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Lightspeed is excited to announce that we are now accepting applications for our Summer Fellowship Program. The program is designed to be a unique opportunity for student led teams to spend the summer experiencing what it is like to build a company with resources, mentorship and guidance from our team.

We started the program 7 years ago because we wanted to provide an opportunity for entrepreneurial students to fully experience start-up life but still get paid what they would at a top internship ($10,000 per team member and $5,000 for discretionary usage). Many of the Lightspeed professionals (as well as our classmates) took on internships during the summers in order to pay the bills (rent, gas, beer…) and only had time to work on our startup ideas on nights and weekends. After joining Lightspeed in 2006 and realizing that we had the resources to support some idea-stage projects, I put together the Summer Program and opened it up to student led teams.

To be clear, the Lightspeed Summer Program is NOT an incubator, nor was it ever intended to be. We are NOT looking to fund companies out of the program. Many people ask me why a student needs to be involved; the answer is that we want to give young, entrepreneurial minded people a viable alternative to the traditional summer internship.

I know from personal experience just how hard starting a company can be. It’s a BIG decision to tackle early in your professional career. We give fellows a chance to work fulltime on their ideas with some basic support. Many fellows finish the summer realizing they want to be entrepreneurs but not yet. Others have gone on to launch their companies or start new ones (Pinterest, Pulse, Lark, etc).

Regardless of what decisions our fellows make at the end of the summer, we hope they ALL learn something about:
• The joys and pains of designing and building an initial product
• The key issues to think about when raising capital and how to present to investors
• The critical qualities needed in co-founders

More details about the program specifics are included in this blog post I wrote last year, and all the details of the program are here http://lsvp.com/summer-fellowships/

>The application deadline is March 22, 2013 so get them in! We’ll begin contacting the selected teams in late April. The application is available here.

Follow me on Twitter @jvrionis or @lightspeedvp