How to Hack Your KPCB Fellows Application

We just wrapped up our 2015 KPCB Fellows Program and it was an incredible summer! Our Fellows hacked together mobile products to support girls and women worldwide at the CHIMEHACK hackathon, discussed the state of the Internet with Mary Meeker, sailed the San Francisco Bay and learned from top executives from companies like Uber, Flipboard and Coursera.

As you can see, we’ve come a long way. We’re looking to grow our family just a little bit more with the 2016 class of Fellows as the application period opens Oct. 1. So I’m here to share four tips to hack your way into the KPCB Fellows program:

Know the selection process. Knowledge about how the selection process works will bring you one step closer to becoming a Fellow. The FAQ gives a thorough overview of how the application process works from screening to semi-final interviews to the mutual matching process in the final round. It also answers any questions you may have about deadlines, eligibility and compensation.

Start well before the application process even begins. The application process is focused on evaluating what you can do, how you do it and how big you can dream. In other words, technical brilliance, teamwork mentality and a passion for having meaningful impact in your work. Side projects are key, as we love to see learning outside the classroom.

  • We’ve had Engineering Fellow candidates who have attended or held hackathons, worked as a teaching assistant or volunteered to teach CS fundamentals to high-school students. Some applicants have competed in top coder or hacked on a side project and proudly displayed it on github.
  • Potential Design Fellows have learned how to code so that they can thoughtfully craft their portfolios. They’ve taken Coursera courses on interaction design or expanded their design abilities by taking up photography, painting or improv comedy. Some have done pro-bono design work to hone their design abilities.
  • Product Fellow applicants have also participated in hackathons, taken extra courses in engineering and design. Some have organized volunteer efforts overseas. Others have penned a thoughtful blog post about how a product took their breath away.

Participate in the Fellows challenge at a hackathon. If you’re intent on becoming a Fellow, here’s a little secret: Winners of one of our #BuildforGood challenges at a collegiate hackathon automatically get an interview. There’s more information here

Do the challenge question. The questions are optional, but the application process is competitive, so any extra color on how you think and who you are as an engineer/designer/product manager will go a long way. Engineering applicants are presented with a coding challenge. Design candidates can redesign a KPCB company product. Product applicants tell us about a product they love in blog or video form. Let us know who you are!

We’ve heard it over and over again – the Fellows Program offers a unique opportunity that’s different from a standard internship. Not only do you get the benefit of working at a Silicon Valley startup with an all-star mentor, but you also have access to partners at KPCB and executives at amazing tech companies outside of the one where you’ll work. You get to hear their stories, ask them your questions and, best of all, meet other exceptional Fellows like yourself.

While our program is relatively young, over the years we’ve welcomed over 250 of the nation’s best students into our program. Sign up and go for it! We’re eager to meet you.