Over the last five years we have seen tremendous changes in the venture capital industry, no more so than in early stage investing, where there have been waves of new funding and programs: angels, angel funds, seed funds, accelerators, and accelerators growing into funds.
My focus has been on creating and implementing innovation/accelerator programs, in partnership with corporations and venture firms, to build and support entrepreneur ecosystems. In running the Citrix Startup Accelerator, I managed a seed fund and placed 31 investments, many of which are developing into great companies. We also created a three-month accelerator program, the Innovators Program, in which we brought forward the best practices around lean startup and design thinking to ecosystems around the world: Silicon Valley, Raleigh, Santa Barbara, and Bangalore. We worked with 70 teams, including a number of intrapreneur teams, mixed with entrepreneurs, which was really pushing the envelope!
It was a great challenge and I’m really proud of what our team accomplished. But a question still nagged at me: What else is going on out there? While we’re creating great new startup programs, what else is going on around the world? What other great new programs are being created?
At the same time, I was going through the Kauffman Fellows Program, a two-year leadership program for venture capitalists and innovators of all kinds. In my class, I got to know thirty-five fantastic people active in many different parts of the venture industry. I learned a lot from them, and I still am, but, again, I asked myself how I could learn from the other 400 Kauffman Fellows from 50 countries, who have been part of the society for the last 20 years?
I started an ongoing research project to talk with as many Kauffman Fellows as possible and develop a report on the evolution of the venture capital industry. This week at the Global Corporate Venture Conference, I am releasing the first report:
THE CHANGING SHAPE OF VENTURE CAPITAL MARKETS: Accelerators, Disruption and the Evolving Role of Corporations