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Venture Cafe Foundation Inc.

 1 Broadway, Floor 14
 Cambridge, MA 02142
[P] (617) 3980266
[F] --
http://vencaf.org
Info@vencaf.org
Kevin Wiant
Facebook Twitter
INCORPORATED: 2012
 Printable Profile (Summary / Full)
EIN 45-5191933

LAST UPDATED: 11/30/2018
Organization DBA Venture Café Kendall
Roxbury Innovation Center
District Hall
Former Names --
Organization received a competitive grant from the Boston Foundation in the past five years Yes

Summary

Mission StatementMORE »

Venture Cafe Foundation broadens, connects, and supports an inclusive innovation community through a public network of spaces and programs to help anyone with an idea have the opportunity to succeed.

Mission Statement

Venture Cafe Foundation broadens, connects, and supports an inclusive innovation community through a public network of spaces and programs to help anyone with an idea have the opportunity to succeed.

FinancialsMORE »

Fiscal Year Jan 01, 2018 to Dec 31, 2018
Projected Income $1,997,084.00
Projected Expense $1,943,992.00

ProgramsMORE »

  • Captains of Innovation
  • District Hall
  • Innovation Visitors Bureau
  • Roxbury Innovation Center
  • Venture Cafe Kendall

Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

Expense Breakdown 2016 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2015 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2014 (%)

For more details regarding the organization's financial information, select the financial tab and review available comments.


Overview

Mission Statement

Venture Cafe Foundation broadens, connects, and supports an inclusive innovation community through a public network of spaces and programs to help anyone with an idea have the opportunity to succeed.

Background Statement

Venture Café was an experiment born out of the Cambridge Innovation Center (CIC) in 2009 to provide entrepreneurs and innovators with a place for honing ideas, raising money, mentorship, connection to deep knowledge, and general collaboration opportunities. Together, these are the foundation in a thriving innovation ecosystem -most importantly, they are fluid enough to be deployed and redeployed over and over again to provide the right level of support at the right moment, to the right ideas. Venture Cafe Foundation fills this gap and broadens the innovation community with inclusive, accessible, networking and programming to give anyone with an idea the chance to succeed. VCF incorporated as a Massachusetts nonprofit in 2012 and became a 501.c.3 in 2014.
 
 
Since 2012 we have collaborated with private and non-profit partners to develop three location-specific public space, events, and programming to support entrepreneurs and the development of vibrant innovation communities throughout greater Boston. Our sites are intentionally located in Cambridge, the Seaport, and Roxbury to act as a catalyst and resource for the surrounding local community, and our programs are: 

· Venture Café Kendall – A weekly educational, connecting & mentoring forum for innovators held in Cambridge’s Kendall Square on Thursday evenings

· District Hall – A hub for the innovation community to meet and exchange ideas in Boston’s Seaport Innovation District, attended by 45,000 people in 2017

· Roxbury Innovation Center - An urban innovation center to utilize innovation and entrepreneurship to drive local economic development in the Roxbury / Dudley Square neighborhood of the City of Boston.

· StartHub – Greater Boston’s most comprehensive startup guide to the community, events, jobs and other resources

· Innovation Visitors Bureau (IVB) – Connects innovation players worldwide to the Massachusetts ecosystem by organizing visits to innovation-related institutions to foster collaborative business relationships

· Captains of Innovation Program – Works with large established companies and start-ups to envision the future of their industries and create mutually beneficial partnerships between them to help.

Venture Café Providence and District Hall Providence will open in 2019 in collaboration with the State of Rhode Island and City of Providence in support of innovation and entrepreneurs in Providence MSA. 
 

