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  • 07/27/15--07:40: Village Caller- July 27
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    A Must-Read Briefing on Village Capital and the Startup Ecosystem

    July 27, 2015 

    It’s Monday and it has already been a big week for Village Capital! After successfully hosting the final Fintech (US) 2015 Workshop, the VilCap team was off to Africa Saturday for the Global Entrepreneurship Summit to share some exciting news. Here are some great headlines to start your week- The Largest Peer-Selected Fund Ever, Even Airbnb was rejected, and 1Docway Raises $1.7 million. 


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    “Pitch for Accra” Competition Hosted by Case Foundation, Hub Accra, MEST, iSpace, and Africa 2.0; Featuring Celebratory Reception Co-Sponsored by Ecobank


    ACCRA, Ghana - July 27, 2015 – Wanjo Foods, which processes indigenous crops into food products including juices, jams and syrups, was announced as the winner of a $25,000 investment prize today at a pitch competition hosted by the Case Foundation at Impact Hub Accra, along with supporting partners MEST, iSpace, and Africa 2.0. Iconic American entrepreneurs, investors and philanthropists Jean and Steve Case, contributed the investment prize.

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    “Pitch for Lagos” Competition Hosted by Case Foundation, Co-Creation Hub, EchoVC, Lagos Startup Week and Africa 2.0; Featuring Reception Sponsored by Kuramo Capital


    LAGOS, Nigeria - July 30, 2015 – WeCyclers, which helps people in low-income communities capture value from their waste, was announced as the winner of a $55,000 investment prize today at a pitch competition hosted by the Case Foundation at Co-Creation Hub, along with supporting partners EchoVCLagos Startup Week and Africa 2.0. Iconic American entrepreneurs, investors and philanthropists Jean and Steve Case, EchoVC, the firm founded by pioneering Nigerian venture capitalist Eghosa Omoigui, and iDEA(Information Technology Developers Entrepreneurship Accelerator) contributed to the investment prize. WeCyclers will also receive three months of training, coaching mentoring, office space and other services from iDEA as part of the prize package.


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    Today, we’re excited to launch our fourth annual program for the world’s top entrepreneurs tackling major problems in healthcare, including $200,000 in investment for the top companies from our fund and Global Health and Social Innovation Capital Partners (GHSICP).

    The upcoming Village Capital Health: US 2015 program is part of our SOURCE partnership with The Hitachi Foundation and Investors’ Circle, with additional support from The Rockefeller Foundation and the Sorenson Global Impact Investing Center. Our goal with SOURCE (Solutions from Our Country’s Entrepreneurs) is to link entrepreneurs and investors focused on social challenges that affect low-wealth Americans.


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  • 08/03/15--08:57: Village Caller- August 3rd
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    A Must-Read Briefing on Village Capital and the Startup Ecosystem

    August 3, 2015 

    Wow, it’s already August! Here are some hot headlines to start your week- VilCap Health We are a Go, Blowing Up a Dam (Is a Lesson in Entrepreneurship), and How do you cash those big checks at the bank again? 


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    Village Capital announced today that the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation has committed a grant to support Village Capital’s first program supporting early-stage entrepreneurs addressing water insecurity issues through technology for the benefit of all individuals in the U.S. and around the world. The Kauffman Foundation, which is committed to accelerating entrepreneurship hubs in metropolitan areas, has awarded a $100,000 grant to help with the program’s overall operating costs, alongside Village Capital’s partners, including New Belgium Family Foundation, BSP Funds, the Community of Albuquerque, the James Lee Sorenson Center For Global Impact Investing, Rocky Mountain Innosphere, and The Tecovas Foundation. Together, we are building an ecosystem around water entrepreneurs in Albuquerque, New Mexico.


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    Education finance is a growing problem facing the United States. The average American college student graduates with nearly $30,000 in loan debt, and with the lackluster job market, repayment is a struggle. Even for the graduates that do get jobs, few employers provide any structure to help pay back loans.


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    Today, we’re announcing a new program for leaders interested in enabling entrepreneurs to change the world. 

    Although many discussions of entrepreneurship focus on the “hero founder,” entrepreneurship is a team sport, and we know that building great teams is the only way entrepreneurs can succeed.

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    The following post is part of a series entitled "In Education, How Do We Create a Culture of Experimentation", begun by friends Matt Candler, CEO of 4.0 schools, and Tom Vander Ark, Partner of Learn Capital and CEO of Getting Smart. Here, I examine how educational entrepreneurs promote, implement, and scale innovative digital platforms and mobile devices to engage students and support teachers in authentic learning.

