VCGI is seeking to meet individuals with interest in leading our organization as our President. If you think you are the right person to lead this organization either now or in the future, and to help make the world better through innovation by building stronger innovation communities, we would like to speak with you. Please note that while we are receiving applications and considering resumes, these are still only exploratory conversations at this time.
ABOUT VENTURE CAFÉ
The Venture Cafe Global Institute (VCGI) is an international organization that convenes gatherings of entrepreneurs, scientists, investors and other innovators every Thursday in eleven cities around the world, with the goal of fostering entrepreneurship and speeding innovations that can improve the condition of the world.
Our gatherings help build a community of innovators that drives regional economic development through business formation and growth. The weekly gatherings strive to achieve this objective by using a mixture of networking, mentoring, and engaging educational programming.
Today, there are Venture Cafés in Cambridge (Massachusetts), St. Louis (Missouri), Rotterdam (The Netherlands), Miami (Florida), Tokyo (Japan), Philadelphia (Pennsylvania), Sydney (Australia), Providence (Rhode Island), Warsaw (Poland), Phoenix (Arizona), and Monterrey (Mexico). Multiple additional locations are in the works, and we hope to support the creation of dozens more.
VCGI has a direct, central staff of 5 people. Together with the teams at each cafe location, approximately 100 people operate the Venture Café platform around the world.
In the cities in which we operate we quickly become the largest, best known, and best attended regular gathering of innovators and entrepreneurs. Through these gatherings, and other programs and activities of our cafes, we aim to increase the level of innovation and entrepreneurship in our cities.
Since 2009, we have curated gatherings around the world with over 550,000 attendees. These are made up of innovators, creatives, developers and civic-minded leaders that represent a global community that facilitates open access to capital in a multitude of ways; human, social, economic, intellectual and political. Both high and low tech organizations are supported.
HOW VENTURE CAFÉ IS STRUCTURED AND FUNDED
Each Venture Café is typically funded by leading innovation players in its location: universities, consortia, governmental agencies, and operators of innovation-focused buildings and districts. Individual cafes may either be directly owned and operated by VCGI, or may be a licensee operating under VCGI guidelines and frameworks.
VCGI, legally the "CIC Venture Cafe Global Institute", is structured as a Delaware public benefit company (PBC) which reinvests all of its income in its mission. It was founded by Tim Rowe and incubated by Cambridge Innovation Center (a global operator of shared workspaces for innovators it calls innovation campuses). Later, it was spun out as a separate organization. CIC remains a close strategic partner and sponsor. CIC’s collaboration includes space donation for events within its locations as well as payroll and benefits administration at some locations, and direct management support for local Venture Cafe teams in others.
VCGI is funded by an annual USD $45K fee paid into the center by each local cafe. It provides the member cafes guidance, service and support to the network, much like the secretariat of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.
ABOUT THE ROLE
VCGI seeks a dynamic, creative, and energetic leader as its President. This person will manage all aspects of the organization including but not limited to finance, operations, fundraising/development, leadership/personnel, evaluation, and programs — often with limited guidance. A significant element of the role is funding the organization through grants and partnerships. We seek an individual who would be at home raising $10M in any given year as part of the organization’s expansion aims.
This is a senior leadership position that will report to the Board of Venture Cafe, led by Tim Rowe (principal benefactor and founder of Venture Cafe, and Founder and CEO of CIC).
YOUR DAY-TO-DAY WORK
You will be responsible for leading the Venture Café Global Institute team as well as the Executive Leadership team (Executive Directors at each local Venture Café) of the Venture Café Network. You will set the vision and strategy for the organization’s work while growing a mission driven and financially sustainable organization.
You will need to:
• Act as the principal thought-leader for VCGI and develop yourself and your reputation as a recognized thought-leader in the innovation and entrepreneurship support industry
• Collaborate with the Board and stakeholder partners in each Venture Café city to refine and implement the strategic plan while ensuring that the budget, staff, and priorities are aligned with VCGI’s core mission.
• Provide inspirational leadership and direction to all executives, ensure the continued development and management of a professional and efficient organization, and establish effective decision-making processes that will enable VCGI to achieve its long- and short-term goals and objectives.
• Cultivate a strong and transparent working relationship with local stakeholders and the networks to ensure open communication about the measurement of financial, programmatic, and impact performance against stated milestones and goals.
• Build a diverse and inclusive workforce, representative of the community at each location, that is highly engaged and willing to leverage and secure resources.
• Ensure that the flow of funds (the combination of fees from member cafes, partners with whom we collaborate, and external sources) permits VCGI to make continuous progress towards the achievement of its mission and that those funds are allocated properly to reflect present needs and future potential.
• Formulate and execute comprehensive external communications/marketing, branding and development strategies that will ensure consistency throughout the organization and enhance revenue from major donors, foundations, government agencies, and corporations.
• Ensure the delivery of high-quality services while managing for current and future growth.
• Facilitate cross-member collaboration and strengthen internal communications with teams throughout the organization; create and promote a positive, multicultural work environment that supports consistency throughout the organization’s strategy, operational methods, and data collection needs.
• Achieve a healthy financial status for the organization, including developing long and short range financial plans, monitoring the budget and ensuring sound financial controls are in place; set financial priorities accurately to ensure the organization is operating in a manner that supports the needs of the program and staff.
