Jan 12, 2024 - Business

Exclusive: Kauffman Fellows names Fernando Fabre as new CEO

Illustration of a graduation cap against a background with abstract shapes.

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

The Kauffman Fellows program has named Fernando Fabre as its new CEO.

Why it matters: The program has become sought after by venture investors, especially emerging managers.

  • Established in 1994 as part of the Kauffman Foundation, the program is a nonprofit financed through both tuition fees (currently $80,000) and its endowment, which provides some scholarships.
  • The two-year program identifies and provides education and mentoring to developing venture capital leaders, with a focus on diversity.
  • Alumni include partners at Kleiner Perkins, Venrock, and Sequoia Capital, as well as from firms outside the U.S.

What they're saying: "We have more applications now than in the past," Fabre tells Axios of the market downturn's impact.

Yes, but: Programming needs to keep up with the times, says Fabre.

  • Emerging managers will need more guidance to navigate the tougher fundraising environment.
  • More broadly, VCs need to refocus on the core investing practices now that cash isn't free flowing, he adds.

What's next: Fabre tells Axios that an updated scholarship program will be unveiled in the coming months to better address affordability.

Catch up quick: Fabre participated in the program from 2009 to 2011, and most recently joined venture firm MatterScale Ventures as a managing partner.

  • From 2011 to 2018, he was president of entrepreneurship organization Endeavor Global.
  • Fabre tells Axios he will stay as general partner of MatterScale's Fund 1, and keep his board and advisory seats, but he will no longer be a member of the management company and won't be joining any new funds or SPVs.

Of note: Jeff Harbach, who was CEO since 2016, plans to take a sabbatical, "exploring various pursuits ranging from health and mindfulness to coaching and AI, each in one-month sprints," per a LinkedIn post.

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