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    In every strong vibrant educational ecosystem, there's a community of believers and change agents who work hard to see their very own town grow and prosper. For economic mobility to flourish, jobs to be created, and citizens to be able to live a comfortable lifestyle, it starts with ensuring students beginning at Pre-K have the necessary resources to foster a high quality education experience.

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    This fall, please join Kapor Capital, Google for Entrepreneurs, and Village Capital for an exciting initiative supporting emerging startups who are leveraging tech to remove or mitigate bias from hiring and employment practices.

    The initiative will:

    a) highlight the limits of traditional approaches to human resources; and

    b) showcase a group of startups reinventing how every aspect of human resources is practiced from writing job descriptions to sourcing candidates to evaluating performance. 

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    Ross Baird, Executive Director of Village Capital, and Joseph Steig, Senior Advisor, Curriculum and Instruction, wrote the following post in conjunction with The Lemelson Foundation, who celebrated their 20th anniversary this past week.

    It seems like starting a company has never been easier. And for software startups, that’s probably true. But what if your business is hardware-based?

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    I’m coming off a week in Mumbai, where we kicked off the Village Capital Fintech India 2015 program, sponsored by DBS Foundation and Paypal. I joined Vilcap after 3 years with a fintech startup in India, so it was thrilling to go back to India and

    We’ve spent months sourcing and vetting fintech companies from across India, looking for the best early stage companies using tech to solve India’s financial inclusion challenges for consumers and small businesses. After reviewing over 70 applications and conducting extensive interviews, we chose 12 promising companies for the program. 

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    Today, Village Capital, in partnership with Blue Sky Network, Radicle Capital, Reily Foods, Owsley Brown Charitable Foundation, and Sustainable America, is excited to launch its third annual agriculture program based in Louisville. This three-month program will bring together a diverse group of early stage entrepreneurs working in each part of the agriculture supply chain and food system to solve major agricultural problems. Village Capital is proud to run the first agriculture-specific accelerator in the United States.

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    Dear friends of Village Capital,
    Today, we’re excited to announce VilCap Communities, a new initiative to expand access to opportunity for entrepreneurs around the world.

    Over the last six years, Village Capital has supported more than 500 top entrepreneurs worldwide, enabling $3 million of investment in more than 60 seed-stage firms through a unique peer review model—entrepreneurs themselves make investment decisions. See here for an article I wrote in MIT Innovations describing Village Capital’s peer-selected investment model.

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    Square is out; circular is in.

    This is what I heard on a visit to Kenya last month from last mile distributor Living Goods when I asked about their bed net sales. In the market for bed nets, which keep malaria-carrying mosquitos away from children in developing countries, fashion is now just as important as functionality.

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  • 11/27/15--08:40: Giving Thanks
  • It’s easy to get wrapped up in the hectic day to day hustle here at Village Capital. We don’t always have time to sit back and reflect on the incredible progress we have made with the help of the people who mentor, support, and encourage us every day.

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    The American Dream is firmly rooted across the entire United States, not just a few select cities.

    Ford Motor Company began as a small but ambitious car manufacturer in Detroit; Nike and Under Armour launched in Portland and Baltimore, respectively; and Microsoft had its start in Albuquerque. While 75% of venture capital goes to three states, transformative companies launch all across America.

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    Press Contact

    Hallie Noble, Program Associate

    Whatsapp: 2164071436


    $100,000 Awarded to Shiksha Finance and Catalyst Labs for FinTech Business Solutions in India


    Selected by peers as top Indian ventures that address challenges in the FinTech sector

    (Mumbai, India) – Two FinTech startups, Shiksha Finance and Catalyst Labs, were selected by their peers in December to receive $50,000 each in investment from Village Capital and co-investment partner Asha Impact. The selection marks the end of a three-month accelerator program, VilCap FinTech India 2015, run by Village Capital in partnership with the DBS Foundation and Paypal.

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    Last November, the Village Capital (VilCap) team united 20 thought leaders to identify the key financial inclusion challenges in Mexico. Some of the primary challenges that emerged:


    • Antiquated credit scoring methods,

    • Inability to identify users, and

    • Sub-par infrastructure preventing access to both online and brick-and-mortar financial institutions.


    With support from our core program sponsors PayPal and BlackRock and our local partner Crédito Real, we spent the last three months boiling the financial technology ocean to identify the top 11 early-stage ventures in Mexico working to improve access to finance for the unbanked, underbanked, and small and medium enterprises (SMEs).