Calling all student founders.

$18K. Free office space. Mentorship. No strings attached.

Learn more Applications for the 2013 class are now closed. See you next year!

Past Speakers


Summer '07 Raised $45M in funding
The Summer@Highland program helped us take an idea in our dorm rooms to a viable business model. We've been lucky to have Highland participate in every financing since then and be there for valuable advice, connections, and support along the way.
Matt Lauzon, Co-founder & Chairman (Babson College '07)
Summer '08 Acquired by Google '12
The fact that we were able to spend time with senior partners was absolutely incredible.
Victoria Ransom, Co-founder & CEO (Macalester College '99, Harvard Business School '08)
Summer '09 Acquired by Oracle '11
We had a great time at Highland. The mentorship, speaker series, and connections were top-notch.
Jeff Arnold, Co-founder & CEO (MIT '07/'08)
Summer '11 Y Combinator '11
We did Summer@Highland and Y Combinator and found the two programs extremely complementary. The close mentorship from the Highland team was especially valuable. Being at Stanford, we had access to a number of different support sources, but Highland stood out by providing both exceptional deep product insight and great general advice.
Shazad Mohamed, Co-founder (Stanford University '11)
Summer '09 Raised $22M in funding
A terrific opportunity to gain feedback from Highland and find the partners and team members critical to building our business.
Michelle Zatlyn, Co-founder & President (McGill University '01, Harvard Business School '09)
Summer '12 Acquired by Dropbox '12
The guidance and advice we got at Highland was fantastic. It helped us turn our grad school research into a consumer product.
Peter Welinder, Co-founder (Imperial College London '07, CalTech '12)

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you tell me more about Highland Capital Partners?

Founded in 1988, Highland Capital Partners is a global venture capital firm focused on putting the entrepreneur first. With offices in Silicon Valley, Boston, and Shanghai, Highland has raised over $3 billion in committed capital and invested in more than 225 companies across consumer and enterprise technology. Current and former investments include 2U, Aereo, Bit9, Bromium, Calxeda, Gigamon, Leap Motion, LevelUp, Lycos, MapQuest, Nebula, QD Vision, Qihoo 360, Quattro Wireless, RentJuice, Rent The Runway, Rethink Robotics, Sybase, Violin Memory, Vistaprint and WePay.

What do you look for in an application?

First and foremost, we look for evidence of an exceptionally strong team. We like to see a standout academic/extracurricular track record, and some degree of working history amongst team members. In addition, the team's demonstrated skills should be closely aligned with the demands of the summer project.

We also favor applications that address significant pain points in large, growing markets. The solution suggested should involve software, or perhaps cheap hardware. Ideally, we would like to see some traction (e.g. prototypes, user interviews, market research, etc.), but we do not require any specific level of product maturity. We simply want to see some preliminary effort to validate your assumptions.

Finally, we look for plans of action that are practically achievable over the summer. That does not mean you'll build the next Google in 10 weeks, but that you can validate a few key business model or technical assumptions by the end of our program.

What is the stipend for the summer? How is it structured?

Each selected team will receive $18,000 as a stipend to cover the costs of running its business over the summer. It is not an equity investment, so teams have no obligation to Highland whatsoever in connection with this stipend. Participating teams are required to provide a completed W-9 form (Request for Taxpayer Identification Number and Certification).

What time commitment is required of my team?

We require all teams to work full-time for a continuous period of 10 weeks between June 1st, 2013 and August 31st, 2013. All teams must reside in the office space provided free of charge by Highland in Boston or Silicon Valley.

What are the application deadlines?

Summer@Highland has two application deadlines: Early (March 3, 2012 at 11:59pm PST) and Regular (April 1, 2012 at 11:59pm PST). The advantage of applying Early is that we will make a few offers from this batch, so you’ll get in ahead of the pack.

If for some reason your team is not selected Early, fear not. Your application will automatically roll into our Regular review process.

What does the application consist of?

The application has three main parts:
  1. Team

    We request that each team member provide basic contact info, as well as at least one personal URL (e.g. LinkedIn, personal homepage, etc.). You can also attach a resume, if that’s more your style.

  2. Letters of reference

    We require two letters of reference per team. You should pick references that actually know you as entrepreneurs, technologists, business people, or (ideally) all of the above. It’s very important to get these in by the appropriate deadline. We will not review incomplete applications.

  3. Business description

    We ask you to describe your business in 140 characters or less and upload a two minute video on YouTube or Vimeo answering the following questions:

    • What problem are you solving, and why is it important to solve?
    • How did your team come together to solve this problem?
    • What do you hope to accomplish by the end of summer?

    Videos must feature every team member. We want to see your smiling faces too, so if you do a screencast, don’t make it the majority of the video. If you wish to include a supplemental screencast video, there’s room for that in the application too. Finally, do not password-protect your video, as it interferes with our ability to screen them efficiently. Instead, make the URL private and non-searchable.

How big (or small) should teams be?

Most teams are 2-3 people full-time. We require at least two co-founders, and no more than five. We will consider making case-by-case exceptions to the latter criterion, but would generally advise against having a large founding team.

How many team members must be current students to qualify?

We require at least one full-time team member to be a current student, or to have graduated no earlier than December 2012. Interns don’t count, and we would rather see more than fewer students on a given team. We refer to this rule in the application as our “university requirement.”

Can I participate in another accelerator like Y Combinator simultaneously?

Yes. Several of our recent teams have done Y Combinator simultaneously and found the programs to be complementary. We do require, however, that your team spend the majority of its work week in our office space, which is provided to you free of charge.

What happens to my application after it’s submitted? How long until I hear from you?

We take the application review process very seriously at Highland. Each application is evaluated by at least two members of the Highland team before we decide to pass or move it forward. You will typically hear from us within two weeks of a given deadline, although that can get stretched depending on application volume. If you have a pressing need to hear from us in a quicker timeframe, please email us at, and we will do our best to accommodate your needs.

Is there some sort of Demo Day at the end of the summer?

Sort of. We don’t call it a Demo Day because the expectation is not that you need to raise money at the end of the summer. We do, however, have a Presentation Day, where you share what you’ve accomplished and learned with your fellow team members. We think this helps with accountability and community building amongst the teams.

What typically happens to teams after the summer is over?

Some teams continue on to raise venture capital and build their businesses. Others get acquired. Still others end up shutting down and going back to school or joining the workforce.

What does Highland get out of this?

Highland does not invest in any companies through Summer@Highland, so you may wonder why we continue to put so much effort into it year after year. The answer is straightforward: we want to work with the next decade’s most impactful entrepreneurs, and we like to start working with you early on, at the beginning of your career. If you decide to continue on or start a new company after school, we hope we’re the first ones you call because of the lasting relationship we’ve built over the summer.

Has Highland ever invested in a Summer@Highland company?

Yes, we have. Our portfolio companies Gemvara, Handybook, and a few others started in Summer@Highland. Some alumni have raised capital from other notable angels and venture firms, as well. That’s all ok with us. We think it speaks to the true flexibility you have as a participant in Summer@Highland.