Introducing the Summer@Highland Class of 2013!

When we opened our call for Summer@Highland applications a few months ago, the entire Highland investment team pitched in to get the word out. We came bearing pizza to almost 30 university campuses in a little over a month. We held a couple Google+ Hangouts to connect with those we couldn’t meet with in person. Nearly 900 students applied from 85 universities around the globe, and we subsequently pored over each individual application looking for the top student teams to bring into our offices this summer.

Selecting the small number of teams we can host for the summer was an enormous challenge. We were blown away by not only the amount of applications we received, but also by their caliber. The majority of teams not only have a working product, but many of them have users, partners and have achieved some insanely impressive milestones – all while being full-time students.

We ended up selecting the following nine exceptional teams from across the country (PandoDaily also wrote a nice write-up here). Please meet and congratulate the Summer@Highland Class of 2013!

Alpha (Stanford University) – Alpha is a digital university for hackers that teaches experienced developers how to build actual applications for the “real world” through project-based learning in the browser. The team is also a finalist in the BASES (Business Association of Stanford Entrepreneurial Students) 150K Challenge

Butucu (Harvard College) – Butucu, an all-freshman team, aims to help retail stores improve the customer experience by allowing them to push custom, relevant content to in-store shoppers while providing high-level analytics (Harvard Business School) – What if all your connections from Facebook, LinkedIn and Gmail were shown on a map? puts all your friends on a map so you can find people when traveling, plan events and visually explore your network. The company is co-founded by Ryan Allis, previously the co-founder and CEO of iContact (acquired by Vocus (NASDAQ: VOCS) for $169 million in 2012)

EagerPanda (MIT) – EagerPanda allows educators to easily build their own custom online courses, and enables learners to connect and communicate around this content

Phyre (Boston College) – Winner of the Boston College Venture Competition, Phyre is building a portable device that makes it easy to wirelessly connect and interact with large displays from any phone, tablet or laptop

Sension (Stanford University) – A computer vision platform that makes online content engaging for the user, Sension works with a simple webcam to let anyone make videos that respond to the viewer

Skillbridge (Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania) – Skillbridge is an online talent marketplace for businesses to find top-quality yet affordable business freelancers for short-term projects

Splat (Cornell University) – Splat is a small device that transforms a smartphone into the ultimate social-gaming console, letting users play physical, in-person, interactive video games

Technical Machine (Olin College) – Technical Machine is an embeddable platform for developers to make internet-connected physical devices

Congratulations and best of luck to each and every student who applied this year – we couldn’t be happier to now have you as an extension of the Highland family and look forward to working together in some fashion over the course of your career.

And stay tuned to this blog throughout the summer to follow the progress of the Summer@Highland Class of 2013!

- Alex Taussig, Principal, Highland Capital Partners