We help entrepreneurs develop by educating them through our proprietary Wasabi Ventures Academy, a free educational program available to prospective startup founders. The WV Academy curriculum is drawn directly from the experience of our partners as startup founders. It is practical, street smart, and designed to teach participants the realities of the startup world. Recognizing that every founder comes to us with a unique background and level of experience, it is not “one size fits all.” It is modular, multi-stage, flexible, and delivered through a combination of online sessions and in-person programs and events, allowing founders to start and stop on their own schedule, and focus on mutually determined areas of greatest need. The academy’s greatest value lies not in its content but rather in the time founders get to spend directly with our partners.
Through the academy, we meet great entrepreneurs who seek to build companies of lasting significance, who we enjoy working with and who find our approach appealing. Everyone who completes the WV Academy gains access to our alumni network, granting them insider access to continuing education, networking and career opportunities with WV, portfolio companies, and other friendly companies. Because we are in the company-building business, not the “deal” or “capital” business, we take a “people first, ideas second” approach to building management teams. Our experience has shown us that the market will generally demand that business ideas change over time, and strong teams will be able to successfully pivot. We invest in educating founders so they can build strong teams.
Bio: I went to school here in Maryland for both undergrad and graduate school. My undergrad was in business at Frostburg. I got my MBA at Loyola and then my first job was actually in the high-tech field, so I worked for a website hosting company and a domain name registrar. And then I actually worked at Athire [a recruiting service for tech companies], so that kind of started my love affair with technology and with early-stage start-ups.
Question: Why did you partner with Wasabi Ventures?
Through our partnership with Wasabi Ventures we have collaborated on a Venture Capital Bootcamp as well as continued educational opportunities for our entrepreneurs scheduled for 2016. We have found Wasabi Ventures to be a committed partner in developing our local ecosystem and supporting the growth of the technology-based startup community in Baltimore. Their programs and workshops are targeted to meet the needs of a given region and provide participants with tools and strategies for success. Additionally, their team provides continued support and mentorship to the entrepreneurs, which makes them an invaluable member of Betamore’s coworking community.
Bio: I joined NACET in 2011. I have worked with startups, small business and growing companies for 9 years, and in my own small consumer products company for 11 years before that.
Question: What has it been like to have Wasabi Ventures as an educational partner?
The Wasabi Ventures team has been a great partner in our educational offerings for startups and entrepreneurs. Chris and TK as investors specifically offer a level of individual attention and incredible access to participants, making it so that no question goes unanswered or is off-limits. This kind of access and transparency is not normally available in most startup educational programs.