, Adrian said, “Indonesia’s entrepreneurs can learn a lot from the experience of markets such as China so this is a great opportunity for everyone to benefit.” Before cofounding Convergence in 2014, Adrian spent 6 years in China building his own e-learning startup that was later acquired. Read the full story in the Jakarta Globe.

Listen to Ezra Galston (Class 18) on Developing Underserved Startup Ecosystems

Ezra Galston (Class 18) and his Chicago Ventures partner, Stuart Larkins, were interviewed on The Full Ratchet, in a podcast focusing on underserved startup ecosystems such as Minneapolis, MN and Austin, TX. In the interview, they talk about what they see as the key ingredients necessary for a startup ecosystem, what constitutes an underserved ecosystem, and the ways in which some locations are underserved—and discuss their firm’s efforts in some of those places.

Startup Weekend Oakland: Hacking Bias, October 7-9 with Mitch Kapor (Mentor Class 21) and Brian Dixon (Class 21)

Startup Weekend: Hacking BiasMitch Kapor (Mentor Class 21) and Brian Dixon (Class 21) are set to be mentors at the upcoming Techstars Startup Weekend in Oakland, taking place at the Kapor Center for Social Impact. Startups in the “people operations” space are invited to take part—companies and entrepreneurs with ideas in mind, or those just looking to explore tech solutions to “hack” bias in the workforce. The weekend’s winner will receive a free 12-week Uptima Business Bootcamp and 3 months of mentorship from Mitch Kapor.

In this event’s unusual format, all participants are welcome to pitch their idea and receive feedback from the group on Friday evening. Teams then form organically around these ideas; those with the most votes or team members carry on past Friday night. Per the event website, “What follows is a 54 hour frenzy of business model creation, coding, designing, and market validation. The event culminates with presentations in front of local entrepreneurial leaders.” And, of course, a grand prize winner. Pass the word to entrepreneurs and hackers in your networks who are up to the task of hacking bias in the workplace. [Event website]

Hian Goh (Class 20) Profiled in e27

e27 logoHian Goh (Class 20) was interviewed in an e27 article, “NSI Ventures’s Hian Goh: An investor’s perspective on Vietnam’s challenges and potential.” Hian offers his take on the Vietnam tech scene, and how NSI is capitalizing on the opportunities there. Says Hian, “From the fundamental macro strategy, Vietnam has 90 million people and a GDP per capita of above US$2,000. It’s very exciting when you see a company and country grow at tremendous rates—and it’s just a phenomenal opportunity that cannot be missed.…NSI’s responsibility [is] to find these management teams and support them with not capabilities in tech, but overall business capabilities.” Hian will be a speaker at Echelon Vietnam (November 18-19), a startup and investor conference for tech firms in Vietnam.

Zheng Huang’s (Class 20) ViewFind Named One of Apple’s “Apps We Love”

ViewFind screenshotCongratulations to Zheng Huang (Class 20), founder and CEO of ViewFind, the largest network for photojournalism/brand storytelling in the world. Apple has become a major supporter on two fronts: Last week, the App Store chose ViewFind as an “App We Love” in the News section, and the company made its official Apple News debut. The firm has also embarked on a partnership with the Pulitzer Center, showcasing exclusive work from their fellows’ exhibitions.

ViewFind is an online community and platform for visual storytelling, featuring a network of over 3,000 photojournalists from around the world telling the stories of ordinary people doing extraordinary things.

Lylan Masterman’s (Class 19) Takeaways from Botcamp on VentureBeat

Lylan Masterman (Class 19) wrote a VentureBeat article this week on his takeaways from attending betaworks’ Botcamp day, the culmination of a 10-week accelerator for bot builders. Bots, or chatbots, are software programs that simulate conversation in order to automate tasks that would otherwise require a human to perform; these are made possible by the recent strides in artificial intelligence (see recode, “Bots, explained“). While it’s still the early days for bot technology, functionality is improving—while the challenges of discovery and privacy, among others, remain. Read Lylan’s full analysis.

Marlon Nichols (Class 18) and Trevor Thomas (Class 17) Interviewed by Hana Yang (Class 20); Marlon to Speak at A3C Music Conference in Atlanta

As part of First Republic Bank’s Client Spotlight series, Hana Yang (Class 20) recently interviewed the three partners of Cross Culture Ventures: Marlon Nichols (Class 18), Trevor Thomas (Class 17), and Troy Carter. In the interview, they discuss what “cultural investing” means, their firm’s focus on diverse founders, and the added benefits that their partnership with Troy’s Atom Factory brings to their portfolio companies. Read the full interview.

