layoffs / Startups

Amid restructuring, Venture for America has laid off 7

The changes, driven by the nonprofit's new strategic plan, focus on serving its nationwide fellows, per CEO Eric Somerville.

The 2022 class of Venture for America. (Courtesy Venture for America)
Full disclosure: and Venture for America have both received grant funding from the City of Philadelphia as part of the PHL: Most Diverse Tech Hub initiative.
Update: Additional comment from CEO Eric Somerville and mention of Venture for America's publicly listed employee count have been added. (10/27/23, 4:10 p.m.)

Venture for America (VFA), a national nonprofit with a two-year fellowship for cohorts of young potential founders, is entering a new phase of growth, according to CEO Eric Somerville.

As part of the transition, several members of the VFA staff saw their jobs eliminated, with some pivoting into new positions and others — seven in all — being let go.

Somerville said that the changes were driven by VFA’s 2022 strategic plan, which is publicly accessible through its website.

The new strategic plan “led us to the realization that in order to achieve our vision, we needed to reimagine how we’re supporting our growing number of Fellows, and ensure that more Fellows have the opportunity to convert their visions into ventures as startup founders,” Somerville told in an email statement. “To do this, we shifted our organizational structure to increase efficiency and ensure we can scale effectively. We firmly believe this shift will allow us to provide more consistent — and robust — national programming focused on developing an entrepreneurial mindset and experiential learning for our Fellows.”

Founded by businessman-turned-politician Andrew Yang in 2011, VFA recruits college grads to work for two years at emerging startups and early-stage companies in over a dozen cities in the US.

In 2020, VFA was one of four organizations, including, to share $500,000 in investment from the City of Philadelphia as part of the PHL: Most Diverse Tech Hub (MDTH) initiative. That investment was re-upped in 2022 and 2023. VFA has also worked within and directly impacted companies in markets Pittsburgh and Baltimore.

Somerville shared that as part of the restructuring, the organization also created seven new roles. This included launching a strategic partnerships team, “increasing capacity” within its development department, growing its company partnerships team, adding a director of entrepreneurship role and growing its venture growth team.

“Though some staff will be departing Venture For America, several other impacted staff will be taking on these newly created roles,” Somerville said. “We’re grateful for the contributions of our Team and the Venture For America community, and we’re excited about what the future holds for our organization.”

The CEO did not immediately specify what roles have been eliminated, nor if the changes represent a deemphasizing of the program’s focus on 13 cities, though the new strategic plan mentions it will “redefine and execute City Director role to support Fellow in-city experience and connection to local ecosystems.”

Forty people are listed as staffers on VFA’s “About” page as of Friday afternoon.

In a follow-up email to after this story was published, Somerville added: “Local community building in the cities where we operate is remains an important focus. Fellows will still have support to build community in their cities and — through our Strategic Partnerships Team — we’ll be building more resources to improve their ability to access and navigate entrepreneurial ecosystems.”

Companies: Venture for America

Before you go...

Please consider supporting to keep our independent journalism strong. Unlike most business-focused media outlets, we don’t have a paywall. Instead, we count on your personal and organizational support.

3 ways to support our work:
  • Contribute to the Journalism Fund. Charitable giving ensures our information remains free and accessible for residents to discover workforce programs and entrepreneurship pathways. This includes philanthropic grants and individual tax-deductible donations from readers like you.
  • Use our Preferred Partners. Our directory of vetted providers offers high-quality recommendations for services our readers need, and each referral supports our journalism.
  • Use our services. If you need entrepreneurs and tech leaders to buy your services, are seeking technologists to hire or want more professionals to know about your ecosystem, has the biggest and most engaged audience in the mid-Atlantic. We help companies tell their stories and answer big questions to meet and serve our community.
The journalism fund Preferred partners Our services

Join our growing Slack community

Join 5,000 tech professionals and entrepreneurs in our community Slack today!


The Trump rally shooter perched on a building owned by American Glass Research. Here’s everything we know about it.

Quantum computing could be the next hot tech — if only that breakthrough would come

New tech hub Station DC is launching with a $2M government grant

From global juggernauts to local government, this developer never stops serving

Technically Media