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Kauffman Foundation Announced 2017 Recipients of Mid-Continent Scholarships

Kansas City, MO (June 14, 2016) – The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and Kauffman Fellows announce the 2017 recipients of the Kauffman Foundation Mid-Continent Scholarships. Four Midwest investors are joining Kauffman Fellows, the highly sought-after, two-year venture capital and leadership program based in Silicon Valley. The goal of the scholarships is to enhance capital-formation expertise across the Midwestern United States and support Kansas City as a regional hub for investor networks.

“This is great news for entrepreneurs in the Midwest. The quality of the investors who applied for the Kauffman Foundation scholarships is amazing,” said Jeff Harbach, Kauffman Fellows CEO. “The four recipients will have a huge impact on their local and regional ecosystems. We’re very excited to welcome the heartland Fellows to the new class.

This marks the first year of the Kauffman Foundation’s $960,000 funding program, with four scholarships awarded per year for each of the next three years.

“We are proud to work with the Kauffman Fellows to provide training and leadership development to this first group of outstanding investors in the Midwest,” said Wendy Guillies, president and CEO of the Kauffman Foundation. “We believe that every person with a big idea has the fundamental right to start a business without barriers. Building the venture investor capacity in this region is one of the uncommon solutions we are supporting to clear the path for the makers, the doers and the dreamers wanting to start and grow successful businesses.”

Two recipients each year will be chosen from the Kansas City metropolitan area; one from the heartland states (Missouri, Kansas, Iowa, and Nebraska); and one from the midcontinent region stretching from the Rocky Mountains to the Appalachians.

2017 Kauffman Foundation Mid-Continent Scholarship Recipients:

  1. Lisa Feria (Kansas City, Missouri) – CEO of Stray Dog Capital, a venture firm investing in early-stage, mission-driven companies that aim to take animals out of the supply chain with innovative products and services.
  2. Thad Langford (Kansas City, Missouri) – One of the founding partners of Flyover Capital, where he is focused on fulfilling the firm’s mission of creating the next generation of tech success stories in areas beyond the usual tech hubs.
  3. Scott Bernstein (St. Louis, Missouri) – Founder of Lewis & Clark Ventures, St. Louis’s first $100M+ venture fund focusing on high-potential investment opportunities throughout the Midwest.
  4. Victor Gutwein (Chicago, Illinois) – Founder of M25, an early-stage micro-VC fund whose aim is to fill a gap in funding early-stage tech startups in the Midwest.

Created by the Kauffman Foundation in 1995, the Kauffman Fellows Program was designed to enhance entrepreneurial access to venture capital by improving understanding and relationships between venture capitalists and entrepreneurs. Now an independent program located in Silicon Valley, Kauffman Fellows continues to pursue Ewing Marion Kauffman’s vision for the venture capital industry to better empower the entrepreneurial community and to give back to society as a whole. This scholarship program renews the distinctive partnership between the Kauffman Foundation and the Kauffman Fellows Program.

Kauffman Fellows’ two-year, mastery-level program challenges already-experienced venture investors to be even more self-aware and nimble in their thinking, and to confidently balance analysis with intuition. Nearly 500 Fellows now lead more than 200 venture capital firms representing funds investing billions into startups in 40+ countries. Kauffman Fellows actively recruits women and minorities in the belief that communities are stronger and more capable of serving entrepreneurs with a multiplicity of viewpoints and backgrounds. For more information visit www.kauffmanfellows.org and follow us at www.twitter.com/kauffmanfellows.

The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation is a private, nonpartisan foundation that aims to foster economic independence by advancing educational achievement and entrepreneurial success. Founded by late entrepreneur and philanthropist Ewing Marion Kauffman, the Foundation is based in Kansas City, Mo., and has approximately $2 billion in assets. For more information, visit www.kauffman.org, and follow the Foundation on www.twitter.com/kauffmanfdn and www.facebook.com/kauffmanfdn.