The FUTRSPRT Interview Series: VentureFuel CEO Fred Schonenberg

FUTRSPRT Interview Series presents conversations with some of the sharpest minds in sports tech. Leaving no angle of competition or fan experience unscathed FUTRSPRT showcases those creating the future of sports right before our eyes.

FUTRSPRT’s Matt Bowen sat down with VentureFuel CEO Fred Schonenberg to learn more about the company that’s quietly driving the sportstech/business industry. Secret giants are the best as FUTRSPRT discovered that VentureFuel is nothing short of a mythical beast. The young company, which took flight in 2015, resides at the epicenter of industry stalwarts, fresh startups, and the VC world. VentureFuel is a supercharged spark plug capable of causing supernovas to occur in lockstep.

How Did VentureFuel Get Its Start?

FUTRSPRT would like to begin this piece by stating that there are people who dream of the future and there are people that create it.

VentureFuel CEO Fred Schonenberg is the latter. Don’t be confused, he’s definitely a dreamer, but he also has a front-row seat to the outermost fringes of the future. What he sees is a fantastical view of reality — thing is, what Schonenberg sees isn’t quite fathomable yet. It’s as if the Wizard has allowed him to peek behind the curtain as long as he interprets the realms of possibilities to the masses.

VentureFuel’s mantra is “Next is Now.” After speaking with FUTRSPRT, it’s clear that this mantra is what drives VentureFuel. It won’t become complacent with “now”, because there’s always a next.

Schonenberg’s lightbulb moment came when he was selling ads in gyms.

In an attempt to drive growth big-name clients continuously asked, “What’s next?”

Schonenberg’s curiosity had him on the lookout, but the industry had its limitations — ads were ads — rarely was there a “next.” He had a friend from high school that was at a start-up that could help with “what’s next” but had trouble getting meetings with the types of clients Schonenberg was familiar with.

That’s when it clicked.

“That’s the genesis of VentureFuel”, Schonenberg begins.

“Startups are built under the mentality of fast while corporations are “build first.”

“There’s this perception of how far away things are but they’re presently available. What is next is actually now”, Schonenberg continues.

He speaks the brutal truth here — things like 5G aren’t next, it’s now. “3D” printing — now. Teleportation? Well, that’s next, but the lines are suddenly blurred — in many forms it’s happening now.

“VentureFuel is in the business of translation. There are all of these incredibly intelligent people in the same space but they don’t speak the same language. We translate and set proper expectations.”

“Today VentureFuel is an innovation consultancy that helps corporations innovate by connecting them to startups. What’s next is now and we’re taking the now to next.”

VentureFuel is creating its very own flywheel ecosystem that gives life to innovation.



What are Some Pleasant Surprises You’ve Come Across? What Have You Learned?

“I learn every day because I’m exposed to both sides”, states Schonenberg.

“Startup founders have an intoxicating energy. On the flip side, I sit with some of the biggest corporations and see what they’re looking for. Then VentureFuel sees where the VCs are betting and where they’ll place their money.”

“I wake up every day excited because I don’t know what’s coming next. One minute I’m on a call talking robots and the next I’m talking milk.”

Schonenberg is a true entrepreneur at heart — he’s created a company where a child’s inner-imagination gets to explore wildest dreams on a daily basis.

What Tech Has You Most Curious @ This Moment?

“The future of print and packaging. I’ve seen an ink that illuminates video onto a ticket/cereal box.”

What Schonenberg is referring to is In the (very near) future imagine your ticket stub from last night’s game projecting the most memorable highlights from that event. This is what FUTRSPRT means when we indicate that Schonenberg some sort of magi sent from the future.

“We’re very curious to see new products that are sustainable and can be upcycled.”

“On another front, right now there’s a ton of focus on the downsides of digital connectedness. We’re so connected but people don’t spend quality time together. I see a change where digital events bring people closer.”

FUTRSPRT welcomes the bright side of these digital events.

In 3 Years VentureFuel Will be Known for _________?

“VentureFuel will be the seamless source between corporations and startups to innovate what’s next.”

“Startups are tired of being the petting zoo. We want to help them grow fast while aiding corporations is doing cool things.”

“We love solving problems. We want to be known as the company that can accel your growth.”

Schonenberg mentions fast growth — the company’s name is VentureFuel. The velocity at which he mentions isn’t a speed that’s easily comprehensible — it challenges the boundaries of physics.

VentureFuel is the future of innovation. It’s time to shine is now.


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