10 questions for Venture Lake

Remember JumpStart?

How about AccelerateMSP?

Now there’s a new spin on the idea: Venture Lake.  Little is known about this taxpayer subsidized and politically connected nonprofit concerned with entrepreneurship in Minnesota. Considering the track record of secrecy behind these types of things, inquiring minds would like to know:

1) What is the relationship between AccelerateMSP and Venture Lake?

2) What is legal name of the entity and where are the articles of incorporation located?

3) Who are the registered owners of the organization, who is on the board?

4) For what purpose was it established?

5) Is there a connection between Venture Lake and the University of Minnesota, aside from Pamela York’s marriage to Director Jay Schrankler?

6) How much in City, State, or Federal funds have been allocated towards Venture Lake, including its predecessor AccelerateMSP?

7) What is the role/relationship between Venture Lake and the City of St. Paul, The City of Minneapolis, and the State of Minnesota — including any public offices/agents/employees affiliated?

8) How is a nonprofit such as Venture Lake entrepreneurial in nature?

9) What entrepreneurs, startups, or businesses are suggesting that Venture Lake is wanted and needed?

10) Is there anything you would like to add?

A copy of these questions have been provided to Pamela York and Tom Kieffer, the two known persons currently representing Venture Lake. Unedited responses will be posted when received.


  • Frank Jaskulke


    What has been the past taxpayer subsidization of the entities?

    It looks like JumpStart incorporated an entity in Minnesota in 2013 but AccelerateMSP and Venture Lake were not/have not incorporated. I did a quick dig through St. Paul budget documents (figuring since it was a Coleman initiative that would be the most likely source). Nothing turned up. Haven’t looked at Minneapolis or state funds yet but figured you would know what the past funding has been.


    – Frank

    • http://tech.mn Jeff Pesek

      “What has been the past taxpayer subsidization of the entities?” Good questions Frank, there are no clear answers (hence the curiosity) but what is known:

      +JumpStart = $70m in funding (55% public, 30% foundation, 15% corporate) as of 11/11.


      +AccelerateMSP = “$150k which has come from a variety of resources. A $75k grant was received from the Ford Foundation – which necessitated a 1:1 match. Other funding has come from the McKnight Foundation, GreaterMSP, the Knight Foundation the University of Minnesota, the City of St. Paul and the City of Minneapolis.” As of 4/14.


      This money seems largely allocated towards CEO Pamela York’s $120k annual or $10k/month salary for the first year (Oct-Oct). It’s unknown if AccelerateMSP has received additional state/foundation/private funding since April? The reason you didn’t find AccelerateMSP in public record is because it was setup under the University of Minnesota umbrella, who assumed the ‘fiscal agent’ role for AccelerateMSP.

      +Venture Lake = ??? AccelerateMSP CEO Pamela York is closely affiliated with Venture Lake based on communications directly from her in representing Venture Lake – which is no where to be found registered from what is currently determinable: http://mblsportal.sos.state.mn.us/Business/BusinessSearch?BusinessName=Venture%20Lake&Status=Active&Type=BeginsWith

      Is public and foundational funding in Venture Lake, directly or otherwise? Who or what owns Venture Lake? What is Venture Lake? Until we receive responses, just don’t know the best answers to these and other questions raised…

      • Frank Jaskulke


        Thanks! The money through the UofM may be findable – the U is a public institution but has some seperate rules from normal public institutions owing to its extra-constitutional status (the U existed before the state existed).

        And I wonder if it is still affiliated with JumpStart out of Ohio? They were active when the program was first being discussed but I’ve not seen them included in the discussions in 2013 or this year.

        • Billy