A pair of Kansas City venture capitalists were recently selected to participate in the highly-esteemed investor program Kauffman Fellows.
As part of an Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation program announced in October, Kauffman Fellows awarded scholarships to Stray Dog Capital CEO Lisa Feria and Flyover Capital partner Thad Langford. The program also awarded scholarships to Scott Bernstein, principal of St. Louis-based Lewis & Clark Ventures, and Victor Gutwein, founder of Chicago-based M25. The four will undergo the program’s two-year venture capital and leadership program based in Silicon Valley.
The scholarship awards aim to help close the Midwest capital investment gap, enhance capital formation expertise in middle America and support Kansas City as a regional hub for investors.
“This is great news for entrepreneurs in the Midwest,” Kauffman Fellows CEO Jeff Harbach said in a release. “The quality of the investors who applied for the Kauffman Foundation scholarship is amazing. The four recipients will have a huge impact on their local and regional ecosystems. We’re very excited to welcome the heartland fellows to the new class.”
Stray Dog Capital invests in early-stage, mission-driven companies that aim to take animals out of the supply chain with innovative products and services. Flyover Capital focuses on creating the next generation of tech success stories in areas outside the East and West coasts.
“We are proud to work with the Kauffman Fellows to provide training and leadership development to this first group of outstanding investors in the Midwest,” Kauffman Foundation CEO Wendy Guillies said. “We believe that every person with a big idea has the fundamental right to start a business without barriers. Building the venture investor capacity in this region is one of the uncommon solutions we are supporting to clear the path for the makers, the doers and the dreamers wanting to start and grow successful businesses.”
The scholarships mark the first year of the Kauffman Foundation’s $960,000 funding program, in which four scholarships will be awarded per year for the next three years. Each year, Kauffman Fellows will welcome two recipients will be from the Kansas City metro, one from Missouri, Kansas, Iowa and Nebraska, and another from the Rocky Mountains to the Appalachians.
Founded in 1995 by the Kauffman Foundation, the Kauffman Fellows program is designed to enhance access to venture capital by improving understanding and relationships between investors and entrepreneurs. Nearly 500 fellows and 200 venture capital firms from more than 40 countries have participated in the program.