DC's VilCap Communities project will focus on inclusive entrepreneurship - Technical.ly DC


Mar. 9, 2016 11:58 am

DC’s VilCap Communities project will focus on inclusive entrepreneurship

The new program will take Village Capital's peer funding model and apply it to 16 pioneer cities, including Baltimore and D.C.

At a Village Capital event in Amsterdam.

(Photo via Twitter)

“The way that we back new ideas isn’t working for most people.”

This is how Ross Baird, executive director of Village Capital, launches in. What he means is that VCs tend to fund a certain type of company — both in terms of substance and leadership, and also in terms of geography.

Village Capital, the D.C.-based venture firm with a twist, believes we can do better. That’s why the fund has developed a model in which entrepreneurs themselves make investments.

Historically, Village Capital programs have been run according to sector. Now the fund is launching VilCap Communities, “a program to help regions often underserved by the mainstream investment capital across the U.S. find, train and invest in startups using Village Capital’s peer selection methodology.”

Sixteen communities have been selected to take part in the inaugural class of VilCap Communities, and D.C. is on the list. So is Baltimore, which is focusing on health-tech startups.

The project is being run in partnership with the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and the Sorenson Impact Center. It also has support from the Rise of the Rest initiative — which is, of course, led by Steve Case, cofounder of Revolution.

The D.C. program itself will focus on inclusive entrepreneurship — the initiative will be lead by Jason Towns. The goal, Baird told Technical.ly, is to “change people’s image on what an entrepreneur looks like here in D.C.” Many of the details of how the D.C. program will work are still being worked out, Technical.ly was told, so keep an eye on it if you’re interested in participating.

Tajha Chappellet-Lanier

Tajha Chappellet-Lanier is the lead reporter for Technical.ly DC. The California native previously worked for NPR and the editorial board at USA Today. She can talk travel plans all day, and has strong opinions on the best doughnut in D.C.


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