Charlotte Angel Connection: Episode 013 with Venture for America Fellows, Niki Chimburg and Natalie Vick

In today’s session, we interviewed two very impressive recent college graduates who are working with startups in Charlotte as part of the Venture for America program (www.ventureforamerica.org).

If you are not familiar with Venture for America, be prepared to become educated on this fast growing initiative across the country with a growing presence in Charlotte.  Today you will learn how this impressive set of college graduates are and will continue to shape Charlotte’s future.

Niki Chimburg just wrapped up her two year stint with Versame and Natalie Vick is just starting her second year with DealCloud.  I’ve wanted to interview VFA candidates for the last couple of months and Niki and Natalie were gracious enough to join me for what turned out to be a nearly 50 minute recorded session.  Rather than doing an hour long podcast, I’ve broken this down into a two part series with each being under 30 minutes.

Niki has always known she wanted to start something.  She’s been collecting ideas for companies and has an ‘idea book’ with over 175 ideas.  Now she’s ready to start using what she learned in her two year internship with Versame (www.versame.com), under the leadership of local entrepreneurs and brothers Jon and Chris Boggiano, to start her own company.  Versame makes wearable technology for early education and is located up in Davidson is great startup with offices in Davidson and Menlo Park, CA (Jon Boggiano was interviewed on Episode 003 of the Charlotte Angel Connection).

Natalie, on the other hand, didn’t immediately gravitate towards entrepreneurship but found her path during her time at school.  She’s been with DealCloud (www.dealcloud.com) who is a CRM, deal management and business development for principal investing and M&A professionals.  She’ll eventually strike out on her own too but right now she’s still learning and growing under the guidance of a great, maturing Charlotte startup built by Rob Cummings and Ben Harrison (Rob was Episode 008 on the Charlotte Angel Connection)

Things we discussed in today’s podcast:

  • What is the process to become a VFA Fellow?
  • What’s the dinner conversation like when you break the news to your parents that you are going to take the entrepreneurship program through VFA?
  • What were their expectations of working for startups versus what has been the reality?
  • What’s the network of VFA? What are the benefits of the network?

What’s up next in the second part of this series?  You’ll have to listen in to find out what their plans are next, how VFA supports the fellows in their own startup ideas, what’s the benefit for the companies they work for, and other questions.

Hope you enjoy Part I of this two part series!