Rob Katz

Village Capital Announces Peer-Selected Investment Funds

If you have a business idea to help improve the world, listen up. The newly-announced West Coast Village Capital (WCVC) is a social venture program that brings entrepreneurs together to learn from and support each other’s social enterprises.

Unlike most incubators or seed funds, however, WCVC also puts the investment decision in the hands of entrepreneurs themselves. Entrepreneurs participating will rank one another as the companies most ready for seed capital; the highest-ranked will be eligible for up to $100,000 per enterprise. Submit an application by January 7th, and you may be a WCVC Member by January 15th!

Inspired by the village banking model used in microfinance throughout the world, Village Capital is an innovative investment model built on the hypothesis that entrepreneurs, working intimately together and providing peer support to one another, will be able to efficiently and wisely allocate investment to one another’s companies.

The Village Capital program is sponsored by First Light Ventures, sister enterprise to Gray Ghost Ventures. The West Coast Village Capital will be run in conjunction with pilots in Mumbai (partnered with DASRA/Social-Impact), New Orleans (The Idea Village), and Boulder (The Unreasonable Institute).

The Village Capital program will give participants the opportunity to:

  • Network with other social entrepreneurs within and beyond their own sectors
  • Share challenges and lessons learned with professional peers
  • Refine and strengthen their business models and pitches.

In addition, participants will work together in five groups of six and have the opportunity to serve in the role of investor as they evaluate each other’s businesses as potential investments:

  • First Light Ventures will invest up to a total of $500,000 in the 5 – 10 businesses that rise to the top in the community-driven due diligence process. Participating businesses also may receive funding from First Light independent of the WCVC process.

WCVC is based in the San Francisco Bay Area. It will be hosted at the Hub-Bay Area, which supports WCVC with marketing, meeting space, and access to its vibrant community of entrepreneurs, creative professionals and community leaders. An information session will be hosted at the Hub-Berkeley on December 7th.