The below recap on Jim Cash’s session is courtesy of Connor McEwen of Webcred:

We had the pleasure of listening to Dr. Jim Cash speak about his experience as an entrepreneur, professor, and board member. The entire session was full of great information, but there were a few things that really stuck out to me.

I’ve heard multiple people speak about advice. They always say, “People are going to give you a ton of advice, but in the end, the decision is up to you.” Dr. Cash gave us a bit of a different spin, telling us to first figure out if the person telling you to do something has actually done that thing themselves. If your English professor is giving you advice about which string searching algorithm to use, you should probably weigh it very lightly as compared to a string searching algorithm Peter Norvig recommends.

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The Boston Globe featured Summer@HIGHLAND in a profile on “cool summer internships” for students across Boston.  Summer@HIGHLAND is a bit different that corporate internships and it was really viewed in the spirit of the closest thing to an “internship” for entrepreneurs that were further building their startups. Team Wellframe is highlighted in the picture and the online article can be found here.

Jacob Sattelmair and his partners worked on a mobile application that helps heart attack victims navigate and monitor their recoveries.

Why intern for somebody else’s company when you can start your own?

That’s the idea behind Summer@Highland, a program by Cambridge venture capital firm Highland Capital Partners, which gives student entrepreneurs free office space, expert guidance, and $15,000 cash — all with no strings attached.

The program, launched in 2007, has already hatched several successful companies, including Boston online custom jewelry maker Gemvara,which recently raked in $25 million during a round of fund-raising that ended last month.

Summer@Highland is open to undergraduates, graduate students, and recent graduates. This year, 257 teams from across the country applied for 14 spots. The winning teams operate out of Highland’s Cambridge and California offices for 10 weeks, developing their businesses while making connections with chief executives, founders, and venture capitalists brought in by Highland to give presentations and chat with students.

This summer, interns at Highland’s Cambridge office are working on a variety of projects, including a headband by a team called Axio that reads users’ brain waves and sends a visual representation of the data to a screen. Another team is writing software that would help build trust between strangers online who want to swap houses or carpool.

The latter project is the brainchild of Boston University juniors Nam Chu Hoai and Connor McEwan, both 20. Their idea, called Webcred, is to give users a universal online login that can take “trust” earned on any website — a positive buyer rating on eBay, for example — and display their trustworthiness wherever they go online.

Hoai and McEwan met as freshmen when they were assigned as roommates. Now they’re running a company, something that has proved more difficult than anticipated. In part, that’s because their idea has both technical and business obstacles to overcome, such as winning over websites that could benefit from the product.

“We’re sleeping in the office half of the nights. It’s frustrating at times,” Hoai said. “You have to be somewhat crazy to do this.”

Highland vice president Michael Gaiss says the company is looking for interns with passion, natural leadership qualities, and a history of entrepreneurship that might stretch back to childhood lemonade stands.

“I know they can go take more lucrative summer internships from Microsoft or Facebook,” said Gaiss, “so we’re really looking for those who want to forgo the more secure opportunities in order to change the world with their visions.”

Many of the business ideas will fail, Gaiss said, but that’s OK, too.

“Sometimes the best answer is, ‘This isn’t really going to take off,’ ” Gaiss said. “We’re helping smart people think through things.”

All good things must sadly start to come to an end.  For this year’s Summer@HIGHLAND program, it’s beginning with the departure of Team Webcred.  As they in particular would appreciate it given their software prowess, it happened to adhere to FIFO – (First In, First Out).  Connor & Nam were the first team to arrive back on May 25th, fresh off of completing their sophomore years at Boston University.  They jetted off to Europe last night and we wish them all the best in the coming weeks and years as they continue to build out Webcred and pursue their entrepreneurial dreams.

The Brothersport Games work area out in Menlo Park is well optimized for collaboration and team productivity.  That  being said, some may even call it a little messy.  On the latter point, how does that compare to the now legendary London Conference Room in Cambridge that houses Axio, CareDojo and Webcred? Well we shared the pic with some of the residents.  As one put it: “lol they got nothing on us.”  And another more succinctly: “The London is more than just a messy room… it’s a state of mind.”

