Silicon Valley venture capital firm Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield and Byers (KPCB) recently selected alumnus Kevin Gibbons as a 2015 fellow in their KPCB Fellows Program.
KPCB selected less than three percent of the 2,500 applicants from over 200 universities to be fellows in the program which aims to provide real experience with rising tech startups in Silicon Valley to top engineering students. In addition to work experience, the program also supplements events and programs led by executives from KPCB portfolio companies, including Twitter, Amazon and Google. Gibbons graduated last year from the College of Creative Studies (CCS) with a Bachelor’s degree in computer science and is now pursuing a masters degree at Stanford University.
KPCB Analyst and UC Berkeley alumnus Justin Sayarath said the goal of the KPCB program is to prepare the next generation of entrepreneurs and technical leaders for their future tech start up endeavors.
“The fellows in our program work at leading-edge startups that are tackling some of the toughest problems in all kinds of industries like healthcare, fitness, education, agriculture, communications and so much more,” Sayarath said. “On top of that they get to hear the entrepreneur stories from founders, executives from many portfolio companies and from the investing partners themselves.”
Gibbons said he is excited to begin work this summer at Shape Security, a startup founded in 2011 based out of Mountain View, California, which developed a cyber-defense product to protect websites from malware as well as bots with a unique approach to online security.
“There’s two parts of it,” Gibbons said. “One is that I’m just excited to see what other fellows are doing and talk to people who have somewhat different backgrounds.”
Gibbons said he is currently working as a teacher’s assistant in an introductory computer science class at Stanford, while also developing new tools for computer science education.
“I’m trying to help develop tools that students can use to get immediate feedback on certain types of problems that you have to deal with when you’re doing the first computer science classes,” Gibbons said.
According to Gibbons, his experience and research at CCS during his undergraduate years at the university carried over to help him with his current projects.
“I was in CCS and [they’re] really good about getting people to do research,” Gibbons said. “What I’m doing now is very closely related to what I was doing in undergrad. So I already had some experience working on these types of problems.”
According to Sayarath, KPCB fellows make connections with partners at a multitude of firms and companies.
“The fellows get exclusive access to our partners who are thought leaders in the tech industry,” Sayarath said. “Many have been C-level executives or entrepreneurs themselves at companies, and who are now focused on finding the next big thing. Fellows also get access to other portfolio companies beyond the one that they are working at, so they sort of get to explore more than just one company.”
Sayarath said the KPCB program selects applicants with the potential to thrive in Silicon Valley’s innovative and highly competitive environment.
“We look for the best and brightest,” Sayarath said. “It doesn’t mean that you need to be able to code in every language or build anything that we ask, but you need to show incredible potential. The selection committee prides itself on finding those that have the aptitude to go on to do really amazing things.”
A version of this story appeared on page 7 the Thursday, April 2, 2015 print edition.