Impact Statement

Venture Cafe accomplishments from 2017:
  • District Hall hosted 1000 events, a 20% increase over 2016, with 45,000 event and programming attendees.
  • District Hall donated $1.1mn in in-kind event space, primarily to startups and nonprofits putting on innovation-based events. 
  • District Hall impact: "I felt empowered to pursue my mission by District Hall." Diana Levine, Photoshoot for a Cure.
  • Roxbury Innovation center hosted 200 events with 7,000 event attendees.
  • Roxbury Innovation Center donated $181,000 in in-kind event space to startups, nonprofits, and corporate partners for innovation events. 
  • "Demoing at RIC's Cafe Night has given me an immense amount of exposure and access to opportunities and networks for my personal and business growth.  The wealth of knowledge and resources that they are able to bring together is amazing and deeply needed now more than ever." Quontay Turner, Founder of 'Q Made It.'
  • Venture Cafe Kendall held close to 50 weekly events and drew 23,000 people during the year. Around 50% of attendees are founders or work in startups. 
  • "I don't think I'd be here with ZappRx at all, if not for the Venture Cafe." Zoe Barry, founder of ZappRx.
  • Goals for 2018-2019
  • Expand the impact of our programming across all of our sites, including Providence
  • Create strong pathways between our locations to support entrepreneurs in building strong companies, bringing RIC attendees to District Hall and Venture Cafe Kendall, and vice versa
  • Strengthen community partnerships, especially in Roxbury
  •  Increase participation in programs and strengthen data capture to assess impact and needs 
  • Increase diversity in programming and attendance across all of our programs and spaces

Needs Statement

Our top four needs are:
  • Developing the appropriate resources and programs at our different locations to help startup and new businesses progress to financial sustainability 
  • Qualified employees to run our spaces and programs
  • Funding to support the capital, programming and staffing needs
  • Continuing to increase our community outreach and collaboration with community partners

CEO Statement

The Venture Cafe believes that anyone with an idea should be empowered to become a successful entrepreneur.  We strive to achieve this vision by connecting the innovation community, extending the reach of innovation and ensuring we have an inclusive innovation economy.  

Board Chair Statement

Venture Café Foundation is a unique organization that fits in the white space in our innovation ecosystem by creating community, reinforcing entrepreneurial culture, and making sure everyone has an opportunity to participate. We have had significant success in helping to start and grow businesses that have real impact and create great jobs. By operating sites and programs as collaborative platforms that support many programming partners, Venture Cafe acts as a catalyst and a connector for the startup ecosystem. Venture Cafe's physical and online sites provide a network of locations that provide resource locally and access to service across the city. Venture Cafe Foundation has also been a leader in ensuring that the innovation ecosystem is inclusive, diverse, and accessible. The Venture Cafe team has grown its programs from the Venture Cafe Kendall with average weekly attendance of 500 people to also include District Hall in the Seaport, the Roxbury Innovation Center in Dudley Square, and StartHub. Venture Cafe Foundation's initiatives also help entrepreneurs to build strong new businesses and create new jobs in areas that have historically been underserved.

Geographic Area Served

GREATER BOSTON REGION, MA

Venture Café Foundation operates spaces and programs in Greater Boston. Our physical spaces are in Cambridge, South Boston and Dudley Square, Roxbury.  Our programs draw people from all over New England and we welcome visitors from other parts of the US and the rest of the world regularly.
 
Venture Cafe Foundation is part of a growing global network of Venture Cafes applying the approaches used in Boston in other cities, but personalized to their communities.  The other operating Cafes are in St. Louis, Miami, Philadelphia, Tokyo, and Rotterdam, Netherlands.  Venture Cafe Providence will open in 2019.
 

Organization Categories

  1. Employment - Management & Technical Assistance
  2. Public & Societal Benefit - Leadership Development
  3. Youth Development - Management & Technical Assistance

Independent research has been conducted on this organization's theory of change or on the effectiveness of this organization's program(s)

No

Programs

Captains of Innovation

The Captains of Innovation Program facilitates startup meetings to make connections between large companies to disruptive technologies and innovation markets.
Budget  --
Category  Education, General/Other
Population Served Adults
Program Short-Term Success  TBD
Program Long-Term Success  TBD
Program Success Monitored By  --
Examples of Program Success  TBD

District Hall

District Hall is the world’s first civic innovation center, in Boston’s Innovation District: a dedicated space for the innovation community to gather and exchange ideas. The building has open workspace, meeting and assembly space, flexible use ‘pods’, and writable surfaces everywhere, as well as a full restaurant and coffee shop. District Hall has hosted 1000 events in 2017, and also provides free and reduced cost meeting space for events which support innovation.
Budget  --
Category  Community Development, General/Other
Population Served Adults Unemployed, Underemployed, Dislocated
Program Short-Term Success  District Hall drew more than 45,000 people in 2017, hosted more than 1000 events, and donated more than $1mn in space to non-profits and commercial partners.
Program Long-Term Success  District Hall will continue to operate as a hub for the innovation community in the Seaport, building its identity through strong, inclusive programming.
Program Success Monitored By  Surveys, internal and external metrics
Examples of Program Success  See above.

