Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Recruiting College Entrepreneurs

While VC firms like Kleiner Perkins initiated the trend of recruiting college students to join startups through the KPCB Engineering Fellows program last year, it seems like more and more firms have recently created similar programs. A big reason for the increase in these programs is the shortage of talented developers for all the new startups that are emerging. One of the areas where VC firms look to add value is by helping recruit more talent and developers for startups. These new programs seem to be a great way to formalize the recruitment process and encourage smart and talented college students to find summer internships and full-time offers at startups.

Bain Capital Ventures recently initiated its StartUp Academy to recruit students for its portfolio companies as well. Similarly, Chicago’s own Lightbank announced earlier in the week its Lightbank Start program, which seems to combine attributes of both a startup accelerator and these other VC fellow programs.

Another program I really wish existed when I was in college is Venture for America. This is a non-profit with a similar model as Teach for America. VFA has an application process to recruit students to work at startups for two years after graduation in lower-cost cities such as Detroit and New Orleans to help create value and jobs in these cities. I really considered the TFA program my senior year, but in the end decided I wanted to accept a full-time job where I would have the opportunity to combine my interest in business and healthcare. If it would have been possible to go work for a healthcare startup through VFA for two years after graduation, I would have more than likely jumped at this opportunity.