VVM’s Next Chapter

In 2011 Scott Foster, Steve Willis, and I co-founded Valley Venture Mentors (VVM) as a nights&weekends hobby. A few years later it transitioned from a hobby to a real organization with a staff and ambition to change the face of the Western New England economy.

It was a crazy ambition. And crazy ambition requires crazy ideas :). Our unique approach to mentoring, selecting startups, and our family and sanity-friendly programming allowed us to attract great minds that so many entrepreneurship programs miss.

VVM helped hundreds of entrepreneurs follow their dreams. From cookie truck franchises to software changing how social work is done, to bacteria that can crawl into and kill tumor cells, and so so much more. These crazy, beautiful, passionate entrepreneurs muster all their courage to do what most of us are far too sane to try! Their products are touching the lives of people the world over, winning national awards, gaining national press… Along the way they have increased startup activity in this area by at least 10x. 10x more revenue from startups. 10x more investment into startups. 10x more jobs… they are approaching a thousand jobs!

A year ago I asked the amazing Liz Roberts to take over as VVM’s leader. She professionalized and systematized the ragged startup Steve, Scott, and I put together in 2011 and shepherded Team VVM to heights I could never have dared hope we would achieve. Specifically: world-class leaders of the entrepreneurial community and the Obama White House have recognized VVM’s results as extraordinary.

It has been the greatest joy of my professional life to work alongside Team VVM and the thousands of volunteer mentors that make up our community. Today is my last day as a full-time employee at VVM. I will remain an active and proud member of the community, but it is time to go. My startup baby has grown up.

Leaving is bittersweet, but it is beautiful. I could not ask for a more amazing staff and board to lead VVM to its next chapter.

I look forward to seeing y’all at a Mentorship Night, and to see where VVM goes next.


9 thoughts on “VVM’s Next Chapter

  1. Jeffrey Mccorkindale

    Awe😢I was just getting to know you too !! It was such a pleasure to have met you Paul and what a great experience you gave to everyone who walked into VVM!!!!! Your enthusiasm and “quacky ” approach made everyone feel like the had found a new home and someone who believes in their ideas and dreams.

  2. Thank you for all your kind words. I am remaining an active member of the VVM community and will continue to be the “crazy man with the duck tie on stage” at the monthly mentorship meetings.

    Afterall, VVM is my tribe! 🙂

  3. Jonathan Katz

    Paul I was truly saddened to hear you were leaving it’s going to be weird not seeing you in your doctor Suess hat running around!

    1. But Jonathan, I will be there in my hat at the mentorship meetings. Fear not! the Fun Will Go On! All that has changed is that I get to only do the work I love and I have time to pursue new entrepreneurial adventures :).

  4. Pingback: Announcing The Lean Innovation Institute | Paul G. Silva

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