Innovation Visitors Bureau

Innovation Visitors Bureau (IVB) is a platform for educating and connecting innovation players worldwide to the Massachusetts innovation ecosystem. IVB provides information and resources to foreign and domestic individuals and businesses about the Massachusetts innovation ecosystem, facilitates opportunities to visit Greater Boston innovation- related institutions and helps them take part in local innovation-related activities to foster international linkages with the Massachusetts innovation economy. 
Budget  --
Category  Community Development, General/Other
Population Served Adults
Program Short-Term Success  TBD
Program Long-Term Success  TBD
Program Success Monitored By  --
Examples of Program Success  TBD

Roxbury Innovation Center

Roxbury Innovation Center is a collaboration between the City of Boston and Venture Cafe Foundation to support innovation and entrepreneurship to drive local economic development in the Roxbury / Dudley Square neighborhood of the City of Boston. Roxbury Innovation Center offers a wide range of tech and business programming for entrepreneurs and innovators at low or no cost to adults and youth. Roxbury Innovation Center drew 7,000 people in 2017. 

Budget  --
Category  Employment, General/Other Job Training & Employment
Population Served Adults College Aged (18-26 years) Adolescents Only (13-19 years)
Program Short-Term Success  Increased attendance to programs offered at the Roxbury Innovation Center by both Venture Cafe Foundation and community partners; stronger collaboration with area partners.
Program Long-Term Success  Increased number of sustainable and successful job-creating businesses started and grown in the Roxbury / Dudley Square community, particularly by founders of color.   
Program Success Monitored By  Internal and external metrics, surveys, conversations
Examples of Program Success    

Maria McKnight, founder of 2 Birds No Stones: "The Roxbury Innovative Center & TLE Pre-Accelerated Entrepreneurship program have both given me the opportunity to start my business journey with confidence, leadership ability, and all the instrumental business tools that I did not have before starting as a cohort (how to do a financial plan, how to find my target customer/market research, strategic planning, presenting & relationship building). I have been attending small business trainings since 1999, which was my first attempt at thinking about becoming a business owner. I left with a certificate and no idea how to complete a business plan. I continued on that journey all the years after, moving from one training to another (more paper documents that didn’t make sense and no direction). In 2001, I even went off into the big wide world with a small business ID, and started selling wedding bouquets without a clue or a plan. It was a major flop “as I became a weekend babysitter for Bridezillas”. Lol! Now I finally have a clear picture of being a business. Thank you for giving me all the knowledge I was missing, and no one else seemed to be able to teach or share. It was one of the BEST experiences of my life!"


Venture Cafe Kendall

Venture Café Kendall is a weekly gathering for the innovation community held on Thursday evenings at CIC Cambridge, providing a platform for the innovation community to come together, and envision new ideas, share knowledge, and access resources to start and grow businesses. It provides a space and forum for educational presentations, experience-sharing and problem-solving with a unique and highly-effective operating model. Around 50% of attendees are founders or work in startups; 31% are women, and 40% are people of color. With an average attendance of over 500 people each week, Venture Cafe Kendall is the largest weekly gathering of its kind in New England. Venture Café Kendall has become a destination for visitors from across the United States and around the world seeking to learn about and connect with the Greater Boston’s innovation ecosystem. 
Budget  --
Category  Community Development, General/Other
Population Served Adults
Program Short-Term Success    Venture Cafe Kendall runs an open, free, and inclusive program that drew 23,000 people in 2017: 40% of color and 31% women. Regular surveys show that more than 85% of attendees consider that VCK broadens their professional network and that VCK programming teaches skills and information directly relevant to their professional lives.
Program Long-Term Success    Venture Cafe Kendall is developing additional metrics to evaluate impact, including the likelihood that startups and founders using VCK will increase their ability to find financing. Initial research, supported by NSF, NASA, and the Kauffman Foundation suggests that attendees of Venture Cafe Kendall events raise on average more than twice as much investment dollars than non-attendees. This research continues. Confirming this and building on it will be one important criterion for future long-term success.
Program Success Monitored By    Surveys, attendance, and internal metrics.
Examples of Program Success 
  See Long-Term success and short-term success above. Additionally, see testimonials and press, including Scott Kirsner in The Boston Globe, 6/21/18:
 

