Venture For America Heads To Miami, Bringing Top Talent For Local Startups

April 9, 2014

9:38 am

Part of creating and fostering a startup community is creating a system that funnels young talent into the ecosystem by creating leaders that will eventually build companies and create new jobs.

Socializing and mobilizing young entrepreneurs is something that Venture For America has been advocating in various growing tech hubs throughout the country, and they are headed to Miami. Started by former lawyer Andrew Yang in 2011, VFA is a nonprofit modeled after Teach for America, which recruits high-performing graduates to work for two years at early-stage startups.

“We were inspired to come to Miami because of the high quality of startups and CEOs we met on our first visit,” says Elisabeth Deogracias, VFA’s corporate development manager.

This visit happened earlier this year, and it included a visit to The LAB Miami and an unofficial startup crawl led by Kairos’ CEO Brian Brackeen to meet local startup leaders.

VFA has been successful in cities such as Detroit, New Orleans, Baltimore and Las Vegas, where they have been connecting top-notch business graduates who are forgoing opportunities in traditional companies with larger salaries to work with startups.

“In our experience in various cities, we were able to create a virtuous cycle of growth. We noticed that entrepreneurs were in better position and ready to launch their own startups in these cities,” explains Deogracias.

South Florida’s entrepreneurial community leaders constantly allude to the difficulty of hiring local talent. VFA identifies young talent and connects them with high-growth companies in cities where the cost of living is low. The fellows receive invaluable experience while the startups get the talent to help the business grow.

“We have the talent. But our best and brightest are being absorbed by what I call ‘the meta economy.’ They’re heading into professional services and transactions and optimizing, but not into direct value creation. If you can imagine a country where the equivalent wave of talent currently heading to professional services was heading to fast-growing companies, think about what that would do for job creation,” said Yang in an interview to The Washington Post.

All startups in the program are vetted and must be able to commit to a 38K yearly salary plus benefits for two years before having access to VFA’s pool of fellows. For any startup looking to find talent, VFA will be hosting a meetup Thursday, April 10th, at The LAB Miami.


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Camila has been heavily active in South Florida’s tech startup community, where she is a co-host of a local radio show called pFunkcast. Camila previously worked at Greenpeace International and the Organization of the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in various communication roles. A proud Brazilian who spent most of he life in Peru, she is passionate about traveling and documentaries.

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