Founded in 1995, Kauffman Fellows is a Silicon Valley-based leadership program for venture capitalists and innovators of all kinds. The more than 400 graduates from this two-year apprenticeship, together known as the Kauffman Fellows Society, now lead venture capital, government, corporate, university, and startup innovation in over 50 countries around the world. Inspired by Ewing Marion Kauffman and his legacy of shared ownership, accountability, and experimentation, we measure success in enduring new businesses that generate long-term returns for principals, investors, and society as a whole.


We aspire for our Fellows to have a transformative experience over the two years of their enrollment, one that will radically accelerate their success. The Kauffman Fellows Program provides an opportunity for Fellows to achieve a depth of self-awareness and self-belief that they may not have known was possible. With the support of Faculty, peers, and the KF Team, Fellows take time to reflect on opportunities that could change the world, provide top 5% returns, and are built upon their foundation of self-belief.

As a leadership platform, Kauffman Fellows was built to better reflect the entrepreneurial community and society as a whole. When we spun out from the Kauffman Foundation in 2002, we opened up to new regions outside of the U.S., and to new models of venture. In the process, we have proven that success in venture capital is about character, focus, relentlessness, and relationship skills. A particular academic background, physical location, gender, national origin, skin tone, or religion is NOT an indicator of success. Our collective diversity is a remarkable asset to the individual Fellow who knows how to leverage it.

As someone once said, all worthy initiatives are a “grind”—the key is to find the grind you love. Venture capital is no different. The Kauffman Fellows Program can at times disrupt comfortable assumptions and romantic notions of how things work. Do not be surprised to see experts contradict each other. We challenge our Fellows not to copy the greats, but to design their own paths. Absorb—but do not blindly follow—anyone’s advice.

Fellows Around the World

Hover over the graphic below to see the number of Kauffman Fellows from each country.