Six years ago, we started an experiment here at Highland
to see if we could find a better way to get to know the most promising
entrepreneurs at local universities. We recognized that many of the
great companies formed in the last decade or so, especially in consumer
internet, have been the creation of founders who weren’t too far out of
school. In some notable cases, they never finished.
Yet, we also recognized that many of these student-founded businesses
ran into the same problems with hiring the wrong people, building the
wrong product, or going after the wrong market. Students, almost by
definition, don’t have the benefit of hindsight to guide them to make
informed decisions. This frustrated us because we felt that our shared
knowledge of company building, garnered over the last 25 years of
Highland’s existence, could help students get to the right answer
faster, and create lasting value for their companies.
And so Summer@Highland was born. We designed it exclusively for student founders and the unique problems they face:
- Hard to find flexible sources of small amounts of capital.
We give each team an $18K stipend, no strings attached. Founders retain
ultimate flexibility with what they want to do after the program.
- Challenged to engage relevant business mentors. We actually spend time with the teams, and treat them as we would portfolio companies.
- Lack of initial business network. We bring in
top founders and CEOs and introduce them to the teams. We also open up
our personal networks to help these founders grow their businesses.
- Difficult to procure short-term office space. We open up our offices in Silicon Valley and Boston for these teams to work alongside one and other.
We are thrilled to announce that the application for Summer@Highland 2013 is now open at http://summer.hcp.com. We’re looking forward to another great year, and can’t wait to see what this year’s applicants are working on!
Alison Howard is the Director of Marketing at Highland Capital Partners. You can follow Alison (@alihoward2) by clicking here and you can follow Highland Capital Partners (@HighlandCapital) by clicking here.