This coming Wednesday, Marlon and Troy will speak at the A3C Music Conference and Festival in Atlanta, the pre-eminent hip-hop music conference, which features artists, investors, producers, creatives, the media, entrepreneurs, and students.  Marlon and Troy will be panelists in a session highlighting the current cultural trends as well as what’s to come in the hip-hop community.

Fellows on the Move

  • Congratulations to John Kuelper (Class 21), who has been promoted to Principal at Ascension Ventures. Ascension Ventures has a unique investment structure, pursuing financial returns and also sharing its portfolio companies’ solutions across its LP investor base; its limited partners are organizations that provide health care to the poor and vulnerable across the United States.
  • Bernard Peperstraete’s (Class 11) firm iCareDX, has changed its name to Acuamark Diagnostics. Bernard reports of the change, “The name ‘Acuamark’ incorporates several elements that play to the essence of our corporate mission, and well embodies the progress we have made towards developing an accurate diagnostic screening technology to detect low-abundance tumor markers from liquids at the earliest stages of cancer.” Acuamark’s mission is to contribute to the global battle against cancer by detecting and attacking it through high-precision, early detection.

New Portfolio Investment: Fredrik Cassel (Class 12) and kahoot!

kahoot logoFredrik Cassel (Class 12) and Creandum led the recent $10M investment round for kahoot!, now the most popular game-based learning platform in the US K-12 market. “Their platform has spread teacher-to-teacher and has literally taken over the world. I look forward to working with the team as they increase presence in the US and as they step up development of both free and premium products to capture the exploding demand,” said Fredrik. [Press release]

Job Opportunities

Several job opportunities have been sent in by fellows; see below for details:

  • 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.
  • Braemar Energy Ventures is hiring an Associate in New York. Braemar is one of the leading partnerships focused on next-generation energy technology, and runs a balanced portfolio with an emphasis on early- to mid-stage opportunities. Preferred background includes technology and engineering experience relevant to energy or the industrial technology sector, along with solid investment banking or strategy consulting training. Read the full job description (PDF). Contact Jiong Ma (Class 9) for more information.
  • Bullpen Capital is hiring an Analyst for its Fund III in San Francisco. Bullpen is interested in hearing from a broad range of candidates, including those from non-traditional backgrounds. “Bullpen Capital is the leader in post-seed funding, a category we created. We lead small rounds in non-obvious companies.” Read their blog post about the job description, or contact Eric Wiesen (Class 13) if you want to know what working at Bullpen is all about.
  • BECO Capital in Dubai is looking for a Talent Manager to work with its portfolio companies, teaching them hiring methods, refining retention strategies, and developing playbooks and best practices, while at the same time acting as a mentor and advisor. Read a detailed job description (PDF). Contact Youef Hammad (Class 21) for more information.
  • The Kauffman Foundation is looking for a Director of Entrepreneurship Research and Policy Director. Reporting to Victor Hwang (Class 12), the Vice President of Entrepreneurship, this person will lead the design and implementation of the Foundation’s research and policy strategy, identifying knowledge gaps that must be closed in order to advance entrepreneurship while placing special emphasis on actionable and practical research. Read the full job description, including application instructions.
  • Matter Ventures recently expanded to NYC and Corey Ford (Class 17) tells us that he is building a new team there. He is hiring a NYC-based Associate who, in collaboration with another NYC Associate and two existing SF Associates, will be responsible for running the NYC accelerator program and NYC investment deal flow. This person needs to be able to lead the NYC office, teach and coach early-stage media entrepreneurs, reinforce Matter’s design thinking-based culture and practices, source and evaluate investments, and help build Matter’s NYC ecosystem. (In the near future, Corey will be hiring two additional NYC Associates and one SF Associate). Contact Corey for more information, and read his blog post for the full job description.
  • Gareth Keane (Class 15) let us know that Deutsche Telecom Capital Partners, Deutsche Telekom’s investment management group, is looking for a VC Associate in its Menlo Park, California (Sand Hill Road) location. Specifically, it is looking for a post-MBA associate to join its new location to support its investment partners. Responsibilities will include market research, due diligence, and analysis and modeling. Applicants should have 1-2 years of investment experience. Read the full job description (PDF); for additional information, contact Gareth.

This Week’s Blog: Punch, type, click, swipe, gesture, speak, THINK

VCwithMeThis week’s featured blog post is from Guy Turner (Class 17), entitled “Punch, type, click, swipe, gesture, speak, THINK” about the recent history and current state of today’s three main user-interface formats—touch, gesture, and voice—and where he thinks they’re going. Guy works for Hyde Park Venture Partners in Chicago, and his main blog page  is vcwithme.co.

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