Network Updates, 20 Apr. 2017

KF Diamond

KF logo


Upcoming Events

Log into TENx for complete details and RSVP information for all KF events, unless noted.

  • April 26, 7pm: Happy Hour at Angel Capital Assn. Summit, San Francisco. RSVP on TENx
  • May 4: Bay Area Women Fellows breakfast, San Francisco. Details on TENx or email Hana Yang (Class 20)
  • May 13: 7-week Venture Deals online course with Brad Feld & Jason Mendelson (free)
  • June 11-16: Summer modules & graduation, Classes 20-22 (more to come)
  • June 23: New York Regional Chapter breakfast
  • September 25: New York Regional Chapter breakfast
  • December 8: New York Regional Chapter breakfast

Can’t log into TENx? Contact Remi Morita or John McIntyre for assistance or event details.


The 2017 Forbes Midas List Is Out…

The Forbes Midas list of top technology investors was published late last month. To compile the list, Forbes looked back over the last 5 years of each partner’s portfolio, tallying IPOs or acquisitions over $200 million, as well as private holdings that raised money at valuations of $400 million or more.

Numerous Kauffman Fellows and Mentors were named to this year’s list, along with three KF board members. We are honored that so many Mentors are on the list—our Fellows are being trained by the highest-caliber talent.

#16 Bob Nelsen (Mentor 4 & 16) • #24 Scott Sandell (Mentor 8) • #29 John Doerr (Mentor 10) • #42 Fred Wilson (Mentor 4) • #58 Bryan Roberts (Class 3) • #62 George Zachary (Mentor 16) • #68 Dave McClure (Mentor 18) • #69 Jenny Lee (KF BOD) • #86 Mamoon Hamid (Class 11, KF BOD) • #88 Joe Lonsdale (Mentor 20) • #93 Jason Green (Charter Class, KF BOD)

See the full list.

Kauffman Fellows is also well represented on the Midas Brink list, which recognizes up-and-coming VCs “poised to break into the Midas ranks in the near future.” Congratulations to Ashley Carroll (Class 21) and Niko Bonatsos (Mentor 21).

Entrepreneur Features Tammi Jantzen (Class 20) as a VC-Turned-Entrepreneur

In a video interview from Entrepreneur, Tammi Jantzen (Class 20), co-founder of Astarte Ventures, shares what she has learned from becoming an entrepreneur after 15 years as a VC. In 2013, Tammi founded Astarte Ventures to fill a significant gap in the medical investment world: there were no seed/early stage investment funds dedicated to the health and wellbeing of women and children. A few years later, during a nationwide tour of investment opportunities, Tammi happened to meet one of the leaders in preterm infant research and saw an opportunity she couldn’t pass up. So in 2016 she became an entrepreneur, co-founding Astarte Medical Partners to develop technology that will “address critical needs and improve outcomes for high risk pregnancy and preterm birth.” Watch the full interview to hear Tammi’s advice based on her experience as a VC and as an entrepreneur sitting “on the other side of the table.” [Read a profile of Astarte Medical.]

The Miami Herald Profiles Marlon Nichols’ (Class 18) Efforts as Blacktech’s “VC in Residence”

Marlon Nichols (Class 18), co-founder of Cross Culture Ventures, has been in Miami for a month as the first investor invited to Blacktech Week’s new “VC in Residence” (VCIR) program. As the Miami Herald reports in “What Would a Venture Capitalist Say about That? Startups Get a Chance to Find Out,” VCIR is Blacktech creator Code Fever’s latest step in their ongoing effort to “reshape the way black communities are valued in the innovation sector” and address the serious under-representation of black men and women in the VC and entrepreneurial communities. The program provides black, Latinx, and Caribbean entrepreneurs with an array of experiences, including a 4-week boot camp, the Smashd Code + Culture conference, virtual as well as in-person learning—and admission to the office hours, fireside chats, and “lunch & learns” hosted by the VC of the month.

Marlon was an obvious candidate, because instead of hunting for the next tech unicorn, he seeks out new market creators—and participants in the VCIR program include entrepreneurs working outside of tech in such arenas as inmate education, dentistry, and yes, even cupcakes. “What are big pain points for people in Miami that haven’t been met?” he asks. “Let’s figure out what those are and go solve them.” Miami’s melting pot community is a natural draw for him since Cross Culture’s approach is based on “understanding global culture to try to predict where consumers are going to spend their dollars.” It doesn’t bother Marlon that many of the entrepreneurs in the VCIR program are not ready for venture capital funding—and may not even have a business appropriate for it. “The best resource for new entrepreneurs is successful entrepreneurs as well as unsuccessful entrepreneurs,” he says. “There is just a wealth of knowledge that can be learned from both.”

