June 6, 2023
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Kauffman Fellows Welcomes Class 28

Kauffman Fellows Welcomes Class 28

Kauffman Fellows welcomes another talented cohort into its global network of industry-leading venture capital investors who are diverse cohort across sector, stage, geography, gender, ethnicity, and age 

Today we are honored to introduce the 60 newest members of the Kauffman Fellows global network. Class 28 is a group of highly successful investors fueling entrepreneurs everywhere and supporting entrepreneurship as a catalyst for economic growth and social change. Hailing from top firms, including Maveron, Pivotal Ventures, Female Founders Fund, Felicis, Flybridge, monashees, and Ulu Ventures, among others, these Fellows have big funds to deploy and are senior leaders in the industry:

  • $55.8B total AUM
  • 85% are direct VC investors
  • 10% are limited partners 
  • 82% are in senior positions (GP/MD/MP)
  • 42% are firm founders
  • 76% hold board seats
Globally Diverse Trailblazers in VC

Using a holistic two-year program and leveraging a global network as a lifelong resource, Kauffman Fellows selects, accelerates, and connects emotionally intelligent leaders in venture capital so they can lead and invest with purpose. Each year, we add a new cohort of 60 accomplished Fellows who attend the two-year program part-time while they are investing full-time. We intentionally recruit, build, and design the incoming cohort with diversity as our north star and driving force. 

Class 28 joins a network of 882 Fellows spanning 58 countries and representing over 765 VC firms around the globe. These Fellows have started hundreds of funds, raised and deployed hundreds of billions of dollars in capital, and helped found and pave the way for some of the world’s most groundbreaking companies.Kauffman Fellows Class 28 is a truly phenomenal group of global innovation investors who are incredibly diverse across sector, stage, geography, gender, ethnicity, and age.

  • 42% women
  • 55% people of color
  • 47% U.S. domestic; 53% international
  • Representation from 16 countries
  • Our first Fellow from Lebanon!

Some examples of the unique leaders in Class 28 include: 

  • Co-founder of Google's Area 120 incubator (Adrianna Samaniego)
  • On the forefront of Abu Dhabi's push into tech (Amer Al Ameri)
  • Pro rally racing driver (Rakan AlRashed)
  • A LatAM VC pioneer based in Brazil with 5 unicorns under his belt (Anderson Thees)
  • Co-founder of XFactor Ventures, one of the most active funds backing female founders (Anna Palmer)
  • Track national champion, political party National Vice Chairman, and local TV talk show host. (Nathaniel Harding)
  • Seasoned crypto investor and Web 3.0 pioneer (Emma Cui)
  • Solo GP who launched the first female-focused VC fund LatAm (Anna Raptis)
  • An LP whose firm has invested in over 100 funds owned and led by underrepresented managers (Carolina Huaranca Mendoza)
  • Award-winning researcher (Gal Noyman Veksler)
  • The youngest woman in Europe to be internally promoted at a firm to GP (Evgenia Plotnikova)
  • A pioneer in Africa's tech ecosystem, leading investments into 150+ startups, including 3 unicorns and 14 realized exits (Idris Bello)
  • West Point grad and US Army leader (Lance Dietz)
  • Founder of world-leading quantum technologies investment fund alongside 2022 Nobel Prize Alain Aspect (Olivier Tonneau)
  • A top 50 climate tech investor who has invested in over 30 climate startups with current market cap of over $5B (Phoebe Wang)

A VC Network that Represents the Fabric of Society 

"Because of the macro environment, we’re seeing a lot of LPs pull away from allocating capital in diverse investors and emerging managers. When times get tough, Kauffman Fellows doubles down and continues to bet on future leaders who we believe will change the face and the course of the industry,” says Natasha Funk, SVP of Selection and Program.

While much has changed in the last 28 years, our mission to create a more equitable venture ecosystem and connect people of all backgrounds hasn’t. We’ve long believed in the need for inclusive VC and startups, not only because it’s the right thing to do but also because it drives better returns.

Each Fellow signs the KF Stewardship Pledge, a public commitment key to the fabric and mission of our organization that speaks to the privileged role of the innovation investor with our expectation in society that “to whom much is given, much is expected.”

The KF Stewardship Pledge is about changing mindsets and behaviors. It’s a promise not only to promote a culture of inclusion and seek out diversity of all types but also to push this agenda of sustainable, inclusive prosperity in our work with ecosystem stakeholders — from LPs to entrepreneurs.

Meet Kauffman Fellows Class 28!

“At Kauffman Fellows, we select purpose-driven leaders that are focused on supporting entrepreneurs as they strive to solve the world’s greatest challenges. I’m proud to say that this class of thoughtful and diverse leaders will carry forward this mission in bold ways and will undoubtedly make a huge impact on our world,” said Jeff Harbach, Kauffman Fellows President & CEO.

Click the links below to learn more about each investor

Abhinaya KonduruAdrianna SamaniegoAhmad AlshammariAjay GopalAkbar PoonawalaAmer Al AmeriAnderson TheesAndrea AranedaAndy WillAnna PalmerAnna RaptisAntonio KeyBrittney Riley GaviniCarolina HuarancaDan KerrElana BerkowitzEleonore Jarry-FerronEmma CuiEvgenia PlotnikovaGal Noyman VekslerGuto AraujoHenrik Wetter SanchezHisham HalbounyIan BeadleIdris Ayodeji BelloInes StreimelwegerJasmine BussonJefrey JoeJerry LuJimena Pardo ●  John AilanjianJustin Mak ●  Karim AbadirKathryn WeinmannLance DietzManjari Chandran-RameshMarcus StroudMia MorissetMichal KlarMike MompiNader BekhoucheNancy TorresNathaniel HardingNick KimNicolas SauvageNneka EzeOlivier TonneauPhilipp SeifertPhoebe WangRakan AlRashedSantiago Sánchez BadíaSarah LiuSolomon HailuSpencer FoustSusie MeierTobi CokerTracy ChadwellVignesh KumarYasmin FerrineZaki Djemal

Special Thanks to the Business Development Bank of Canada

We believe a greater venture capital industry begins with leaders operating with diligence, self-awareness, and purpose. With the help of our partners, we’re able to bring this mission to life.Kauffman Fellows would like to thank our partner, the Business Development Bank of Canada, who generously provided partial scholarships for select Fellows from Canada. BDC Capital’s support of the venture industry is unmatched, and we’re delighted to partner with them.

’Supporting the participation of Canadian investors in the Kauffman Fellows Program has made a real difference in building our country’s next generation of VC leaders, ‘’ says Jérôme Nycz, Executive Vice-President, BDC Capital. ‘’In addition to being an unmatched learning experience, this program helps connect our ecosystem with a wide network of global peers and delivers enormous and tangible value for the industry, making its foundation stronger – one investor at a time.”

About Kauffman Fellows

Kauffman Fellows is a two-year program and global network where the biggest players in venture capital gather. We're on a mission to build a global community of diverse investors who operate with diligence, self-awareness, and purpose. The Kauffman Fellows network is comprised of 882 Fellows from 58 countries representing 765 VC firms. Collectively, the KF network holds $1T in assets under management, has raised over $790 billion dollars in capital over the past 28 years, and has been responsible for over $8.5 trillion in exits to LPs.

If you are interested in being notified when the application for Class 29  is open, please complete our Class 29 Interest Form.