Aaron Holiday, MBA ’12 Selected as Prestigious Kauffman Finalist

To seal the deal, Holiday must leverage Cornell connections to land a job in venture capital

Aaron Holiday, MBA ’12 Selected as Prestigious Kauffman Finalist

 Aaron Holiday, MBA ‘12, was selected by The Center for Venture Education to participate in the seventeenth class of the Kauffman Fellows Program – an elite and highly selective two-year apprenticeship in which participants work for leading venture capital firms across the nation. Holiday is the first student coming directly out of Cornell to receive the distinction of Kauffman Finalist since 2006. His fellow Kauffman Fellows are global executives, entrepreneurs, Rhodes Scholars, and business leaders from top universities around the world, who aim to lead the next generation of innovation in the fields of technology, life sciences, and business commercialization.

The process of becoming a Kauffman Fellow is as daunting as trying to break into the venture industry - with challenging essays, intense interviews, and an extensive match process, where participants have to secure a job in venture capital in order to secure the fellowship.  To meet the final qualification, Holiday will leverage Johnson’s highly collaborative community of alumni and fellow students throughout the match process, to ensure he secures a job at a leading venture capital firm.

Holiday came to Johnson, after working six years in New York City, where he led the creation of breakthrough financial technology for firms such as Goldman Sachs and GFI Group. He currently serves as COO of the BR Venture Fund (BRV), Cornell’s seed stage venture capital fund, where Aaron has established partnerships with leading venture capital firms, created a new deal screening process, increased the quantity and quality of deal flow (he personally sourced over 50 deals), and managed BRV’s first portfolio company IPO exit – an $801-million market capitalization that led to a 5.2x return for the Fund.

As an entrepreneur, Holiday is currently an advisor to an emerging financial technology startup that is disrupting small business financing through a movement called “community funding.” Aaron is also the co-founder of Cornell Connections Mobile, a private social mobile network that unites members of Cornell’s global entrepreneurial and venture capital communities. The application is scheduled to launch in April at the University’s Entrepreneurship @Cornell (E@C) Celebration and will be available for download onto iPhone and Android powered devices.

“When you begin to see how Aaron has impacted VC and entrepreneurship at Cornell, you know you have witnessed something very special,” said Dan Cohen, director of the eLab, Cornell University’s incubator, where Aaron has worked with 13 on-campus startups on growth, commercialization, and capital formation strategies as a fellow.  


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