summer fellowship


Are you an aspiring entrepreneur looking for the resources, guidance, and connections to get your venture off the ground? Lightspeed Venture Partners is offering summer fellowships to support entrepreneurship and innovation among highly motivated engineering and CS students.

Each selected team will receive $5,000 per team and $15,000 per team member, mentoring by one of Lightspeed’s investment professionals, as well as office space in Menlo Park, CA throughout the summer. Lightspeed also conducts a Venture Series “course” throughout the summer with the explicit goal of providing young founders practical knowledge on topics such as Hiring and Compensation, Venture Capital Economics, Pitching Investors, Initial Selling Strategies, and Career Advice. And finally, all Fellows are invited to join well known young founders and executives each Monday for lunch to learn about their startup experiences.

Think of it like a scholarship. We provide resources, mentors, and guidance; you pursue your venture free and unfettered. Fellows are under no obligation to Lightspeed, and Lightspeed receives no equity as part of the program.

  Application Open Application Deadline Decision Notification
Round 1 Monday, December 5 Friday, January 13 Monday, January 30
Round 2 Monday, January 16 Friday, March 17 Monday, April 3

We have instituted a rolling application process this year and hope to select over 50% of our teams from applications submitted before January 13th. We encourage you to apply early to maximize your potential of participating in our 2017 class.

2017 will be our 11th year running the program, with an alumni class of over 250 fellows. We invite all alumni back during the summer to provide mentorship.

Check out some of the companies our alumni have gone on to start:

  • code hs
  • crittercism
  • drive pulse
  • inDinero
  • lark
  • piCloud
  • pinterest
  • pulse
  • push technologies
  • pushpins
  • PeerCDN
  • sourcegraph
  • wifi slam
  • vdopia
  • vigLink


We think that the Summer Fellowship Program is pretty cool, but don’t take our word for it. Here’s what previous fellows had to say about their experience:

  • The Lightspeed program offered our team the perfect opportunity to pursue our ideas without restriction, while working closely with exceptional mentors in John, Chris and the Lightspeed team.

    Adam Suczewski
  • What an amazing summer. The incredible partners at LSVP and the lunch seminar speakers helped us overcome difficult decisions, understand how to position our company and create a product people love. It was a life-changing summer that undoubtedly shaped my career as a founder. I couldn't recommend this program more.

    Jeffrey Morgan
  • Lightspeed was an awesome experience. I got to work on my own startup full-time, got top tier mentorship, talks from fabulous speakers, and even a space to do it in! My understanding on what it actually means to build a startup is at a whole other level and I probably couldn't be better prepared for it than I am after Lightspeed.

    Jorge Pozas
  • I loved that the Summer Fellowship leveraged my team's company and growth as a platform to teach us about entrepreneurship. Thanks to John and our mentors at Lightspeed, I came in naïve with just a technical background, and I left a much more informed entrepreneur.

    Derrick Dominic
  • Lightspeed provided the perfect balance of freedom and structure. It gave us the space to run with our ideas so that we could launch our private beta this summer; we also received tremendous support from John and the LSVP team on strategic and tactical matters. John's advice is always incredibly thoughtful and it will guide us well past our experiences this summer.

    Esther Pun
  • John and Jeremy's invaluable mentorship helped us grow from being hackers to entrepreneurs. The gap between the two is large, and that transition is something that would have been much harder to navigate were it not for the summer program. This reason, along with the many other benefits of the program, and the fact that John and Jeremy are truly good people who care about your success, is why I cannot recommend Lightspeed highly enough.

    Rahul Gupta-Iwasaki
  • Lightspeed is a really unique opportunity for people who want uninterrupted time to work on a project for a summer. You can spend all your time hacking away, but I really liked how John and the rest of the team really help you balance your time best between writing code, selling, and everything else. It was a truly invaluable experience and I encourage everyone to do it.

    Adam Goldberg
  • My favorite aspect of the Lightspeed Summer program is the emphasis on the complete startup experience beyond engineering. In the midst of developing our product in a great office space, I learned a lot about sales, presentations, and leadership from the Lightspeed team and excellent guest speakers.

    Alex Popof
  • The Lightspeed summer program was a great introduction to entrepreneurship and building startups from the ground up. It is amazing that so much was accomplished in a short summer on Drive Pulse going from an idea to a product. John's excellent mentorship and being around talented entrepreneurs in a structured setting were instrumental in staying focused.

