Firebrand Ventures Partners with the Regnier Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation

Firebrand will provide investment capital to E-­Scholars Startups

Firebrand Ventures, Kansas City’s premier early‐stage venture capital fund, and the Regnier Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation (RIEI) of the Henry W. Bloch School of Management at the University of Missouri­‐Kansas City (UMKC) are pleased to announce an exciting new partnership to benefit early­‐stage entrepreneurs in the Kansas City region. The RIEI’s Entrepreneurship Scholars (E-­Scholars) program, which graduated its first cohort in 2011 and since that time has worked with more than 200 individual graduates of the program, assists local students – community and university – in taking their entrepreneurial ideas from concept to launch. E­‐Scholars does this through a structured, two‐semester long program of Saturday workshops focusing on key areas of entrepreneurial marketing, finance, operations, legal, and more. These workshops are complemented by the most extensive network of entrepreneurial mentors in Kansas City – more than 150 of them, and growing.

The E‐Scholars program brings in new cohorts of participants each fall and spring. Beginning with the incoming January 2017 cohort, one selected E-­Scholars team per cohort that meets the investment criteria will have the opportunity to receive an investment from Firebrand Ventures.

“This represents a unique opportunity for university and community students to accelerate their entrepreneurial ventures beyond the concept stage into something real and tangible,” said John Fein, founder and Managing Director of Firebrand Ventures. “And by leveraging other key startup resources, we can help engage these entrepreneurs with the Kansas City startup community where they’ll be welcomed with open arms.” Prior to founding Firebrand Ventures, Fein served as Managing Director for Techstars at the Sprint Accelerator, working with top mobile technology companies from around the country and world to grow and scale their companies. Fein brings valuable and sought-‐after experience to Kansas City’s seed stage companies.

“This partnership is one of the final major pieces of the puzzle that we feel has been missing from the Kansas City entrepreneurial community – access to early­‐stage capital to help ventures bridge that gap from MVP [minimum viable product] to scalable growth,” said Dr. Jeffrey Hornsby, Director of the RIEI and Chair of the Department of Global Entrepreneurship and Innovation at UMKC. “By helping to create this capital connection for local early-­stage entrepreneurs, Kansas City continues to assert itself as a key player on the regional and national stage for cultivation of innovative new companies.”

Readers can learn more about Firebrand Ventures at www.firebrandvc.com, and more about the RIEI’s E­‐Scholars and others programs at entrepreneurship.bloch.umkc.edu.

Media Contact: John Fein, Firebrand Ventures, john@firebrandvc.com

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