The Brothersport Games work area out in Menlo Park is well optimized for collaboration and team productivity.  That  being said, some may even call it a little messy.  On the latter point, how does that compare to the now legendary London Conference Room in Cambridge that houses Axio, CareDojo and Webcred? Well we shared the pic with some of the residents.  As one put it: “lol they got nothing on us.”  And another more succinctly: “The London is more than just a messy room… it’s a state of mind.”


Robbie Greenglass of Highland played a huge part in helping to make the Summer program in Cambridge a success.  From reviewing & vetting applications, working closely with teams throughout the summer, getting to know them better socially (those Monopoly games will be remembered for a long time), and being involved in so many of our events & activities, he was instrumental part of the experience.  Robbie took a moment to reflect on the summer below:

"Back in April, I walked in to a meeting at Highland after watching about 100 video submissions for our Summer@Highland program. With close to 300 applicants in total, we needed to split up the batch and start narrowing down the list to a handful of teams that are going to become our office mates for Summer. Having virtually met each team for only 3 or 4 minutes in a video, I had no idea what to expect when the summer actually started. Every summer has its surprises (like last summer when I got 11 people stuck in an elevator in NYC for over an hour), highs, lows, and most of all, an amazing amount of energy injected into Highland’s offices. While we had moved into our new Cambridge office last October, this summer was our first program in the new office. And at least for me, it was an amazing one!

From Day 1, Highland was transformed by the new members of our family. Our relatively quiet office in Kendall Square was turned into a co-working space with some incredibly bright new minds. The lights of the 16th floor stayed on much later into the night than usual…  For me, I got the chance to work with almost all of the teams here in Cambridge (those Handybook guys were always on the phone when I tried to stop by). And it has been one of the best experiences I have had so far at Highland.

I would usually take a stroll to see the teams a few times a week to see how everyone was doing. Here is the usual landscape: Our London Conference room was home to three teams. From team Webcred, Nam would usually be asleep on the air mattress (with JetBlue eye mask on), Connor in a daze because he was up all night teaching his college classmates how to code so they could come work for him.  Arye and Laura would be packing up their silver briefcase with Axio headbands to go demo their concentration monitoring device, all garbed out in Axio t-shirts and hoodies. Ilya would always be stressing that the Home Care space has way too much regulation in place, and Faheem, well, who knew where the hell Faheem was! 

Walking down the hall, we would get to the usually dark office of Team Wellframe. However, the darkness was not for lack of people in the office. These guys get the award for most all-nighters. And I am sure that will not be the only award these guys ever get as Jake, Trishan, Vinnie and Archit are about to hit the hospital market by storm with their new Cardiac rehab app.

Stepping out of the darkness and walking a little further down hall we would get to MyBetterFit. Ahh MyBetterFit. These guys really liked to redecorate their office. One day, a new couch appeared! Then, a second bean bag chair! And while there was sometimes the misunderstanding of what “This food is for Highland Partners Only” signs meant, MBF was hard at work building a next gen application for women choosing birth control (and if you ever need to find the good kind of Pop Chips or Pirates Booty, they would be hidden somewhere in their office).

Finally, we get to Handybook. As I said before, they were always on the phone! So, I never got to say hi. But they have an impressive amount of sticky notes on the glass door. So they got that going for them, which is nice.

The Summer@Highland teams turned our office into a bee hive of activity. With speakers in throughout the summer, trips to Martha’s Vineyard, late night games of Monopoly (Arye, don’t forget that I have future monopoly deals with you), and a lot of laughs, it was an amazing experience for me. It has truly been a pleasure to meet and work with every one of these teams. They are all an impressive group of entrepreneurs, and I only hope that our paths continue to cross. For me, the 100 days of summer flew by way too fast. I wish we could start all over again!”