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ABOUT

Learn a bit more about our non-profit organization.

THE MISSION

Venture Café’s mission is to connect innovators to make things happen.

Venture Café is a global movement working to build stronger and more inclusive innovation ecosystems and accelerate and enhance the innovation process, in cities around the world. It does this through its use of programming, space, storytelling, and broad innovation engagement.

BELIEF

Innovation is fueled by conversation, collaboration, and storytelling. Venture Café enhances and accelerates the innovation process through spaces, programs, and conversations for individuals and organizations to gather and build relationships.

TARGETED INDUSTRIES

Hi-Tech, Bioscience, Advanced Manufacturing, Social Equity, Art, Government, Education, Renewable Energy, and others.

HISTORY

Venture Café was born out of the Cambridge Innovation Center (CIC) in 2009. CIC realized that it supported companies that had some amount of capital and a solid plan. Money and a plan are important steps in the entrepreneurial process, but they are more like Step 2 or Step 3. What was missing were Step 0 and Step 1 – honing ideas, raising money, mentorship, connection to deep knowledge, and general collaboration opportunities. All these steps and elements present as the foundation in a thriving innovation ecosystem. Most importantly, these elements 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, to the right people.

Venture Café was originally conceived as a restaurant but the business model didn’t work – restaurants require constant turnover and the social contract is you don’t talk to others. This didn’t fit with Venture Café’s goal: gather people who don’t necessarily know each other to stay and talk to each other. Venture Café has been an iterative process from the beginning that continues to be refined. At its core, Venture Café provides the necessary connective tissue to uncover and link the various parts of an innovation ecosystem. Venture Café currently operates in Boston, MA (established 2009), St. Louis, MO (established 2014), Rotterdam, Netherlands (established 2015), Miami, FL (established 2016), and Winston-Salem, NC (established 2017), and Tokyo, Japan (established 2018). There is a Venture Café Global Institute (VCGI) that supports the growing global network of independent Venture Café organizations.

Learn more about our programs

 

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