When we started the Kleiner Perkins Fellows program six years ago to connect young, talented people with future opportunities in Silicon Valley, little did we know that it would become a 500 strong community of incredible engineers, designers, product managers, and founders. We are honored that the program has been recognized as the #2 internship program in the country by Vault.com. We're even more excited about the future of KP Fellows and are proud to announce today dedicated Seed funding for our Fellows.
Growing a Diverse Talent Pool
Fellows was started in 2012 to seek out the best and the brightest undergraduates from a range of leading universities across the country and place them in internship roles at the most disruptive companies in Silicon Valley. In the first year, we had 30 students from 13 schools such as Harvard, MIT, and Princeton placed at companies that included Zynga, Flipboard, and Nest. Today, the program has grown to 76 students from across 43 colleges and universities.
With three program tracks - Engineering, Product, and Design - the Fellows team matches students to handpicked, high-growth portfolio companies. Additionally, Fellows gain exclusive access to events and programming with the partners at Kleiner Perkins, CEOs and executives across a variety of our portfolio companies.
* Source: www.kleinerperkins.com/diversity.
Throughout the years, it became clear that the Fellows program can be a way to address the lack of diversity in technology and the Fellows team has been actively working on this. When Fellows first began, there was 7% female representation and 0% Black and Hispanic representation. Today, the program has nearly 50% women, 9% Black, and 8% Hispanic representation. These are the future faces of the technology industry and we will continue improving the diversity of the Fellows classes.
* Source: www.kleinerperkins.com/diversity. Percentages are based on those who responded, self-identified. This is not based on EEO-1 reports; however, ethnicity refers to the EEO-1 categories which we know are imperfect categorizations of race and ethnicity, but reflect the U.S. government reporting requirements.
More Than Just An Internship
“The Fellows program is more than just an internship program - it’s harder to get into than Harvard with a less than 3% acceptance rate. Our Fellows have an extraordinary opportunity to learn and grow, and get in on the ground floor of a high-growth, high-potential company.” – John Doerr, Chairman, Kleiner Perkins
Kleiner Perkins Fellows is more than the run-of-the-mill internship program. It is a community of individuals dedicated to building a brighter future in technology, engineering, and design. Since its inception, we’ve also seen the Fellows program further inspire a passion for entrepreneurship. Rebecca Lee, a 2018 Engineering Fellow at Nextdoor shared:
“Because of the KP Fellows program, I am more inspired than ever to make a difference in the world and use the vast amount of resources that we are now equipped with. I plan on starting my first company before I graduate, and this summer I encountered a lot of potential co-founders who can help me actualize my goals.”
Rebecca is just one of many examples reflecting the long-term impact of the program. In fact, today, out of graduated Fellow classes, 10% have gone on to start their own companies.
We’re proud to work alongside a group of leading partners - like Uber, Airbnb, Pinterest, and Robinhood - who share the same passion for opening their doors to top students from around the country. To date, more than 53% have joined a Kleiner Perkins portfolio company.
Slack is among the 30 companies who participate in the program each year. This summer, Fellows were hosted at Slack’s headquarters in San Francisco where they attended a fireside chat with CEO and co-founder Stewart Butterfield who reflected on his experience as a founder, the opportunities within entrepreneurship, and the importance of building strong teams.
Investing in the Future
The Fellows program is committed to building a community of entrepreneurs with bold ideas. We are still in the early stages of this virtuous cycle, having invested over $15 million to date in companies started by KP Fellows like Roneil Rumburg, CTO and co-founder of Audius (Class of 2013), and Dylan Field, CEO and co-founder of Figma (Class of 2012). Dylan notes:
“The inspiration, connections, and advice provided by the KP Fellows was invaluable as I started Figma. But my favorite part of the Fellowship was the community that formed around it. Many of the Fellows in my class have also gone on to start companies; with $100K in seed capital, I can't wait to see what the next generation of Fellows will create!"
Today, we’re excited to announce we’re doubling down on this unique group of individuals involved with the program. Through a rigorous application process, Fellows who have graduated and go on to found their own companies will have the opportunity to receive $100,000 in Seed funding from Kleiner Perkins to take their company to the next level. The partners at Kleiner Perkins will work closely with funded companies to mentor these emerging founders and help them make history with their bold ideas.
We’re excited for future Fellows and look forward to seeing the program continue to be a powerful contributor of diverse talent in the start-up community.
Learn how you can join the 2019 class of Kleiner Perkins Fellows here.