The Venture for America (VFA) Fellows Program attracts bright, newly-minted college students to use their talents working for a start-up or early stage company during a two-year program following graduation. VFA was founded to create a clear path for undergraduate students to find meaningful work in young companies in cities outside the typical top locational choices of Boston, New York and San Francisco, focusing instead on cities such as Cincinnati, Cleveland, Detroit, Las Vegas, New Orleans, Philadelphia, and Providence. VFA started the program in fall, 2012 with 40 Fellow placements in these cities, and with a grant from the Abell Foundation, expanded to Baltimore City in Fall 2013.
Venture for America has developed a rigorous selection process for both the Fellows and the companies. For the first year of the program, student recruiting efforts began in 20 colleges and universities, and have since been expanded to 40 schools nationwide, including the University of Maryland and Johns Hopkins University. VFA received 500 student applications for the first year of the program and in 2014 over 1,000 applications were received. Companies participating in the program in each city offer jobs matched to the interest of the Fellow and commit to pay the two-year fellowship positions with benefits.
In 2013, Baltimore welcomed seven talented Fellows who were matched to Baltimore companies such as ZeroFox (formerly Riskive), Pixelligent, Pegged Software, and Vigilant Medical. In fall, 2014, they were joined by 15 new Fellows who have accepted matching placements at Baltimore companies including Allovue, Everseat, Eyemaginations and PathSensors.