Victor Hwang and the Mystery of Venture Capital1
My Kauffman Fellowship and the article I wrote for the Kauffman Fellows Report (in Volume 1) led to the transformation of my firm. What started as a modest venture capital boutique has morphed into a growing organization that both builds startups and designs the ecosystems that foster entrepreneurial growth. We are expanding our work with numerous global clients, including corporations and governments, on how to catalyze systemic, sustainable innovation.
Our book on innovation ecosystems, The Rainforest: The Secret to Building the Next Silicon Valley (Victor H. Hwang and Greg Horowitt, Regenwald 2012), was awarded a Gold Medal Book of the Year by ForeWord Reviews. We changed our name, from T2 Venture Capital to T2 Venture Creation. Our conference, the Global Innovation Summit, has now expanded into a weeklong celebration of the rise of the world’s innovation ecosystems. Please join us on February 17-21, 2014 in Silicon Valley for the event. You can register at www.innosummit.com!
Eric Ball and Eric Ball and the Kauffman Fellows Academy: An Instructor’s Perspective
Kauffman Fellows has been actively exploring ways to share the knowledge of its community with a broader global audience. In October 2012, Kauffman Fellows Press published Unlocking the Ivory Tower: How Management Research Can Transform Your Business2, which I coauthored with Joseph LiPuma. In 2013, KF Press also published Social Inc: How Business is the Next Big Social Opportunity Worth Trillions3 by Bob Zukis.
In 2013, Clint Korver (Class 14) launched the Kauffman Fellows Academy, which has subsequently been directed by Miriam Rivera (Class 15). The KFA is the online training arm of the Kauffman Fellows Program, offering web access to best-in-class education in capital formation. There are several classes for VCs and entrepreneurs, including Venture Capital 101, Startup CEO, Raising Startup Capital, and The Boardroom: Advanced Entrepreneurship.2 Classes are team-based and focused on useful applications. KFA is powered by NovoEd, an online learning platform developed at Stanford to power Massive Open Online Communities (MOOCs). In Fall 2013, KFA began charging for some of its courses, which represents an experiment in online education (dominated to-date by models in which course content is not paid for by students).
One KFA course is MiniMBA: Unlocking the Secrets of the Ivory Tower, which Joe and I built based on our book, and launched the first semester for on September 30, 2013. This course provides an overview of research in core business fields, with a focus on actionable implications for managing more effectively. We distill major concepts into six hours of video, and the cost to students is $249. We were excited when the first 20 students to enroll represented 10 different countries, with over 700 people enrolling soon after announcement—this demonstrates the clear promise of tuition-based online management education. That said, we are running into the same challenges as the free MOOCs, notably that a fraction of those who express interest actually pay for and start the course, and not all who start stay to complete a course. We will be focusing on ways to generate and sustain interest as we prepare to relaunch the course in January 2014, and remain convinced that KFA will be a key part of disrupting how education is delivered, particularly to those in the entrepreneurial community.
1 Victor Hwang, “The Mystery of Venture Capital: A Mission to Connect Entrepreneurial Capital and Economic Development,” Kauffman Fellows Report 1(2010): 26–30. Read the PDF on the KF website, or navigate to Volume 1 in this app.
2 Read more about the book at unlocktheivorytower.com.
3 Read more about the book at bobzukis.com.
4 For course descriptions, visit the Academy section of the Kauffman Fellows website, at kauffmanfellows.org/academy/our-courses.