Wired-up computers, makeshift conference rooms and a fabled 26,000-square-foot northside Indianapolis mansion aren’t a part of the typical “camp” experience. But this summer, these pieces (along with an enthusiastic group of twelve entrepreneurs) help make up VentureCamp, a new docu-series about the (sometimes difficult) realities of entrepreneurial life.
More than 500 aspiring entrepreneurs submitted applications from across the country to participate in VentureCamp 1.0. Only 12 emerged from those 500+ and they came to the Kessler Mansion in Indianapolis armed with business ideas. Of those 12 ideas, three made the cut.
Within in eight weeks, Campers divided into three teams (based on the three start-up ideas which rose to the top) will have created companies. Each week, Campers work as companies, being presented with challenges which test their ability to work as teams. Resources and capital are limited throughout the process, mimicking the scarcity typical of a start-up environment. At the end of it all, teams pitch to investors at a series of Demo Days in order to get funded post-VentureCamp.
The entrepreneurs currently collaborating in the Kessler mansion have human resources at their disposal as well. The Campers are offered advice from nine mentors, all of whom boast extensive entrepreneurial experience. Jenny Vance (of VentureCamp company PlanSoon) says, “Having people who have been there, done that and can kind of help you kind of steer around the pitfalls before you fall face-first into them” is one of many benefits of being a Camper at VentureCamp.
VentureCamp got its start in Indianapolis, but it’s not stopping here. Camps are already lined up at other estates in the United States and Europe.