< Return to Society News Updates

Society News Update, 6 Oct. 2016

KF logo



Ewing Marion Kauffman’s 100th Birthday: EMK 100

EMK100 Auditorium

Ewing Marion Kauffman’s 100th Birthday was officially celebrated in Kansas City with a week of events across the city. The culminating event was “An Evening in Blue” at the performing arts center on September 28th, featuring several speakers and an inspiring video of Mr. K’s life and contributions to entrepreneurship. Foundation CEO Wendy Guilles also mentioned the upcoming exciting partnership with Kauffman Fellows to be officially announced at the Kauffman Fellows Reunion VC Summit in Kansas City in a few weeks. Kauffman Fellows staff Jeff Harbach (Class 16), John McIntyre (Class 18), and Rusty Dornin were honored to be part of the celebration of Mr. K’s legacy.

EMK100 Reception 2EMK100 Reception Blue

EMK100 Wendy GuillesEMK100 KF TeamAbove left: Wendy Guilles, Kauffman Foundation, addressing the auditorium. Above right: Jeff Harbach, Rusty Dornin, and John McIntyre

Mala Gaonkar (Class 2) Teams Up with David Byrne to Create Interactive Exhibit at Pace Gallery in Menlo Park

Mala Gaonkar (Class 2) has teamed up with the singer and former Talking Heads frontman David Byrne to co-create the upcoming exhibition at the Pace Art + Technology Gallery in Menlo Park, “The Institute Presents: Neurosociety.” The exhibit is a series of room-sized interactive environments where visitors participate in 4 cognitive experiments. Mala and David created the exhibition to “present the emerging work of 15 cognitive neuroscience labs around the world.” However, David notes, “We won’t be running these experiments like the labs do, but recreating some of their work in more entertaining or theatrical ways.” Read the full article in the New York Times.

The exhibit runs from October 28 to March 31, 2017. [Tickets]

Mala is a busy woman; in addition to creating interactive art exhibitions and her day job as Managing Director of Lone Pine Capital in London, she is a Trustee of the Tate Gallery, a Director of the Clinton Health Access Initiative, and a founding Trustee for the Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering.

Mala Gaonkar and David ByrneMala Gaonkar (Class 2) and David Byrne. [Photo: Catalina Kulczar, NY Times]

Fernando Fabre (Class 14) Interviewed on His views of the Latin American Startup Ecosystem

Read an interview with Fernando Fabre (Class 14), President of Endeavor Global, in which he discusses his take on the Latin American, and specifically Mexican, startup ecosystem—and what challenges lie ahead to move it up to the next level. Fernando sees the need for VCs able to lead seed-stage, and Series A and B funding rounds. His favorite entrepreneur? Bill Gates. Read the full interview.

Watch Josh Stein (Class 9) in an Enterprise Irregulars Video on What Makes a Great SaaS CEO

Enterprise IrregularsJosh Stein (Class 9) was featured in an Enterprise Irregulars video, “What Makes a Great SaaS CEO.” At the core, Josh believes, is the ability to scale the company, and that transition requires business acumen but also the willingness for the CEO to transition from founder to bigger-company CEO. In any industry, however, Josh says, “One thing that separates a good CEO from a great CEO is the ability to make the vision something that transcends the company and captures the imagination.” [Video and transcript]

Miriam Rivera (Class 15) Wrote an Entrepreneur Article about Being One of Google’s Early Employees

EntrepeneurMiriam Rivera (Class 15) wrote an Entrepreneur article, “How Google Has Changed the World.” Miriam joined Google in 2001 when the company was only 3 years old, as the second attorney on staff. Miriam recalls how Google democratized access to information [editor’s note: see Ezra Galston’s blog post below, “How Slack and Facebook are Making Access to Information Less Democratic“], indexing information without human intervention, unlike its peers at the time such as Yahoo! or LexisNexis. “With Google, you could find any needle in any haystack at any time.” Miriam notes the significant casualties of Google’s rise: makers of maps, many print newspapers, and a “lack of curation by trained journalists,” requiring the dedicated to make use of sites like factcheck.org. Read the full story.

Victor Hwang (Class 12) was the Keynote Speaker at Accelerate the Heartland in Wichita, KS; Wrote Entrepreneur Article on Entrepreneurship Drivers at the Local Levels

Accelerate the HeartlandVictor Hwang (Class 12) was the keynote speaker yesterday at the Accelerate the Heartland event in Wichita, Kansas. The day also featured the Wichita “1 Million Cups” event, a venture pitch session, and a demo event from the e2e accelerator cohort. Victor was interviewed in the Wichita Eagle in advance of the conference in the article, “Successful Entrepreneurship Likened to State of Mind,” in which he discusses the elements that make up an entrepreneurial ecosystem, and the smallest building blocks that can start the movement of change.

Victor wrote his own article this week in Entrepreneur, “Communities Across America Are Harnessing Entrepreneurism to Drive Growth.” With the prospect of action at the U.S. federal level very low, Victor sees state-, city-, and regional-level action as the drivers of entrepreneurial activity. The first step in creating an organic, rainforest-type ecosystem (as opposed to a planned, cultivated system) is identifying local assets and connecting them to individuals who can put them to work. Read the full story.

Hana Yang (Class 20) Interviewed Rodrigo Sanchez Servitje (Class 17) as Part of First Republic Bank’s “Client Spotlight” Series

Hana Yang (Class 20) interviewed Rodrigo Sanchez Servitje (Class 17) of Bridge 37 Ventures as part of First Republic Bank’s “Client Spotlight” series. Bridge 37 has an “unconventional manifesto,” reports Hana: “Change the world, back crazy people, no arrogance, no BS.” Bridge 37 Ventures focuses on helping startups expand internationally, often by helping them partner with larger corporations. When startups think about international expansion today, Rodrigo says, “Not only is the growth opportunity outside the U.S., but there’s a big risk that, if you’re not there first, someone else will beat you out of the market.” Read the full interview.

Recent Awards and Promotions

  • Congratulations galore to Charlotte Hubbert (Class 14)! Charlotte was recently promoted to Partner at Gates Foundation Venture Captial, part of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. She was also a Women in Life Science Honoree at the Life Science Innovation Northwest conference in July. Watch the interview of Charlotte at the conference about her work at the Gates Foundation.
  • Emergence Capital PartnersEmergence Capital Partners announced last week the promotions of two Kauffman Fellows. Congratulations to Joe Floyd (Class 18), who was promoted to Partner, and Jake Saper (Class 20), who was promoted to Principal. General Partner Jason Green (Charter Class) says, “We are thrilled to promote both Joe and Jake. They have proven themselves over a number of years and have the essential qualities we look for in leaders at our firm and in the industry.” [Press release]

This Week’s Blog Selections

  • Sid Mofya (Class 19) wrote an essay on Medium.com about one of his portfolio companies: “Payjoy—Unlocking Consumer Finance for the Next Billion.” Payjoy has a technology solution that allows people with no access to traditional lending to purchase hardware such as mobile phones. The firm’s consumer-friendly, pay-as-you-go model involves hardware that turns itself off at the end of the month if its bill is not paid, and back on again when it is. Read more.
  • Ezra Galston (Class 18) wrote a post on his BreakingVC blog, “How Slack and Facebook are Making Access to Information Less Democratic.” Ezra argues that the increase in use of Facebook Groups and closed-system, non-searchable content such as Slack, as well as WhatsApp, FB Messenger, and the like are reducing, not increasing the information available on the web. Read the full post.

Back to top