Last week in the middle of the desert, we celebrated Class 25's graduation from the two-year Kauffman Fellows Program. Throughout this journey, Class 25 was fundraising like crazy; over 30 Fellows co-invested, and there were 16 exits and IPOs to celebrate. There were 7 promotions, 11 transitions, and multiple partnership challenges. They have spent a total of 6 weeks on Zoom and spent another 6 weeks in 5 different locations around the world. Each of them represents the best of the best in terms of global innovation leaders. More than that, they are empathetic, kind-hearted, and resilient. We can’t wait to see what’s in store for each of you!
In Dubai on Saturday night, in the company of brilliant investors who have become some of my closest friends — we graduated from the Kauffman Fellows program. Over the course of 2 ½ years, our lives have changed both personally and professionally in ways we could not fathom. We have built friendships and professional relationships that will carry us a lifetime — and the experience was transformative in every way. It went far beyond the venture education for which we signed on. — Maggie Kenefake
In the middle of the desert in Dubai this past Saturday I was able to celebrate graduation from the wonderful Kauffman Fellows program. “Graduation” is a funny word in this respect, as this is only the beginning of what will undoubtedly be a lifelong journey from the deep and sustaining friendships I’ve forged with my classmates.— Nick Washburn
Last week, I celebrated my graduation from Kauffman Fellows amongst my classmates, peers, and now lifelong friends. It has been an incredible 2.5-year journey of introspection, vulnerability, and building both personally and professionally. As part of the 4-day event, I had the pleasure of hosting a fireside chat with Fadi Ghandour, a mentor and early supporter of AAF Management Ltd. Fadi spoke of his fascinating entrepreneurial journey building Aramex in the 1980s in the Middle East as well as his venture capital endeavors building companies such as Maktoob Group and Souq.com and the eventual launch of Wamda ومضة which focuses on backing entrepreneurs in the MENA ecosystem.
While the fellowship has formally ended, I believe my classmates and I are just starting. We created incredible lifelong personal and professional bonds which will help us to be better investors and, most importantly, better human beings. — Omar Darwazah
Last week, we graduated from the Kauffman Fellows program halfway around the world in Dubai. It’s been a journey full of ups and downs, a pandemic, a global market high full of FOMO deals, as well as market ‘adjustments’ that are changing the way we do business and creating incredible opportunities.
But more importantly, this group of 61 fascinating VCs from across the world has become what can only be described as a tight-knit family. We have spent a total of 6 weeks on Zoom and spent another 6 weeks in 5 different locations around the world. We have battled jet lags, personal and professional highs, and lows and have gracefully supported each other through thick and thin and all that life threw at us.
I can truly say I would not be the same man I am today if it weren’t for this incredible group of individuals. This experience has been life-changing, to say the least. You have each, individually, changed the way I think and see the world. I celebrate not the accomplishment of what this program is but rather the indestructible bond between us that was created in the process.
Time flies when you are having a blast, and last week was special as our Kauffman Fellows Class 25 wrapped up our time in the program in Dubai. Over the last couple of years, we’ve shared and closed deals together, visited and learned from a global community of innovation hubs, and most importantly, built genuine friendships with VC peers who share alignment with the Kauffman values. I have no doubt Mr. Kauffman’s belief that entrepreneurship is the backbone of society will be only further accelerated by this amazing Class 25 serving those founders who are in the arena.