Professional Development

Here’s why Kelly O’Malley is transitioning to a new position at Georgetown

After two years with the Vinetta Project and leading SEED SPOT's accelerator program this past spring, O'Malley has accepted a position to manage the Georgetown Venture Lab.

Kelly O'Malley, now Georgetown Venture Lab's manager.

(Courtesy photo)

Kelly O’Malley took part in leading her last Vinetta Project showcase on Sept. 12.

The prominent startup leader announced at the showcase that she had accepted a position to manage the Georgetown Venture Lab effective in October.

O’Malley has been Mid-Atlantic regional director for the organization, which aims to close the gender-based VC funding gap by connecting female founders and investors, for the past two years, a position she worked up to from a city fellow role with the organization. O’Malley also cofounded and held the position of COO at Shop Or Not, a 1776-born startup that would send its users pictures and small descriptions of food from small businesses via text, and ran strategy at fitness startup Fit Girls Guide.

In addition, this past spring, she partnered up with S. Lovey Parker to lead SEED SPOT’s second Impact Accelerator program in D.C. The pair guided 11 entrepreneurs through SEED SPOT’s eight-week program geared toward helping early-stage entrepreneurs scale their social impact business ventures.


“It’s bittersweet,” O’Malley said about leaving the Vinetta Project. “We’ve done a lot of great work at Vinetta the past two years and I love the founders we work with, but I’m excited to take on a new challenge.”

O’Malley said some of her favorite venture challenge wins are from winners Crystal Icenhour and more recently Stephanie Cummings. She said she’s incredibly proud of the stats Vinetta gathered in its impact reports, and thankful for the surprise “Vinetta-versary” party that D.C. chapter founder Amelia Friedman and the chapter’s current co-director, Rebecca Yarbrough, put on for her last year.

“A lot of the private moments that truly resonate with me are incredibly kind emails and texts that I’ve received from founders telling me how much they appreciate the community,” O’Malley said.

O’Malley will be ending the 2019 Vinetta Project season at the end of this month before transitioning into her Georgetown role.

How did she land her new position at Georgetown?

“I think I was appealing to the team because I have a deep knowledge of the D.C. ecosystem and am interested in figuring out how to get the various stakeholders in D.C. tech: universities, coworking spaces, accelerators/incubators, local government, federal government, etc., to collaborate more and work in silos less,” she said.

As she transitions, O’Malley said her first order of business at the Venture Lab will be getting to know its current ventures since the space is at capacity. She also said she’ll be working on identifying where the lab can build in additive programming and how it can engage more alumni and the greater D.C. ecosystem.

Anyone interested in the Vinetta Project Mid-Atlantic regional director role, can reach out to Vanessa Dawson, founder and CEO of the Vinetta Project.

Companies: Georgetown
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