Origins of Venture Café
CIC (the Cambridge Innovation Center) was founded in 1999, and builds large scale communities of entrepreneurs in premium locations. Approximately six years ago, CIC’s founder Tim Rowe began hosting weekly meet ups specifically focused on connecting entrepreneurs, investors, and students to each other and to the outside community to foster innovation and growth. These gatherings, and the space they were held in, became known as the “Venture Café.”
Next chapter: independent non-profit
As the meet ups continued to grow organically (regularly seeing 300+ attendees every Thursday), Venture Café was spun out as an independent non-profit organization, adding additional programming to its areas of focus, in addition to continuing the extremely successful weekly meetups. Since its start in Boston, independent, non-profit Venture Café organizations have been established in St. Louis, Miami, and now Rotterdam.
CIC and Venture Café are separate organizations with separate business models and leadership. However, we have a long history of working very closely together to provide entrepreneurs with the physical infrastructure, connection to resources, and day-to-day community (CIC) and an expanded regional community and targeted innovation programs (Venture Café) to best support them. Venture Café Rotterdam is also physically located within CIC Rotterdam.
Connecting Innovators to make things happen!
Like any innovation, Venture Café will continue to evolve and diversify as it expands. But our two guiding principles will remain constant:
- Innovation is a social process fueled by trust, collaboration and storytelling. Innovation and entrepreneurship are not ends in themselves. They are means to improve the human condition.
- Exchanging ideas is just the beginning. Venture Café is a vehicle for connecting people, and fueling innovation. Venture Café creates the forum for connecting innovators who ultimately seek to create positive change in both local and global communities.