GREENWICH, Conn., Feb. 16, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- VenCorps applauds President Obama's 'Startup America' campaign, but asks where is the tool to help it produce measurable results? VenCorps offers its answer by announcing Start-a-Startup™ -- funding 12 startup competitions during the next 12 months. VenCorps is a social networking platform that helps entrepreneurs get their business started.
Each month, VenCorps will invest $25,000 in the best technology ventures selected by VenCorps community votes. Unlike traditional venture capital firms in which funding decisions are made by a few partners, VenCorps gives that opportunity to the public. "With our money and the community's votes, it's like 'American Idol' for startups," said Prof. Sean Wise, founder of VenCorps. "This way, the entire community benefits from its own collective intelligence."
In a Jan 31st statement, President Obama said, "Entrepreneurs embody the promise of America: the belief that if you have a good idea and are willing to work hard and see it through, you can succeed in this country…And in fulfilling this promise, entrepreneurs also play a critical role in expanding our economy and creating jobs." The statement continued, "Startup America aims to inspire and empower an ever-greater diversity of communities and individuals to build great American companies."
"President Obama has made creating jobs by supporting entrepreneurs an economic policy priority," says VenCorps' Chairman and angel investor, Kevin Kimberlin. "He's right. America was built by entrepreneurs. Start-a-Startup™ turbo-charges this dream-to-reality process."
Open innovation is a proven model for effectively harnessing human intelligence on a global scale. In contrast to Facebook, where people share what matters to them personally, on VenCorps people support what matters to the whole world – more jobs from exciting new companies. As reported by the Kauffman Foundation, from 1980-2005, nearly all net job creation in the United States occurred in firms less than five years old. Therefore, a platform that stimulates startups will create more jobs.
"We have learned a lot from our earlier startups – like InnoCentive and Ciena – that are now world leaders in the field of collaboration," said Kimberlin. InnoCentive hosted the recent $1 million ALS challenge, which exemplifies the power of open innovation to solve big problems. Ciena, the company powering the Internet, just introduced a new breakthrough – the first 100 Gigabit network. On it, the best minds collaborate to make world-changing discoveries faster than ever before possible. Now, VenCorps makes such distributed collaboration available to any new venture.
Don Tapscott, VenCorps advisor and author of Macrowikinomics, describes how it works in his book: "By creating this virtual economy…VenCorps harnesses its community of passionate participants, to leverage the wisdom of crowds and the production capability of the masses…building the winners together."
VenCorps itself has been vetted at scale by IBM and the transportation society, ITS America. Because of that showdown, VenCorps winner iCarpool is now the world leader in reducing CO2 emissions using social networking. Macrowikinomics quotes iCarpool founder Lakshmi Krishnamurthy, "The potential to tap into the [VenCorps'] fast growing diverse community of founders, funders, and technology and business expert—to be able to discuss ideas and exchange feedback—is amazing."
The community is comprised of thousands of entrepreneurs, investors, students, scientists, domain experts and professional service providers. Each brings experience, connectivity and insight to the VenCorps™ platform. For their contributions, they can receive cash and prizes for their efforts. In return for each $25,000 investment, VenCorps takes a 5% equity position in the showdown winner and then helps it leverage the VenCorps™ community to facilitate rapid growth.
"VenCorps is an idea accelerator for the world. It distributes value to exceptional people who care and share. Anyone can sponsor a startup on VenCorps. Anyone can join," concludes Kimberlin. "We emphatically support Steve Case, Carl Schramm and the President in Startup America. Let's get started with VenCorps."
VenCorps is pioneering a new model for seed investing. As the world's first crowd-sourced venture capital firm, this new model drives innovation. It is a social network – an open, collaborative ecosystem for transparent resource allocation and shared decision-making. The VenCorps community chooses the investments and then helps them grow. Since inception, VenCorps has worked with a variety of leading organizations including: IBM, Mashable, Spencer Trask, the Department of Education and the White House to maximize its benefits for users and entrepreneurs.