Dear Venture Café Participants and Supporters,
We founded the Venture Café two years ago with the goal of providing our innovation community a regular venue to meet, make new connections, and help each other realize our dreams. During this time, we have been fortunate to experience a tremendous amount of growth in attendance as well as support from many strong partner organizations.
Beginning this year, we have decided to launch the Contributor Model. The Venture Café will continue to be open to all members of the innovation community as our guests; however, going forward we ask regular attendees of the Venture Café to become “Contributors”. As a Contributor, you are expected to be champions of the Venture Café credo, as well as to be a productive connector, facilitator, and conversation-starter while in the café.
So, in a sense, the beer isn’t free. Instead, we’re asking you to “pay it forward“.
Here is how it will work:
- Visitors to the Café are invited to attend as guests up to three times. During these first three visits, guests can learn more about the Venture Café community and offerings.
- After three visits, individuals must become Contributors in order to attend the Café. The role of a Contributor is to support the mission of Venture Café by actively aiding others to pursue their innovative and entrepreneurial goals. An analysis of the attendance of the café has led us to conclude that we initially have space for only 120 Contributors. As a consequence, becoming a Contributor is selective, similar to applying to a university, and is by application (see Contributor Application). Applicants must also provide up to three references (these may be Venture Café Volunteers, Contributors, or well-known members of the innovation community).
- During the transition to this new model, past visitors to the café who have already visited more than three times will be provided one additional opportunity to visit as a guest before they must apply.
- In addition, visiting privileges at the Venture Café have been extended to members of certain innovation-focused partner organizations (Boston World Partnerships (connectors), C3, CIC, CommonAngels, Critical Mass, Dogpatch Labs, Greentown Labs, Mass Challenge (finalists and mentors), TechStars etc).
This new model is an ongoing experiment to improve Venture Café and over time, we will analyze the parameters we have set and tweak them as needed.
We hope that these changes will create a more focused, committed core of regular attendees while preserving plenty of space and opportunity for new participants in our innovation ecosystem to take advantage of the opportunities the café has to offer as a cross-roads and meeting place.
Tim Rowe – Founder/Chairman of the Trustees
Chris Myles – Executive Director