Knowledge Capital
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Knowledge Capital

How KnowCap Plans to Mix VC with Mainstreet

Photo by Boston Public Library

The Station F Model

Station F in France has been an inspiration to us. They built a huge innovation center with multiple venture capital funds, multiple accelerators, multiple corporate offices, and many different startups. They even have a co-living space for people who just want to live, eat, and breathe venture creation!

We want to open a Station F-style innovation hub in all 50 states. In our thinking, if we accomplish this goal, we will bring VC to Main Street.

Finally, people who have been historically left out of the venture creation paradigm will have an opportunity to compete with other founders on the big stage of investing — venture capital.

The fact is, the real estate market is ready to support a shift like this. Right now, malls and historic downtowns are dying. The Covid-19 pandemic is clearly accelerating the winding down of malls as they are traditionally viewed.

This presents a unique opportunity for creative companies to access commercial real estate and adapt it to new purposes.

For example, if we can build an entrepreneurial hub within a dying mall, the Innovation Center concept will become even more interesting.

Our Plan To Rejuvenate Dying Malls

Think of Macy’s.

There are a lot (20% of it’s stores will close over the next three years) of Macy’s stores closing, and each store location is approximately 300,000 square feet.

Imagine the number of companies that can be started in that space!

For context: WeWork offices are 50 sqft and the average for commercial office is 250 sq ft. So We could fit around 800 small startups in a Macy’s…assuming 100,000 sq ft is reserved for common areas.

If we have 800 small companies in that space, working there full-time or part0time, there will be so much more foot traffic within the mall. As a result, it will rejuvenate the other stores, and some interesting concepts around restaurants could be tested (hello food incubator!!).

This is how to drive economic development and revitalize the malls that are going into disrepair.

Innovative within Small Towns

When driving through the downtown area of small cities, you can always see vacancy signs. With a brief Google search, you can see that the rent for office space is sometimes just a few hundred dollars per month.

Small town centers are ripe for a wave of innovation. Why can’t a KnowCap ecosystem be built and promise to provide a city with economic development opportunities (taxes, jobs, innovation, workforce development, and more)? We have already set up the process and infrastructure to scale to more cities and communities, the only thing preventing us is the capital to do so.

KnowCap Mainstreet

On our Roadmap for the future is KnowCap Mainstreet. A program that operates like an apprenticeship model.

We recruit talented young professionals straight out of college and relocate them to a small town. For two years, these professionals will become community members of that town. They will be helping business owners with their marketing, branding, technology, and more…their mission is to increase the economy of that town as much as possible.

Then when they have worked there for two years, we move them into our larger ecosystems. If they want to stay and continue building or launch their own ventures within the town — we’ll not only support it, we’ll invest in it.

This will kick off a flywheel of reinvestment back into the communities that KnowCap Mainstreet has partnerships with. Businesses are growing, new job creators are sprouting up, and the town thrives.

These are the kind of initiatives that our organization was designed to ideate, plan, and then implement to improve the lives of people around the planet.

Starting a company has never been easier

There are so many low-code and no-code ways of building companies now.

KnowCap can change some of these communities drastically just by giving people access to faster internet and letting them know that times have changed. Now they can use Canva and other tools and techniques to make themselves look bigger and go further.

That’s why one of the core tenants of our pitch deck is: it’s never been easier to start a company, but also never harder to grow one.

The ability to launch successful companies and sustain them has improved, which means more people are likely to be interested in founding companies. This makes our innovation hub model even more necessary and amplifies the importance of expanding VC opportunities outside of the typical image the public sees as a “founder.”

Why investors should be focusing more on smaller communities

Our goal of bringing VC to main street is not about excluding traditional VC or excluding Silicon Valley. It’s about showing investors that there are a lot more investment opportunities available. Instead of fighting over the last Series A allocation for a voice app, we can build a whole different class of startups from the earliest stages.

We recently posted about our goal to make venture capital more inclusive — KnowCap Mainstreet ties into that goal.

As a matter of fact, these investment opportunities are likely better deals for their portfolio as well. As they say, “buy low and sell high,” what can be better than getting into a company at the earliest stages with the best terms?

Our hope is that maybe, just maybe, VCs allocate the same amount of capital, if not more to underresourced or overlooked communities. Maybe it’s that they will write smaller checks, but if they get in early enough, smaller checks can generate a larger ROI. To go from investing with the mindset of one company will return the fund, to 8–10 companies would be incredible for smaller ecosystems.

We believe that we can do just that. If you are interested in joining us in our vision as an LP, click here.



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