• Identify and obtain substantial grant funding for the organization
• Lead innovation on developing new products and programs for Venture Cafe, while simultaneously rationalizing the delivery of existing programs through new and existing locations and partnerships.
• Target new locations for Venture Café and work with the regional stakeholders to propose a program and attract funding for launch and long term sustainability. Hire and train the staff for these new Venture Cafés.
QUALITIES WE SEEK IN YOU
We seek a strong leader who understands the trust these communities have placed in us, and who is prepared to lean in to invent new and better ways to connect and support innovators, in large part by spreading the learnings at each cafe to the others. We expect you to be the public face of Venture Café globally, and to champion the growth of our network of innovation ecosystems.
We envision that you will:
• Possess strong relationship building skills and the ability to be the face of the Venture Café brand and community.
• Be a positive, results-oriented “doer” with high quality output and ability to work under pressure/meet tight deadlines.
• Be a financially savvy and politically astute leader with the ability to set clear priorities, delegate, and guide investment in people and systems.
• Be trustworthy and always willing to both learn and teach, with a love for problem-solving and comfort working with ambiguity. A quick and adaptable learner.
• Serve as a natural mentor and developer of people; personable with an innate desire to help others. This role requires a significant amount of organizational development.
• Be committed to seeing your work as mission-based and an opportunity to make a powerful contribution to a larger effort.
• Be someone known to lead by example — comfortable helping out with day-to-day tasks as necessary, e.g. happy to get your hands dirty, clean up the mess, or set up chairs.
• Have an interest in a long-term role — we are a growing organization, and we like to hire people who can grow with us over the years.
• At least 10-15 years of overall professional experience as a manager/leader of an organization
• Currently reside within Boston, Philadelphia, Providence, Miami or St. Louis.
• Be strongly connected into the startup and innovation ecosystems in at least one of those cities.
• Be able to travel 25% of the time which includes existing sites (Americas, Europe & Asia) and ad hoc expansion related requirements.
• Be comfortable gathering regularly with large groups including after hours.
• Management of an international multi-site organization preferred.
• Significant board development, fundraising, marketing/branding and fiscal management experience are a must.
• Keen analytic, organization and problem solving skills, which support and enable sound decision making.
• Excellent coalition-building skills, with an ability to communicate and work effectively with a variety of internal and external stakeholders; you are a persuasive negotiator able to achieve consensus amongst differing opinions.
• Outstanding presentation and communication skills, and the experience and proclivity to be an outgoing spokesperson, relationship builder, and fundraiser.
• Strong commitment to the professional development of staff; successful track record of recruiting and retaining a diverse team.
• Experience scaling an international organization.
• Expected starting compensation is USD $300,000.00, plus benefits.
• Benefits include:
• 100% employer-paid premium healthcare and dental benefits.
• 100% employer-paid long and short-term disability, and life insurance.
• 401k with percentage match after one year.
• Four weeks of vacation plus thirteen paid holidays.
We seek a President who can be physically based in one of Boston, Philadelphia, Providence, or St. Louis (the current US locations with both a Venture Cafe and a CIC facility), with a preference for the Boston area. We expect the President to be on-site (not remote) most of the time, as well as to travel regularly to each of the cafe locations.
ATTRACTIONS OF THE JOB
In addition to the opportunity to help make the world a better place, we work to ensure each talented team member feels nurtured by many benefits, here are just a few:
• The opportunity to learn and develop skills within the epicenter of the innovation community within a growing global network.
• Opportunities for regular travel to Venture Café locations across the globe.
• You’ll join a team of driven and bright collaborators who are eager to lend their own unique skills to building our inspiring community.
• Annual reviews with raises significantly above the national average every year for those on track with strong performance.
• Depending on your location, discounted services and memberships on tools to make your life happier/healthier such as gym memberships, tech and design support, hotel stays, and other fantastic options.
MORE ABOUT OUR VISION
What began in 2009 as a simple idea within the Cambridge Innovation Center (CIC) in Massachusetts to better connect people, ideas and resources has become a movement. If we’re going to solve humankind’s biggest and most pressing challenges, we need as many as possible involved. We believe that one day, across the world, we will all participate equally in the process of innovation.
OUR CONNECTION TO CIC
CIC (Cambridge Innovation Center) is the founding organization and physical home of Venture Café in many of our cities.. Founded in 1999 with a single location in Kendall Square, Cambridge (Massachusetts) the company now operates more than one million square feet of shared workspace, wet labs, and event space in the US, Europe, and Asia. CIC’s collaborative work environments support thousands of individuals in the for-profit and nonprofit sectors who are focused on innovating solutions to local and global problems. Guided by the belief that stronger innovation ecosystems help to propel economic development and social impact, CIC has co-founded several mission-aligned organizations including the Venture Café Global Institute, LabCentral, MassRobotics and CIC Health. CIC Health provided COVID-19 testing and vaccination services to millions of individuals, schools, and organizations. Learn more at cic.com
VCGI is committed to building teams that reflect the fabric of the cities we support. We welcome all candidates regardless of race, color, ancestry, gender identity or expression, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, age, citizenship, marital status, disability, Veteran status, or any other legally protected status. Any other human expressions and experiences not mentioned here are equally welcome. If you require an accommodation please let us know. We are proud to be an equal opportunity employer.