140 Student teams apply to participate in groundbreaking venture program supporting the innovators of tomorrow.
Lexington, MA & Menlo Park, CA June 21, 2007 -- Highland Capital Partners, a leading venture capital firm focused on helping great people build great companies, today announced that eight student entrepreneurial teams will be participating in the 2007 Summer@Highland program. A first-of-its-kind initiative within the venture capital industry, Summer@Highland is designed to provide university-affiliated entrepreneurs with the environment and resources for spending the summer focusing on an idea for starting a company.
"Universities offer rich environments for driving the next wave of innovation, whether that is commercialization of research or harnessing the next generation of entrepreneurial ideas," said Mark Heesen, President of the National Venture Capital Association. "Highland's unique program bridges an important gap between academia and the business world by providing a further means for preparing students to bring to market new companies that fuel job creation and America's competitiveness."
In its first year, Summer@Highland is a further continuation of Highland's long commitment in working closely with universities to help back the next generation of market innovations. Open to undergraduate and graduate students, 140 applications from across 40 universities were submitted over the two-week application period in April to participate in the initiative.
"The quality of ideas and teams far exceeded our initial expectations, especially with the tight application timeframe in the inaugural year for the program," stated Sean Dalton, Managing General Partner at Highland. "It's another great testament to the passion and interest in entrepreneurship present within universities today."
The eight selected teams will each receive a financial stipend and have the opportunity to work with the Highland investment team as they further build out their idea for developing a company. Participating teams will reside alongside other Highland-backed entrepreneurs in the Highland Entrepreneur Center, which has hosted over 40 seed and early stage initiatives since its launch in 2002.
In addition, a structured curriculum for exploring and discussing key issues relevant to the early company creation process has been developed for the participants. Scheduled sessions will involve a rich array of industry experts and focus on such topics as Building Early Teams, Validating Business Models, Go-to-Market and Sales Strategies for Startups, Protecting Intellectual Property and Financing Basics and Options. In addition, entrepreneurs that took their companies from startup through IPO - Ash Dahod (Starent Networks), Stan Lapidus (Helicos BioSciences) and Tom Stemberg (Staples) - will share lessons learned and insights with the student entrepreneurs.
"Innovation takes teamwork. Highland's new approach will help further accelerate the transfer of breakthrough innovations from comfortable labs and classrooms to the cruel crucible of the global marketplace," added Ken Morse, Senior Lecturer and Managing Director, MIT Entrepreneurship Center. "The Highland program is part of our rich, vibrant ecosystem that supports and nurtures the spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship. We are pleased to support such endeavors."