    Poorna Krishnamoorthy
  • What I like best about the program is the fact that Lightspeed didn’t at all hold our hands the entire way. While they still gave us a lot of practical advice and they gave us all the tools that we needed to succeed.

    Patrick Briggs

No Obligation, No Equity

Lightspeed is in the business of fostering entrepreneurship. We launched the Summer Fellows program in 2006 to provide students the platform they need to dedicate 100% of their time to their startup ideas. We don’t ask for equity or a right to invest; this isn’t an incubator or a formal seed program. Instead, for us it’s a privilege simply to work with such bright, energetic people at this stage in their careers. The whole team at Lightspeed is involved, we’re always tinkering to improve the format, and we look forward to expanding the program and building more relationships in years to come.

John Vrionis Partner - Lightspeed Venture Partners

The Post-doc of Summer Startup Grants

As current venture capitalists, we enjoy collaborating with young entrepreneurs and guiding them to success. That’s why we created the Summer Fellowship, now in its 10th year: to mentor talented entrepreneurs like yourself, provide an opportunity to pursue your venture idea with 100% commitment and fully experience the entrepreneurial life.

Our goal is to give you the best possible chance for success: that includes office space, financial resources, connections, and guidance from experienced professionals. What you do with the opportunity is up to you. Our only requirement is that you dedicate 10 weeks of your summer to working at our office full-time.

So you don’t have to worry about making ends meet or finding a place to work, each team receives $5,000, and each individual fellow receives $15,000 to cover living and business expenses, and all teams are given space in our Lightspeed office complex in Menlo Park, CA.

The Lightspeed family is here to help you succeed. Each team of 2 to 4 fellows is matched with 1 or 2 Lightspeed partners according to their interests. Of course, you should feel free to ask our other investment professionals for advice and guidance on whatever you may need.

Weekly speakers and angel investors are brought in to share their insights and offer further advice about the start-up experience. Many of these speakers have become advisors to teams. In addition, we’re always happy to put you in touch with anyone else who can help.

Networking at Lightspeed

Innovation is all about networking and collaboration, and at its core the Lightspeed Summer Fellowship fosters collaboration. We strive to create an environment in which you can network with the right people to collaborate as effectively as possible. The idea is to provide the connections, guidance and support you need so that you can transition into a professional entrepreneur.

Your team will be paired with 1 or 2 Lightspeed partners who work in your field. Your mentor will meet regularly with you and work as closely with you as the team and project require. The other partners at Lightspeed are also available for additional advice and guidance. Lightspeed professionals are happy to put you in touch with the lawyers, entrepreneurs, CEO’s, and investors they know can help your business grow.

We have ensured that the office space fosters collaboration among the fellows, too. Set up with office equipment, scenic views, common areas, a fully-stocked kitchen, and even a shower, the space receives lavish praise from fellows. We regularly schedule events so that fellows and Lightspeed partners can spend time together outside the office, as well.

Connecting You to the Valley

If you have questions about specific steps in the start-up process, you’ll find our (optional) series of lunch-time seminars particularly helpful. Each week portfolio company executives and functional experts—including attorneys, CFO’s, PR specialists, recruiters, and angel investors—come to the office to talk about what they do. These talks are designed to mirror the steps in the start-up process so that you make the right connections at the right time. Many of these speakers have gone on to become advisors to teams.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What does Lightspeed get out of this?

    Lightspeed gets the opportunity to work closely with outstanding young entrepreneurs. Just as universities and government agencies fund top-notch research, we have the facilities and especially the desire to support entrepreneurship and innovation. The opportunity to mentor and collaborate with students is all the incentive we need. We receive no equity, and teams are under no obligation to Lightspeed.

  2. Must an engineer (CS or EE) be on the team? Does the engineer have to be a student?

    Yes and Yes. Eligible teams must have at least one engineer who was a full-time student in the 2016-2017 academic year. Teams submitting energy-related business ideas may substitute with someone who has the relevant science background.

  3. Define ‘student’.

    The student team member must have been a full-time student at some point in the 2016-2017 academic year. People who graduated at any time in the 2016-2017 academic year ARE eligible.

