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Highland Capital Partners is a 28-year-old global venture capital firm with offices in Palo Alto, Boston, Geneva, London, and Shanghai. We have invested in nearly 400 companies across both consumer and enterprise technology and are often the first institutional partner for the entrepreneurs we back. Our recent investments include 2U (NASDAQ: TWOU), Aviate (acq by Yahoo!), Bit9, Bitnet, Enjoy, Gigamon (NASDAQ: GIMO), Handy, Harry's, Jaunt, Malwarebytes, Qihoo 360 (NYSE: QIHU), Rent The Runway, Rethink Robotics, Shift Cars, SmartThings (acq. by Samsung), thredUP, VMTurbo, and WePay.



What financial support do we get from Highland? What is the structure?

Highland will invest $20k in each selected team’s company. In an effort to use a standard and straightforward structure, we provide this capital via an uncapped convertible instrument modeled after the Simple Agreement for Future Equity (SAFE) financing documents. In addition, Highland will have the option to invest up to $250k in the first $1M you raise in excess of the aforementioned $20k note. We want to be able to support our teams beyond the summer, especially those who decide to continue down the track of building significant companies (and many do!).

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 with the other team members. In addition, we like to see that the team's demonstrated skills are closely aligned with the demands of the summer project.

We also seek applications that address significant pain points in large, growing markets. Ideally, the solution suggested involves software, or maybe cheap hardware. Ideally, we would like to see some traction (e.g. prototypes, user interviews, market research, etc.), but do not require any specific level of product maturity. We simply want to see that you've made 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.