The BlackTech ResidentVC Competition is accepting applications from founders with businesses in the pre-startup, startup, and growth stages.

Kauffman Foundation Launches Inclusion Open Grant Program (May 2 Deadline)

In an April 18 press release, the Kauffman Foundation announced a request for proposals in light of its new Inclusion Open grant program, part of its Zero Barriers initiative aimed at widening access to entrepreneurship. According to a recent Kauffman Foundation report, many would-be founders face challenges in terms of socioeconomic status, demographic underrepresentation in the startup ecosystem, and geographic location. The Foundation’s Vice President of Entrepreneurship, Victor Hwang (Class 12), says, “We know entrepreneurs from many diverse backgrounds face weighty barriers. These barriers impose a high cost to the U.S. economy, in terms of job creation and innovation.”

The call for proposals is “open to U.S. nonprofit and for-profit organizations that can address direct barriers to disadvantaged entrepreneurs, such as access to training, mentoring and capital, and the root causes of those barriers, such as bias, poverty, declining infrastructure, social isolation and demographic shifts.” Inclusion Open grants will range from $50,000 to $500,000 apiece, and the deadline, May 2, is swiftly approaching.

For more about the Zero Barriers initiative, see previous KF Network Updates here and here.

Jack Crawford (Class 16) Interviewed in Comstock on CVC and Sacramento’s Potential as a Tech Innovation Center

Jack Crawford (Class 16), co-founder of Impact Venture Capital, offers his thoughts about the state of entrepreneurship in Sacramento in the Comstock magazine article “Back and Forward: Jack Crawford on Innovation in the Capital Region.” The most significant recent change Jack has noticed in the industry is the rise of corporate venture capital: since 2011, “the number of corporate venture units has doubled, the number of deals closed by these units has nearly tripled, and the dollar amount invested has increased 10 times to nearly $11 billion.” For corporate investors, however, the move is not so much about money as it is about strategy: accessing new technologies and improving customer service. Jack welcomes corporate investors as partners, not just because they offer unique market insight but because they “have often even been customers of the startups they invest in.”

Just as other capital cities with major research centers (Austin, Salt Lake City, Denver) have been making names for themselves in the tech world, Jack believes the Sacramento area has what it takes: a top-notch public research university, a strong talent base, and experience navigating highly-regulated industries—plus proximity to the San Francisco Bay Area. He also highlights the city’s status as a hub for the agricultural and energy sectors, and points out the advantages of being the capital of the world’s sixth-largest economy. Overall, Jack sees the region not as a competitor to the Bay Area but as “a vital complement to a thriving Northern California ‘tech triangle’ ecosystem.”

Fellows Featured at SF’s Upcoming ACA 2017 Summit (Apr. 26–28)

The Angel Capital Association is hosting its 2017 summit — “the world’s premier professional development event for angel investors” — next week in San Francisco, from April 26 to April 28. The multi-day event is packed with presentations, workshops, and opportunities for relationship-building and showcases a number of Fellows as speakers: Trish Costello (KF Founding CEO), Claire England (Class 21), Kiki Tidwell (Class 15), Juliana Garaizar (Class 18), and Marlon Nichols (Class 18). The summit is open to “ACA members, other accredited investors, professionals in the startup ecosystem, and the media.” [Register here.]

Podcasts, presentations, & speakers:

This week’s blog selections:

  • Gil Dibner (Class 13) reviews VC trends in Europe and Israel for Q1 2017. Compared to the 2016 review he posted for the same region, some things stayed the same—Israel, the UK, and Germany led overall investment activity, and FinTech was still the most frequently funded vertical—while the categories showing the greatest increases and decreases in frequency changed completely.

Job opportunities:

If you are a Fellow or Mentor and would like to post a job at your firm or portfolio company, please email us. Jobs are removed from this list after 4 weeks.

  • The Kauffman Foundation seeks a Director of Entrepreneurial Knowledge Creation and Research who will lead the design and implementation of the Foundation’s research strategy, positioning the organization as the country’s central resource and authority on entrepreneurship research. The Foundation seeks a strategic and visionary leader, someone who can anticipate trends and identify patterns in data and evidence to shape the Foundation’s entrepreneurship strategy. This person is also charged with identifying knowledge gaps that must be closed in order to advance entrepreneurship, with a special emphasis on actionable and practical research that can inform the Foundation’s programmatic strategy in entrepreneurship. The Director will report to Victor Hwang (Class 12), VP of Entrepreneurship. Read the full job description, including application information.

Do you have a news story to share? Please email us:

Back to top