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

--

Management


CEO/Executive Director Mr. Kevin Wiant
CEO Term Start May 2014
CEO Email kevin@vencaf.org
CEO Experience Kevin has been Executive Director of Venture Café Foundation since 2014, leading VCF through the development of District Hall in the Seaport, Roxbury Innovation Center, and the forthcoming Venture Café Providence. Previously, Kevin was on the management teams of several early stage companies in the mobile, telecommunications, web and software industries, including Comverse, Boston Technology, AirWide, Technology Concepts and Wolfdata. His executive roles have been in business development, sales, marketing, product management and corporate development. Kevin has extensive international expertise, having taken over 170 trips to over 30 countries. He also serves on the Boards of the MIT Enterprise Forum and Mobile Monday Boston.  
Co-CEO --
Co-CEO Term Start --
Co-CEO Email --
Co-CEO Experience

Former CEOs and Terms

Name Start End
Carlos Martinez Vela Jan 2013 Apr 2014
Chris Myles Nov 2011 Apr 2014

Senior Staff

Name Title Experience/Biography
Chandra Briggman Director
Lanita McCormick Director - Roxbury Innovation Center Lanita joined Venture Cafe Foundation in 2018. She previously served as VP of Corporate and Community Engagement and United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley.
Ruth Saunders Head of Development Ruth is an experienced fundraiser, economist, and communicator who has worked at the World Bank and IMF, and was previously VP of Engagement at Mitchell College, Connecticut 
Dan Vidaña Director - District Hall Dan is an engaged leader, strategic thinker and management consultant whose experience includes senior roles with both for-profit and non-profit companies.  

Awards

Award Awarding Organization Year
-- -- --

Affiliations

Affiliation Year
-- --
Member of state association of nonprofits? No
Name of state association MA

External Assessments and Accreditations

External Assessment or Accreditation Year
-- --

Collaborations

der 

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

Foundation Comments

--

Staff Information

Number of Full Time Staff 14
Number of Part Time Staff 0
Number of Volunteers 100
Number of Contract Staff 0
Staff Retention Rate % 44%

Staff Demographics

Ethnicity African American/Black: 4
Asian American/Pacific Islander: 3
Caucasian: 5
Hispanic/Latino: 2
Native American/American Indian: 0
Other: 0
Other (if specified): --
Gender Female: 9
Male: 5
Not Specified 0

Plans & Policies

Organization has Fundraising Plan? Yes
Organization has Strategic Plan? Yes
Years Strategic Plan Considers 4
Management Succession Plan Under Development
Business Continuity of Operations Plan No
Organization Policies And Procedures No
Nondiscrimination Policy Yes
Whistle Blower Policy No
Document Destruction Policy No
Directors and Officers Insurance Policy Yes
State Charitable Solicitations Permit Yes
State Registration Yes

Risk Management Provisions

--

Reporting and Evaluations

Management Reports to Board? Yes
CEO Formal Evaluation and Frequency Yes Annually
Senior Management Formal Evaluation and Frequency Yes Annually
Non Management Formal Evaluation and Frequency No Annually

Governance


Board Chair Mr. Mitch Tyson
Board Chair Company Affiliation Tyson Associates
Board Chair Term Sept 2016 - Sept 2017
Board Co-Chair --
Board Co-Chair Company Affiliation --
Board Co-Chair Term -

Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
Damon Cox Boston Foundation Voting
Melissa James Tech Connection Voting
Vinit Nijhawan Community Volunteer Voting
Mitch Tyson MassEconomics Voting
Kevin Wiant Venture Cafe Foundation Voting
Susan Windham-Bannister Biomedical Growth Strategies Voting

Constituent Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Youth Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Advisory Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Board Demographics

Ethnicity African American/Black: 2
Asian American/Pacific Islander: 1
Caucasian: 3
Hispanic/Latino: 0
Native American/American Indian: 0
Other: 0
Other (if specified): --
Gender Female: 2
Male: 4
Not Specified 0

Board Information

Board Term Lengths 3
Board Term Limits 2
Board Meeting Attendance % 90%
Written Board Selection Criteria No
Written Conflict Of Interest Policy Yes
Percentage of Monetary Contributions 0%
Percentage of In-Kind Contributions 0%
Constituency Includes Client Representation No

Standing Committees

    --

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

Foundation Comments

--

Financials


Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

Expense Breakdown 2016 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2015 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2014 (%)

Fiscal Year Jan 01, 2018 to Dec 31, 2018
Projected Income $1,997,084.00
Projected Expense $1,943,992.00
Form 990s

2016 Form 990

2015 Form 990

2014 Form 990

2013 Form 990

2012 Form 990

Audit Documents

2016 Audited Financials

2015 Audited Financials

2014 Audited Financials

2013 Review

IRS Letter of Exemption

IRS Letter of Determination

Prior Three Years Total Revenue and Expense Totals

Fiscal Year 2016 2015 2014
Total Revenue $1,807,552 $1,378,825 $1,699,193
Total Expenses $1,498,953 $1,403,543 $1,034,737

Prior Three Years Revenue Sources

Fiscal Year 2016 2015 2014
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
-- -- --
Government Contributions $0 $0 $0
    Federal -- -- --
    State -- -- --
    Local -- -- --
    Unspecified -- -- --
Individual Contributions $730,653 $622,672 $1,018,613
Indirect Public Support -- -- --
Earned Revenue $669,187 $573,436 $464,934
Investment Income, Net of Losses -- -- --
Membership Dues -- $30,000 $43,333
Special Events -- -- --
Revenue In-Kind -- -- --
Other $407,712 $152,717 $172,313

Prior Three Years Expense Allocations

Fiscal Year 2016 2015 2014
Program Expense $1,372,358 $1,257,728 $995,392
Administration Expense $94,857 $130,247 $19,521
Fundraising Expense $31,738 $15,568 $19,824
Payments to Affiliates -- -- --
Total Revenue/Total Expenses 1.21 0.98 1.64
Program Expense/Total Expenses 92% 90% 96%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue 4% 3% 2%

Prior Three Years Assets and Liabilities

Fiscal Year 2016 2015 2014
Total Assets $1,069,822 $1,274,796 $885,138
Current Assets $752,276 $1,017,826 $715,647
Long-Term Liabilities $0 $0 $0
Current Liabilities $447,577 $961,150 $536,283
Total Net Assets $622,245 $313,646 $348,855

Prior Three Years Top Three Funding Sources

Fiscal Year 2016 2015 2014
1st (Source and Amount) -- --
-- --
-- --
2nd (Source and Amount) -- --
-- --
-- --
3rd (Source and Amount) -- --
-- --
-- --

Financial Planning

Endowment Value --
Spending Policy Income Only
Percentage(If selected) --
Credit Line No
Reserve Fund No
How many months does reserve cover? --

Capital Campaign

Are you currently in a Capital Campaign? No
Capital Campaign Purpose --
Campaign Goal --
Capital Campaign Dates -
Capital Campaign Raised-to-Date Amount --
Capital Campaign Anticipated in Next 5 Years? --

Short Term Solvency

Fiscal Year 2016 2015 2014
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities 1.68 1.06 1.33

Long Term Solvency

Fiscal Year 2016 2015 2014
Long-term Liabilities/Total Assets 0% 0% 0%

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

Financial summary data in charts and graphs are per the organization's IRS Form 990s. Contributions from foundations and corporations are listed under individuals when the breakout was not available.

