About Venture Founders
Venture Founders Encourages Startups
Since 2006, Venture Founders has been helping aspiring creators of new ventures—using my many years of experience as an entrepreneur, as an MBA entrepreneurship teacher, from working in government and as a board member of nonprofits.
Venture Founders is committed to the concept of stakeholder capitalism its many forms. If your new venture will have a strong purpose, while aiming to thrive financially and you’d appreciate short free mentoring session, do please complete the form on the home page and we can fix the way to make that happen.
On the Venture Founders website, you’ll find how-to eBooks and huge amount of helpful guidance in the Venture Founders Resource Center. Follow my blog for knowledge and interest.
About Will Keyser
Early years: My first entrepreneurial endeavor was at the age of 10, when I learned about unique value propositions and successful business models, though ignorant of the concepts for 30 years. My secondary schooling was in the UK, followed by military service as an intelligence officer. My early working life included farm laboring and bookselling. I attended universities in UK and France.
Professional life: My professional life included working in small firms, a major international management consultancy, as an intrapreneur starting a new socio-economic consulting subsidiary, as an industrial adviser in UK national economic development. My own first business (in culture change consulting), we started when I was 43 (about the average age for all startups). We sold it to our 30 employees after 11 years (for one symbolic pound sterling), and I was able to retire for the first time at 52.
Teaching: I taught new venture creation and sustainable strategy for seven years on an MBA program, and was able to retire a second time at 77. My former boss, Kate Jellema, said of me, “I know you as a caring and encouraging colleague, always with a warm word for others. I appreciate you as a scholar-practitioner, and to understand how active you are in the creative re-imagination of the business world, and how generously you share your insights and ideas with the broader community of socially-invested entrepreneurs.”
Wider experience: I have started other businesses and some failed (an example: a business to provide technology for the early, non-invasive/inexpensive diagnosis of diseases of aging stemming from inflammation, including Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and AMD). I served on the boards of many nonprofits (employers’ organization, professional institutes, cultural & sports associations, retail food coop, local radio station and others), was on the board of a regional venture capital firm, and have volunteered in community justice, homeless shelter…
Mentoring entrepreneurs: Over many years, I have mentored students before and after graduation (20+ firms and nonprofits started during my college teaching), as well as many people starting their own companies on both sides of the Atlantic. Right now, as well as maintaining venturefounders.com, mentoring budding entrepreneurs, I am the Project Mentor to the Institute of Entrepreneurial Development in Botswana, in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Will is brilliant and has so much to offer. He knows this material through and through, AND he wants YOU to figure out how to interact with it in your own way.
Will draws effectively on his many years of business experience to illustrate concepts with specific examples. He provides only loose structure, challenging students to step into the role of entrepreneur and tackle the hard work of prioritizing and project management.
Will has been doing strategy work longer than I’ve been alive. He loves sharing his wealth of knowledge and experience and isn’t afraid to call it like he sees it. He’s passionate about startups and the power for business to create change for good
Will demands a lot from his students – he expects us to not only learn the material and deliver on assignments, but to fully embody the trials and triumphs of entrepreneurship. His class fosters creativity which encourages us to stretch outside of our comfort zones for a dynamic learning environment. Will is a tough prof with a lot of heart.
Experience With Clients
“Will has created detailed business plans on two start up companies associated with my core real estate development business. He jumps in and educates himself on all aspect of the new business and when he handed me the finished product, there were no details left out. Starting with an overview of the industry, who the competition is, the market potential, governance issues and requirements, the pros of moving forward, financial models, con’s and risks, and more. He has been able to listen to me verbalize new idea’s and concepts and then put them into words in a way investors and bankers understand. Will is a champ!”
Terry Ward, CEO of Indigo Fields Group Terry Ward, CEO, Indigo Fields Group
Read their full story on their site
When Ryan Hurley first approached me, the business was envisioned as something much more complex and grandiose, including a hotel. As our discussions evolved, it became clear that the question was, how small can we start?’, rather than ‘how big?’ He and his wife, Nadira, finally opened Vert & Vogue, their green fashion boutique in Durham, NC. Now the business has expanded to include an online store and last year they moved to a better downtown location, that also presents women’s and lifestyle/home goods. Now a certified B Corporation, V&V really shows how its founders have brought their dream to life. It may ultimately grow into the original vision several years later!
Ryan and Nadira Hurley, founders of Vert&Vogue.
I worked with Tess O’Brien, founder of CPP, from the first sparkle of the business twinkle in her eye, to inception and launch, a long hard road to establishing an online rewards program for the clean energy business. Tess is a renewable energy marketing and communications professional experienced in both consumer and commercial and institutional markets. Before launching CleanPowerPerks, she served as Director of Marketing for a leading renewable energy company. She has now moved on to be part of the executive team at Energy Sage, a company on a mission to make going solar as easy as booking a flight online. She is VP Strategic Partnerships.
Tess O’Brien, VP Strategic Partners, Energy Sage