Beyond the Pitch
Columbus Welcomes Venture for America Fellows
Five Venture for America (VFA) Fellows have joined the Central Ohio startup community since Columbus was approved as one of four new VFA cities last spring.
Over the past seven weeks, these talented entrepreneurs have resettled to Columbus to work at a local start-ups where they’ve already begun growing the companies as well as themselves.
We asked the Fellows what it has been like. Here, in their own words, is an update on their experiences thus far, as told by Ada, Dillon, Louisa, Nate, and Andrew.
Why Venture for America?
AJ: I knew I wanted my job to have an impact from the get-go. I wanted more than just a job with a paycheck. I think that’s something you’ll find across all Fellows—money isn’t the number one goal. We are hungry to learn and desire to have a positive impact on our communities, and Venture for America allows us to do precisely that.
What is working with a start-up like?
AS: I am pushed out of my comfort zone every single day. I am naturally an introvert, so outward facing work is challenging for me. I figured if I wasn’t an executive or in sales I wouldn’t have to talk to suppliers and potential customers. But as the second full-time employee, the reality is that I have to do a little bit of everything.
DM: Something I expected, but not to the extent that I expected, is the autonomy I would have. If there is some problem in the company that I want to solve, or something I think could be better, I can change it without having to run things through a bureaucracy. It’s been great to work with people who have so much trust in you already.
NR: Columbus itself played a huge role in my decision to come here. Rev1 Ventures in particular was so interested in having people come in and join the entrepreneurial community; I got a good vibe right away. To add to it, my meetings at Print Syndicate with Tanisha and the rest of the team got me so excited to be part of growing a business here in the city.
AS: When I came out to Columbus for my interview,
I was introduced to a world of start-ups, especially at
Rev1 Ventures, which is a hub for entrepreneurial activity.
I quickly realized that, out of any other place, this is where things are ramping up.
DM: Rev1 Ventures has really been at the center of welcoming us into the community. They have been very active in inviting us to events, introducing us to entrepreneurs, and finding ways that we can become engaged with the community. I’ve been nothing but happy about my decision to come here to Columbus.
What is one word that summarizes the Venture for America experience?
AJ: Inspiring. The collaborative atmosphere plus my experience in general has done nothing but inspire me for the future. The Venture for America fellowship is only two years long, but I already anticipate staying in Columbus at least a year longer, if not more than that.
DM: New. I’ve moved to a new city, I’ve started a new job. Everything has been so new.
NR: Eye-opening. I am looking forward to all the learning to come.
LL: I’m at a loss… I’m trying to figure out a blend between challenging and rewarding. Rewarding makes it sounds too mushy and challenging doesn’t capture how much fun it’s been too.
AS: Growing. That’s what I am here to do. That’s what I’m here to help with at my company. That’s what I’m here to contribute to on a bigger scale in Columbus.
What is most exciting about the future?
LL: I’m looking forward to making a life here. The other Fellows and I want to make Columbus a target city for new Venture for America Fellows. We truly want to contribute to the start-up community here, not just take from it.
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