The FY12 Form 990EZ posted above is a short year and covers March 14, 2012 - Dec. 31, 2012, approximately 10 months.

Foundation Comments

--

Impact

The Impact tab is a section on the Giving Common added in October 2013; as such the majority of nonprofits have not yet had the chance to complete this voluntary section. The purpose of the Impact section is to ask five deceptively simple questions that require reflection and promote communication about what really matters – results. The goal is to encourage strategic thinking about how a nonprofit will achieve its goals. The following Impact questions are being completed by nonprofits slowly, thoughtfully and at the right time for their respective organizations to ensure the most accurate information possible.


1. What is your organization aiming to accomplish?

Venture Cafe aims to help people interested in becoming entrepreneurs to be more effective in starting businesses and accelerating their business growth in a strong and sustainable way. Startups and small businesses create more jobs in the economy than large companies. We see entrepreneurship skills as key to developing healthy communities and economies.  We  believe that innovation is everywhere, and everyone has the potential to be an entrepreneur, and seek to broaden and diversify the innovation economy through open, inclusive networking, programming, and mentoring at multiple locations in Greater Boston.

2. What are your strategies for making this happen?

The Venture Café Foundation enhances and accelerates the innovation process through spaces, programs, and conversations for individuals and organizations to gather and build relationships, including:

· Venture Café Kendall – A weekly networking, knowledge-sharing, educational and mentoring forum for innovators held in Cambridge’s Kendall Square on Thursday evenings

· District Hall – A hub for the innovation community to meet and exchange ideas in Boston’s Seaport Innovation District, including a range of meeting rooms and open lounge space

· Roxbury Innovation Center - An urban innovation center to utilize innovation and entrepreneurship to drive local economic development in the Roxbury / Dudley Square neighborhood of the City of Boston.

· StartHub – Greater Boston’s most comprehensive startup guide to the community, events, jobs and other resources

· Innovation Visitors Bureau (IVB) – Connects innovation players worldwide to the Massachusetts ecosystem by organizing visits to innovation-related institutions to foster collaborative business relationships

· Captains of Innovation Program – Creates opportunities for start-up businesses by working with both large established companies and start-ups to envision the future of their industries and create mutually beneficial partnerships between them to help.


3. What are your organization’s capabilities for doing this?

Venture Cafe has over nine years of experience in connecting the innovation economy in Boston.  Our staff is well-tuned to the needs of the entrepreneurs, the resources provided by many parties around Boston and then how to connect the two.  We have become more skilled in tailoring our programming and offerings at different locations to the needs of the surrounding communities. We are also well-versed in working with programming partners to execute the courses, workshops, clinics and gatherings to help company founders.  We survey program attendees regularly and use attendance and other internal metrics to monitor and evaluate our impact.

4. How will your organization know if you are making progress?

Venture Cafe uses a combination of quantitative and qualitative metrics measure our progress and impact.  For example: 

· District Hall

o 800+ events in 2015 with 60K people participating

· Venture Café Thursday Gathering

o Events - 2.2K + since 2010, 600+ in 2015

o Attendees - 81K + since 2010, 19K + in 2015

We survey attendees at all Venture Cafe Foundation sites regularly on the value of VCF programming. Metrics used include: number of unique attendees, number of newsletter subscriptions and social media views, percentage of startups and founders attending, percentage of women and people of color attending, office hours (mentorship program) attendance and topics.
 
Additionally, we track through survey data the percentage of attendees who say that their professional network has improved, that they have learned relevant professional skills or formed new partnerships through VCF, and that they have found a job or hired staff through Venture Cafe Foundation events. 
 
We also collect qualitative impact stories. 
 

5. What have and haven’t you accomplished so far?

We would like extend and increase our impact in neighborhoods and cities that are suffering from higher rates of employment, where entrepreneurship can be a local economic development driver.  Additionally, we would like--through collaborations and partnerships--to improve the continuum of support for entrepreneurs and innovators in underserved areas in developing business skills, building strong businesses, and finding financing. Over the next one to three years we hope to find new ways of sharing the lessons we are learning and replicating the model we have developed.