We’re very happy to announce that the Kauffman Foundation has made a significant contribution to support Venture Hacks. If you don’t know them, Kauffman is a $2B non-profit foundation devoted to entrepreneurship.

How it happened

Update: See Bo’s comment about why they decided to support Venture Hacks.

Earlier this year I got an cold email from Bo Fishback at the Kauffman Foundation:

Hey Nivi —

I’ve been following Venture Hacks for a while and have sent many many people there.

I’m interested in talking to you about sponsorship or support. Can we get on the phone for a super short call sometime in the next couple of weeks? Not this week.


Bo Fishback

After a phone call, I flew to Kansas city to meet Bo and the Kauffman team. I pitched them without a deck. Instead, I built a 1-page outline, Wufoo-style, and “did it live”. If I wanted to show them our analytics, I pulled up Google Analytics. If I wanted to show them our products, I went to our products page. If I wanted to show them testimonials, I went to our Twitter favorites.

When I got home, I got some advice from Steve Blank: when you’re making an enterprise sale, do your sponsor’s work for him. If your sponsor needs a pitch for other people in the organization, build it for him. So I called Solvate and they helped me build a deck which Bo used to make the sale to their grant committee. Here are a few random slides from the deck:

About Kauffman

Kauffman is a $2B non-profit foundation devoted to entrepreneurship — they fund Nobel prize winners. And now they want to reach you — the future founders of high-growth companies.

We’re very happy to bring them on board as a supporter and to welcome them to Silicon Valley.

Topics Launch

14 comments · Show

  • Willis

    This is a good sign for the community. Congrats VH.

  • Adam Wexler

    wow, that’s huge! first they announce involvement with startup weekend…now venture hacks. sounds like they’re getting plugged in!

  • Jeff Slobotski

    Congrats Nivi & Naval! A well deserved honor, and a great testament to the value you continue to bring to the startup and entrepreneurial space!

    Keep up the great work and look forward to following the evolution!

  • Tom Cruise

    When you get a call from guys like those it is the same like Pope call you.

    Very well guys! Congratulations.

  • Humphrey

    Hi Nivi,

    Great work mate. I don’t know if you realised but Bo actually quoted you last week in a talk he gave to the StartupDigest and StartWeekend Organisers Global meetup. When mentioning the 4 best attributes for Entrepreneurs he said:

    “The common thread among good entrepreneurs is a relentless pursuit of self-improvement.” – @BoFishback quoting Nivi of VentureHacks


  • Trevor Owens

    Bo is the man, great person and incredibly smart.

  • Stefano Bernardi


    BTW just got your bible, will drill it down a lot!
    Also would love to hear who you brought on board as an angelist product designer.


  • Ryan Nile

    Great work Nivi!!

  • Anonymous

    “when you’re making an enterprise sale, do your sponsor’s work for him. If your sponsor needs a pitch for other people in the organization, build it for him”


  • Bob

    Validation = nice.

    Validation w/grant = nicer.

    Congrats, gents.

  • Bo Fishback

    Thought it might be a little helpful to know how the guys at VH practice what they preach from my perspective.

    Product: You already know it. Some of the best content for entrepreneurs on the web. Easy to understand. Original. Practical. Candid. Leveraging this community and credibility to launch AngelList was just plain smart.

    Social Proof: The first time I met Drew Houston (DropBox), he told me that VH was hugely helpful in getting up and running. Saved him time and mistakes – and it wasn’t his first startup… that’s great proof. The Twitter props are nice, the validation from guys who’ve already made it is nice. But at the end of the day, entrepreneurs talking about how VH helped them is what sealed the deal. Beyond Drew, I’ve probably heard from 50 others who found the content meaningfully helpful.

    Traction: If you’re reading this, you’re part of it. The VH analytics are great. There are tons of advice sites out there for entrepreneurs, Nivi and Naval have been able to transcend being yet another one, and build something different and better, this community proves it.

    Team: Great guys. Period. I think Nivi is one of the smartest guys out there talking candidly and practically about how to build something important or find dead ends quickly. He seems to have a special knack for consuming information in a million different forms and delivering digestible, practical, implementable recommendations. Both Nivi and Naval are surprisingly accessible to entrepreneurs and while they’re building their own thing with VH and AL, they are helping a lot of other people along the way.

    Happy that Kauffman could be a part of this.

  • Knox Massey

    Kauffman was an early supporter in helping establish the Angel Capital Association and the Angel Capital Education Foundation–and continues to stay involved. Wonderful to see they continue that effort in supporting both the entrepreneurial community AND the communities that help fund and mentor next gen founders.
    Kudos to the Kauffman Foundation for forward thinking!

  • Drew Houston

    Glad you guys got together and congrats on things working out! You both are doing great things for entrepreneurs.

  • Venugopal

    Wonderful to see you two team up in supporting the entrepreneurs.


    Vengo ventures.