Summary List Placement
Not long before Dylan Field founded Figma, now a $10 billion company, he was an intern.
Well, not just any intern. He’d been handpicked by venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins as an engineering fellow at Flipboard, one of its portfolio companies.
Years later, Kleiner Perkins led the Series B round for Field’s company. And now, things are coming full circle as Figma is welcoming a Kleiner Perkins engineering fellow, MIT student Daniela Velez.
Since 2012, Kleiner Perkins’ fellows program has placed college students and recent graduates in positions at tech startups. It’s in large part a way to find up-and-coming talent for the VC firm’s portfolio companies, Alicia Lau, who runs the fellows program, told Insider. Fellows who have graduated often stay with their company for a year or longer, she said.
But the program has also become a training ground for founders of companies Kleiner Perkins has gone on to back.
In addition to Field, there’s Rajat Bhageria of Chef Robotics, whose products apply artificial intelligence and robots to food preparation. The firm has also backed Jenny Wang of re-inc, a fashion brand led by four members of the US women’s national soccer team, and Roneil Rumburg of Audius, a music streaming platform.
This summer, Kleiner Perkins is welcoming 102 new fellows. The roster is impressive: Several of them have already launched startups of their own.
Angel Onuoha, a product fellow at Hatch, cofounded BLK Capital Management, a nonprofit that trains college students in investment management. Michael Liu, a product fellow at Duolingo, took his fintech startup, Finary, through Y Combinator. And Nabeel Farooqui, an engineering fellow at Nova Credit, has even had an exit — selling his previous company, Halo, to Lyft, when he was a student at the University of Pennsylvania.
But founding a company isn’t a prerequisite, Lau said. In addition, Kleiner Perkins seeks to cast a wide net across an array of schools, not just the Harvards and Stanfords of the world (though Onuoha and Liu are from Harvard). This year’s fellows come from schools such as the University of Central Florida, Texas A&M, and University of California, Irvine.
The participating students learn from company leaders such as Tony Xu of DoorDash and Sarah Friar of Nextdoor about how to build and grow a startup. They also get instruction from Kleiner Perkins’ own investors about how to spot a startup worth backing.
Though most participants go the route of working in startups, rather than becoming investors, it’s still useful knowledge, Lau said, especially for those who go on to launch their own companies.
Those training elements, along with Kleiner Perkins’ network of tech companies, investors, and founders, are a big factor in why even students who have already launched companies have sought out the fellowship, Lau said.
“Some of them feel like they lack working with an experienced product manager or an experienced engineering leader,” she said. “But I think it’s really the lifelong community and network that’s the bigger draw for these founders.”
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Source:: Businessinsider – Tech
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