Matt Harris at Village Ventures

By Janet Feldstein, John Glynn Jr.
2002 | Case No. E106A

The case introduced Matt Harris, the young (28 years old) co-founder and CEO of Village Ventures (VVI), a venture capital company. VVI is “ a vehicle for inventing in high growth companies located in high potential markets that are rich in intellectual capital but overlooked by traditional venture capital.” Harris and his partner, former residents of small-town Massachusetts conceived of VVI’s investment model to stimulate growth in Williamstown, Massachusetts and other small towns across the country. According to the VVI model, one large fund was raised by VVI, Harris then established small local funds in a number of small towns. The local funds raise their own capital and receive a co-investment from VVI; in addition, Harris and VVI provide investing guidance and administrative and support services to the funds. The case addresses the “what now” situation for Harris just after he has raised a second round (of $50 million): Should Harris continue with this model? Should he grow quickly, opening new funds across the country or focus on slower growth with more involvement and support of the existing funds? The case also asks students to evaluate the VVI model overall, from various view points (including investors, entrepreneurs, Harris, and his Board.)

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