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Society News Update, 5 Jan. 2017

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Upcoming Events

Attention Fellows: Interviewers Needed

We ask for your help in the next 3 months to interview the great candidates that have been nominated by our Society for Class 22. Interviewers’ feedback strongly influences admission decisions, and each Fellow who interviews a candidate provides an important perspective. Please complete this form if you are able to assist, letting us know your availability during January–March. Your prompt response is much appreciated and will help us schedule candidates efficiently.


  • Opportunity to be interviewed for Entrepreneur print magazine
  • Watch Kauffman Fellows’ brief video interviews on Entrepreneur and Fortune
  • Geoffrey See (Class 21) evaluates North Korea’s economy under Kim Jong Un
  • Brian Cayce’s (Class 13) Gray Ghost DOEN Fund rated 2016 Top 10 “Best for the World Fund”
  • Claire England (Class 21) and CTAN change structure to capture more deals
  • Fellows on the Move: Kiran Hebbar (Class 11)
  • Portfolio happenings: Greenspring Associates closes $325M fund (Adair Newhall, Class 20, Ashton Newhall & Jim Lim, Mentors Class 20) • Creandum sells stake in Peak to Hachette Livre (Daniel Blomquist, Class 16)
  • This week’s blog selections: Gil Dibner (Class 13) writes about the 2×2 fundraising matrix of cash raised and company valuation • Carl Fritjofsson (Class 21) offers advice to startups about job titles and why they matter • Guy Turner (Class 17) shares statistics about how long it takes to get a new startup exec hired and fully up-to-speed (hint: it’s longer than you think).
  • Job opportunities: Northern TrustFrontline VenturesMP Healthcare Venture Management

Opportunity to be Interviewed for Entrepreneur Print Magazine

A number of Kauffman Fellows have been featured in digital and video pieces in Entrepreneur of late (see the full list in the following story). Kauffman Fellows has established a unique ongoing relationship with this media outlet, and Fellows now have the opportunity to be interviewed for a regular column in Entrepreneur magazine’s print version. The editors are looking for investors willing to share their thought process around choosing investments. The magazine’s goal is to present a range of investor types in order to help entrepreneurs. Questions for investors featured in the column are as follows:

  • What got you to say yes to three recent investments?
  • What did an entrepreneur do to impress?
  • How did the connection first happen, and what specific thing finally put the investor into the “yes” column?

If you are interested in being interviewed, please contact Rusty Dornin (rdornin@kfp.org) for an introduction to the writers at Entrepreneur.

Watch Kauffman Fellows’ Brief Video Interviews on Entrepreneur and Fortune

Entrepreneur LogoAs mentioned above, Kauffman Fellows has established an ongoing relationship with Entrepreneur magazine, and the magazine has already published online a number of brief interviews with Fellows on specific investment topics.

Fortune LogoIn addition, Phil Wickham (Charter Class), in his monthly “VC to VC” series on Fortune, has been conducting brief interviews with Kauffman Fellows and other investors. This month’s article is an interview with Marlon Nichols (Class 18) entitled “How This VC Finds the Next Big Thing.”

Geoffrey See (Class 21) Evaluates North Korea’s Economy under Kim Jong Un

NK NewsGeoffrey See (Class 21) is the founder of Choson Exchange, a nonprofit supporting entrepreneurial talent in the challenging environment of North Korea. The organization has trained over 1,400 North Koreans, and helps to shape government policy concerning startups. Its work has been profiled in The Economist and the Financial Times, among others, and is a Harvard Business School case study. Most recently, Geoffrey was included in an article in NK News: “Five Years of Kim Jong Un: How Has North Korea’s Economy Fared?” In the article, Geoffrey and several other North Korea experts discuss what the key areas of economic policy under the new regime have been, and their impact on the country’s overall development and citizens’ quality of life. Looking to the future, they put forth their thoughts on the country’s biggest challenge in the 5 years to come. Geoffrey’s take: “North Korea has to cope with the key dilemma of balancing strict social controls and the openness needed to help the economy grow.” Economic sanctions, he says, “deter a broader range of businesses that can bring useful management skills to the country. Lastly, economic technocrats, even if well-meaning, might lack influence or the knowledge to make effective economic policies.”

For those readers interested in visiting North Korea and sharing their professional skills with local entrepreneurs, Choson Exchange is organizing a trip to Pyongyang in March 2017. See the Choson Exchange website for more details and contact information.

