1 Million Cups is a free, weekly program that first and foremost educates, but also engages and
connects, local entrepreneurs. Developed by the Kauffman Foundation, 1MC is based on the notion that
entrepreneurs network and discover solutions over a million cups of coffee.
As an experiential learning opportunity, the 1MC format is consistent in each location:
• Every Wednesday morning, one or two early-stage startups present their companies to a diverse
audience of peers, mentors, educators, and advisors
• Prior to presenting, the founder prepares by incorporating lessons from the Kauffman Founders
School “Powerful Presentations” series, featuring Nathan Gold, a seasoned presentation coach
• Each founder presents for six minutes, followed by a 20-minute question-and-answer session with
• Afterward, each startup receives feedback via an audience survey and from their city’s local
• The culture surrounding 1MC is that of a supportive, neutral space that welcomes entrepreneurs to
be open and honest about their businesses and the challenges they face.
1MC was created at the Kauffman Foundation in 2012 to connect what was, at the time, a fragmented
Kansas City startup community. The 1MC name was inspired by an article titled “A Million Cups,” written by
Seth Kravitz, founder of Technori. The premise of the article is that true communities are built through the
meaningful interactions between people over a million cups of coffee.
1MC’s culture is that of a supportive, neutral space that welcomes entrepreneurs to be open and honest
about their businesses and the challenges they face. The program platform is not a traditional “pitch”
environment; rather, an entrepreneur makes an educational presentation to a room of individuals who can
provide constructive criticism, share experiences, and support one another as a community.