Venture for America, a national nonprofit that recruits, trains and places top college graduates with startups, will send its second class of Fellows to Miami in August with funding from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. The eight new Fellows will join six current Fellows for a two-year program working for Miami-based startups.
The Fellows, who will undergo a five-week training boot camp at Brown University before joining the startups as core team members, are recent graduates of Columbia University, University of Michigan, Vanderbilt University, Notre Dame and Morehouse College. They will be working at local firms Rokk3r Labs, AdMobilize, Kairos and Venture Hive.
The first class of VFA Fellows in Miami has already resulted in a new startup: Tracks, led by Princeton graduate Seth Forsgren.
“The right mix of talent and opportunity is essential to making Miami a global innovation hub,” said Matt Haggman, Miami program director for the Knight Foundation, which provided a $240,000 grant to fund the program’s expansion. Last year, Knight initiated with program with a $126,000 grant. “Venture for America is pushing us toward that goal by seeking out high-impact startups and connecting them with the talent that will help these businesses scale and grow right here in Miami.”
VFA believes one of the best ways to accelerate the path to entrepreneurship for young graduates is through apprenticeship. VFA offers training, mentorship and access to capital. Each Fellow is hired as a full-time employee by a startup in one of the VFA cities at a starting salary of $38,000 a year plus benefits.
Since its founding in 2011, Venture for America has placed 300 fellows in 15 cities, including Baltimore, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Detroit, New Orleans, Las Vegas, Philadelphia and Providence, R.I. Venture for America partner companies have added an average of 5 jobs within a year of hiring a fellow and 72 percent have experienced net job growth. Both fellows and startups go through a VFA vetting process. For more information, visit ventureforamerica.org.