Kauffman Fellows Program
From idea to IPO, principal to partner, LP to GP and beyond — the Kauffman Fellows Program helps decision makers become better investors and navigate uncharted territory.
We're anchored by a two-year program designed to radically accelerate innovator success through self-reflection, peer learning, and a structured curriculum.
Learn from the world’s top 1% investors, educators, and innovation leaders
We drive the conversation on industry trends and guide Fellows to lead the way for a greater VC industry.
The Kauffman Fellows Program challenges investors to grow their understanding of the greater venture capital ecosystem and the most meaningful impact they can make with their array of talents.
Interwoven throughout our investing acumen curriculum, we focus on self-awareness and personal growth through neuroscience, psychology, and leadership development — helping you grow into the best version of yourself.
Kauffman discussion leaders and classmates become your go-to team for asking questions that are difficult to ask partners and colleagues. They also become your heterogenous source of knowledge that you can access quickly, 24/7.
Our goal is to equip you to play at the top of the VC game — to get you investing in the top quartile of deals and returns. From portfolio construction to LP reporting and firm decision making, we provide skills and frameworks to get you there.
We aim to deliver a 10x return on Fellows’ time, energy, and capital
Fellows receive a 10x return on time not only through trusted diligence, help hiring top talent, and providing partnership opportunities, but also offering a close-knit community of senior-level investors with vast and varying areas of expertise.
Fellows come to a module with a question or issue that they’ve been working on for months, and they get clarity on that question or issue in three days, getting direct and objective feedback to help troubleshoot complex issues.
Fellows receive a return on capital in multiple ways — from savings on service provider fees to greater access to deal flow, relationships with LPs, fundraising support, and more.
What it entails
We cover the knowledge, skills, practices, and behaviors needed to become an exceptional investor. From fundraising tools and techniques to portfolio construction and leadership skills, we bring the world's experts straight to you.
Four days consisting of peer-to-peer sessions, speaker-led sessions, and structured and unstructured time for building deep and authentic relationships.
60-90 minute sessions (depending on the topic) held between each module to deep-dive on a subject from the previous module.
A reunion of the entire Kauffman Fellows Network, held in compelling innovation ecosystems, to introduce different cultures and different approaches to venture investing.
Forums are small groups of 5-7 Fellows who connect on a monthly basis, in a confidential and trusted environment, to facilitate self-directed and supportive learning, idea exchange, and self-exploration.
A road map of goals (i.e. improving board participation, deepening networks with limited partners) and actionable items. This provides a basis for creating a personal brand, defining and measuring progress, and balancing life and career.
Leadership-centric modules focus on building essential skills
Throughout our time together, you will develop real connections with classmates and speakers which will broaden and deepen your network.
Foundation Leadership Essentials
Increase one’s self-knowledge and level of self-awareness, personality assessments, and vulnerable conversations. Identify one’s strengths (Zone of Genius) and growth areas (blind spots).
Investment Thesis & Deal Flow
Define and refine a compelling, data-driven narrative that maps self-discovery to a personal investment thesis. Articulate methods of firm decision making based on perspectives, patterns, and best practices.
Supporting Portfolio Companies
Identify various methods of coaching founders and your firm's own unique style and capabilities.
Running the Firm as a Business
Plan to build and maintain an intentional firm culture as the firm grows. Synthesize practices of successful firm operations and operational leadership.
Firm to Franchise
Plan and strategize around exiting portfolio companies, returning the fund to LPs, and scaling the firm’s brand globally.
Each class is composed of senior leaders in the capital formation ecosystem from varying areas of expertise. Venture capital investors form the bulk of the class, but we purposefully design a class with investors in a variety of fields such as private equity, family offices, accelerator funds, sovereign wealth funds, corporate venture, and angel networks.
“In venture, as in life, there’s no playbook. Conviction and intuition are the most reliable tools — all areas the Kauffman Fellows program focuses on sharpening.”
“It’s transformative to learn with and from the incredible investors in the Kauffman network. I'm so thankful for our amazing discussion leaders who have helped refine my approach to deal sourcing, portfolio construction, fund strategy, and so much more.”
“I got to pause, reflect, and decide not ‘who I am’ — but who I want to be. It felt almost as if I was invited to rebirth myself, with my adult perspective and all of my experiences. This was life-changing. Re-evaluating who you are and why is a gift.”
“The program has been transformational for me, both as an individual and as a leader. The Kauffman concept of “behavioral fitness” helped me understand that the habits I’m learning are going to set me up for the rest of my career.”