Founded in 1988, Highland Capital Partners is a global venture capital firm focused on putting the entrepreneur first. The firm recently announced the teams selected to participate in Summer@Highland, its annual student entrepreneurship program.
In its sixth year, Summer@Highland is designed to provide student founders with the environment and resources to accelerate their startups to the next level over the summer. Those admitted into Summer@Highland receive an $18,000 stipend, a free workspace in Highland’s Boston or Silicon Valley office and are paired with a Highland investor mentor.
Nearly 900 applicants applied to Summer@Highland this year from 85 universities around the world, making this the most competitive year for the program to date. Roughly half of the submissions were for consumer internet companies, while the remainder covered fields as varied as human capital management, 3D printing and crowdfunding.
After going through an extensive review process, the firm selected the following nine teams based on their extraordinary achievements in academics, extracurricular activities and entrepreneurship:
- Alpha (Stanford University) – Alpha is a digital university for hackers that teaches experienced developers how to build actual applications for the “real world” through project-based learning in the browser. The team is also a finalist in the BASES (Business Association of Stanford Entrepreneurial Students) 150K Challenge
- Butucu ( Harvard College ) – Butucu, an all-freshman team, aims to help retail stores improve the customer experience by allowing them to push custom, relevant content to in-store shoppers while providing high-level analytics
- Connect.com (Harvard Business School) – What if all your connections from Facebook, LinkedIn and Gmail were shown on a map? Connect.com puts all your friends on a map so you can find people when traveling, plan events and visually explore your network. The company is co-founded by Ryan Allis , previously the co-founder and CEO of iContact (acquired by Vocus for $169 million in 2012)
- EagerPanda (MIT) – EagerPanda allows educators to easily build their own custom online courses, and enables learners to connect and communicate around this content
- Phyre (Boston College) – Winner of the Boston College Venture Competition, Phyre is building a portable device that makes it easy to wirelessly connect and interact with large displays from any phone, tablet or laptop
- Sension (Stanford University) – A computer vision platform that makes online content engaging for the user, Sension works with a simple webcam to let anyone make videos that respond to the viewer
- SkylBridge (Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania) – SkylBridge is an online talent marketplace for businesses to find top-quality yet affordable business freelancers for short-term projects
- Splat (Cornell University) – Splat is a small device that transforms a smartphone into the ultimate social-gaming console, letting users play physical, in-person, interactive video games
- Technical Machine (Olin College) – Technical Machine is an embeddable platform for developers to make internet-connected physical devices
“Selecting the best teams for Summer@Highland is always an enormous challenge. We were blown away by our applicants’ original thinking and ambition to solve real world problems with technology,” said Alex Taussig, an investor at Highland Capital Partners and head of the Summer@Highland program. “We worked hard to find the top student entrepreneurs from around the country and can’t wait to see what each team achieves with us over the summer.”
For more information about Summer@Highland, visit summer.hcp.com.