  4. Are non-students eligible to receive a fellowship?

    Yes. Team members who do NOT have other full-time jobs/commitments are eligible to receive a fellowship, provided they work full-time out of the office space provided.

  5. What about international businesses?

    Yes. Lightspeed has offices in China, India and Israel. We are interested in businesses focusing on international markets. But just to be clear, those team members who win a fellowship must spend 10 weeks working out of the Menlo Park office between June 1 and September 30.

  6. What about non-technical businesses?

    Lightspeed as a firm focuses exclusively on Information Technology businesses in the Consumer and Enterprise sectors. If your business is not in these areas, we will not be able to help you to the degree we would like during the summer. We recommend you consider alternative programs.

  7. Are there any particular areas of interest that you are looking for?

    We are excited about all great technology related business ideas, but there are always special areas that we are working on in any given year. This year we are focused on the following general themes: Cloud Computing, Big Data, Mobile Applications, Social Applications, Sharing Economy, The Internet of Things, and Online Education. We specifically are NOT interested in anything Healthcare or Medically related.

  8. Do all team members have to work full-time? Can we start earlier than June 1st? Can we finish later than Sept 30th?

    All fellows must work 10 weeks full-time between June 1st and September 30; additional team members not receiving fellowships have no such requirement. We are looking for dedicated entrepreneurs who want to devote the summer to working on their idea; we do not want fellows who want to participate in the program AND another internship. As long as fellows work 10 weeks full-time during the summer timeline, they are welcome to start a few weeks early or stay into October; we do not want fellows who want to participate in the program AND another internship. The same goes for anyone who wants to participate in an alternative startup program. We encourage young entrepreneurs to try multiple programs, just not at the same time. We do not allow simultaneous participation in the Lightspeed program and other startup programs such as YC or TechStars.

  9. Can I submit more than one (1) application?


  10. How many team members per application?

    Ideally teams made up of 2 to 4 people may submit an application.

  11. Do I have to fill out the Lightspeed application or can I submit alternative materials?

    To be eligible to receive the fellowship, the Lightspeed application must be completed.

  12. If my team goes on to raise a round of funding, will Lightspeed participate?

    The LAST thing Lightspeed wants to do is create friction for any entrepreneurs who want to continue to pursue their company after the program. Lightspeed will invest a minimum of $50k in any Summer Fellowship team that continues on with a company and is able to pull together a round of at least $500k from other investors. It’s very important to understand that the Lightspeed investment is completely at the entrepreneur’s option. If you don’t want it, don’t take it. But this way, if any investor ever asks, “Is Lightspeed investing?” the answer is “Yes, if we want them to.”

Any further questions? Please contact Angi Psaros.
Also check out our blogpost: The Lightspeed Summer Fellowship Program Explained

Application Details

Eligibility: Teams of 2 to 4 people may submit proposals as a team. Each team must include at least one student (graduate or undergraduate in Engineering or Computer Science) who was a full-time student in the 2016-2017 academic year. Not all team members must work in the Menlo Park Office full-time for 10-12 weeks during the summer; however, only those members working full-time will be eligible for the fellowship.

In 2016 we received over 300 applications, representing over 100 universities. We accepted 10 teams (27 fellows) and expect to do the same this year.

Current Areas of Interest: We are excited about all great technology related business ideas, but there are always special areas that we are working on in any given year. This year we are focused on the following general themes:

  • Cloud Computing
  • Big Data
  • Mobile Applications
  • Social Applications
  • Sharing Economy
  • The Internet of Things
  • Online Education
  Application Open Application Deadline Decision Notification
Round 1 Monday, December 5 Friday, January 13 Monday, January 30
Round 2 Monday, January 16 Friday, March 17 Monday, April 3

Have any questions? Learn more about the program or check out our FAQ. Any further questions can be directed to John Vrionis at or Krish Parikh at


$15,000 / individual + $5,000 / team


  • Perks:

    Close mentoring by 1-2 Lightspeed partners + office space on Sand Hill Rd

  • Free cloud services:

    Amazon web services, Google Cloud Platform & Windows Azure

  • winners selected:

    Round 1: January 30, 2017
    Round 2: April 3, 2017
APPLY NOW ROUND 1 DEADLINE:  January 13, 2017 ROUND 2 DEADLINE:  March 17, 2017