Brian Cayce’s (Class 13) Gray Ghost DOEN Fund Rated 2016 Top 10 “Best for the World Fund”

Best for the World FundCongratulations to Bryan Cayce (Class 13) and Gray Ghost Ventures. Their fund, Gray Ghost DOEN Social Ventures Coöperateif, was given a platinum rating by impact industry standards. Impact investment funds are benchmarked against rigorous, comprehensive, quantitative measures collectively known as GIIRS (pronounced “gears”). The Impact Business Model (IBM) Rating ranks firms based on whether their purpose and mission inherently creates social or environmental good. The second measure is the Operations Rating (up to 5 stars), which evaluates a fund’s governance structure, employee treatment and policies, community involvement, and environmental “footprint.” Gray Ghost earned a platinum IBM Rating and 3 stars in its Operations Rating. Read the detailed criteria for these measures.

Even to qualify as a GIIRS-rated fund is an accomplishment, requiring the firm to submit its portfolio to the highest levels of rigor, transparency, and verification by an independent agency. Kudos to Brian Trelstad’s (Class 12) firm, Bridges Ventures, and their U.S. Sustainable Growth Fund, for achieving a GIIRS certification.

Claire England (Class 21) and Central Texas Angel Network Change Structure to Capture More Deals

CTANThe Central Texas Angel Network (CTAN), headed by Claire England (Class 21) is undergoing a major restructuring of its internal processes and organization in an effort to capture more deals and streamline the investment process for entrepreneurs. As reported in 512tech and in the Austin Business Journal, CTAN has created 5 sector interest groups: B2B software, B2C software, hardware, life sciences, and consumer products/other. The shift aims to more quickly connect the right entrepreneurs to the right investors, who also provide mentoring and access to networks and resources. The restructuring will reduce the time from startup application to funding to 10 weeks, consisting of an introductory workshop, screening meetings, and due diligence with CTAN staff. Startups that make it past these screening rounds will have the opportunity to pitch their ideas to investors at a showcase event. Claire says, “The new process allows CTAN members to dive into sectors they’re interested in, while still having the opportunity to meet and invest in companies from other sectors.” Since 2006, CTAN has invested in 135 companies; it has 165 accredited investors, and the group hopes to increase that number to 200 in early 2017.

Fellows on the Move

Social TablesKiran Hebbar (Class 11), after 10+ years at Valhalla Partners, is now COO at the event planning SaaS startup Social Tables in Washington, DC. Kiran had served as the startup’s interim CFO, and things clicked. “As our COO, [Hebbar] will oversee finance, engineering, and product. It’s a perfect role for him because of his background as a successful VC and former software engineer-turned-product manager,” says Social Tables’ founder and CEO Dan Berger. Kiran will continue to be involved as a partner at Valhalla going forward. [DC Inno story]

Portfolio Happenings

This week’s blog selections:

  • Gil Dibner’s (Class 13) latest post, “Raise the Right Round,” explores the 2×2 matrix of amount of money raised in a funding round (too much or too little) and valuation (too high or too low).
  • Carl Fritjofsson (Class 21) writes “[Insert title here],” with advice to startup founders about job titles, why they matter, and why startups benefit from creating them early on.
  • Guy Turner (Class 17) has important statistics for startups on the time it takes to hire executives and sales professionals and have them ramp up to be full-contributing members of the team in “Next year already happened. Were you ready?

Job Opportunities

Several job opportunities have been sent in by Fellows; see below for details. Jobs are removed from this list after 4 weeks. Browse back-issues of Society News if you’re looking for an older job post. If you are a Fellow or Mentor and would like to re-post your job, please email us.

  • Trey Hart (Class 20), SVP at 50 South Capital Advisors, reports via Twitter that he’s looking for a Senior Associate, Private Equity for his team in Chicago, IL. This person will focus on the U.S. buyout space, be responsible for due diligence, analyzing historical performance of investments, monitoring and analyzing portfolio performance, and participating in fundraising initiatives. See the Northern Trust website for full details and application information.
  • Will Prendergast (Class 14), Partner at Frontline Ventures in Dublin, Ireland, announced that his firm is hiring a part-time CFO. Job duties include quarterly reporting to investors, investor relations, treasury, regulatory compliance, and advising portfolio companies on best practices. Candidate must have Chartered Accountancy Qualification, 5+ years in the industry, and some knowledge of corporate law. The job is expected to be part-time for 2-3 years, growing to full-time as the firm expands. Read the full job description and application information on LinkedIn.
  • MP Healthcare Venture Management (MPH), the VC group for Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma Corp, invests in research-driven biotech companies in the United States and Europe. They are looking for an Associate to work in their Boston headquarters. The preferred candidate is bright, ambitious, has a strong technical background (PhD or MD), with some exposure to biotech. Prior VC experience is not required. The Associate will be a key member of the team, with a variety of responsibilities that will grow with experience, including identifying and evaluating new investment opportunities and serving as the key contact for multiple portfolio companies. Please send all enquiries to Jeffrey Moore (Class 10), jeffrey_moore@mp-healthcare.com. [Full job description PDF]

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