It was a beautiful Boston afternoon for our annual Strawberry Shortcake Social. We owe many of these traditions to Susan, our receptionist, who looks after us as superbly well as she does our guests. The gathering also served as a nice send-off for Team Axio before their flight to San Fran for a big week out in Silicon Valley. Mark (far right; member of our IT team), looks to be carefully eyeing up the bowl of strawberries and debating whether to go for seconds. Can’t say we blame him - it was delicious.

It was a beautiful Boston afternoon for our annual Strawberry Shortcake Social. We owe many of these traditions to Susan, our receptionist, who looks after us as superbly well as she does our guests. The gathering also served as a nice send-off for Team Axio before their flight to San Fran for a big week out in Silicon Valley. Mark (far right; member of our IT team), looks to be carefully eyeing up the bowl of strawberries and debating whether to go for seconds. Can’t say we blame him - it was delicious.

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.”

Thanks to the Wellframe team for pulling together the below recap from our visit to Martha’s Vineyard last week.  We’ve also posted some additional photos from the trip here (including a pretty funny one of Nam).
Last Wednesday, the East coast Summer@Highland teams met up early at 9am to visit Bob Higgins at Martha’s Vineyard for the day. After driving to Cape Cod, we hopped on a ferry to Martha’s Vineyard. When we arrived at the Martha’s Vineyard docks, Bob Higgins greeted our group and generously treated us to lunch at the Atlantic in Edgartown. Over a cool seafood lunch in the New England sun, Bob educated us about the history of the island and entertained us with stories of his interactions with President Obama, Governor Romney, and others. 
After lunch, we toured the island before making our way to Bob’s house. There we received a warm greeting from his family and were immediately made to feel at home. While hanging out at his house, most of the teams’ attention immediately turned to Bob’s pool. Soon after, all the teams, as well as Bob, Robbie, and Mike jumped into the perfectly heated pool and enjoyed the hot summer day over a game of catch.
After drying up, we were met by Bob’s friends: Bill Foster, Jim Sims, and Paul Severino - all preeminent entrepreneurs from the Boston tech scene and also Bob’s golfing buddies.
Bill, Jim, and Paul spent a fair amount of time discussing companies - their own and others of interest. This gave us some insight into not only how legendary entrepreneurs and investors think about the world but also about how business is about relationships and how, like golf, you need to think about the long game as well as the short game. These entrepreneurs, in many instances, took on big time companies (like IBM and Cisco), and were able to capture or create very large markets - it was clear that to be very successful you need to tackle big problems for big markets - be ambitious in this way. The camaraderie and mutual respect among the group of CEOs was palpable - there was clearly a shared experience around which these men have cultivated and maintained a bond of friendship over decades.  
In addition, Pete’s and Bill’s experience of building computers and networking technology for enterprise in the 80’s was amazing. With the acuity benefits of hindsight it seems obvious that as hardware prices continued to fall and electronic content became an increasing real proposition outside enterprise that networking hardware would be foundational to a new bread of world wide web intermediaries and consumers themselves. Though curiously, these sage, successful entrepreneurs did not see this coming. It made me think - how much can we extrapolate current cultural and technical trends into the future. 
However, as clock turned to 5, we sadly had to leave Bob’s house and Martha’s Vineyard, and make our way to the ferries. We boarded the ferry at Oak Bluffs back to the Cape, all the while thinking about how our own exciting entrepreneurial journeys lay ahead. 

Thanks to the Wellframe team for pulling together the below recap from our visit to Martha’s Vineyard last week.  We’ve also posted some additional photos from the trip here (including a pretty funny one of Nam).

Last Wednesday, the East coast Summer@Highland teams met up early at 9am to visit Bob Higgins at Martha’s Vineyard for the day. After driving to Cape Cod, we hopped on a ferry to Martha’s Vineyard. When we arrived at the Martha’s Vineyard docks, Bob Higgins greeted our group and generously treated us to lunch at the Atlantic in Edgartown. Over a cool seafood lunch in the New England sun, Bob educated us about the history of the island and entertained us with stories of his interactions with President Obama, Governor Romney, and others. 

After lunch, we toured the island before making our way to Bob’s house. There we received a warm greeting from his family and were immediately made to feel at home. While hanging out at his house, most of the teams’ attention immediately turned to Bob’s pool. Soon after, all the teams, as well as Bob, Robbie, and Mike jumped into the perfectly heated pool and enjoyed the hot summer day over a game of catch.

After drying up, we were met by Bob’s friends: Bill Foster, Jim Sims, and Paul Severino - all preeminent entrepreneurs from the Boston tech scene and also Bob’s golfing buddies.

Bill, Jim, and Paul spent a fair amount of time discussing companies - their own and others of interest. This gave us some insight into not only how legendary entrepreneurs and investors think about the world but also about how business is about relationships and how, like golf, you need to think about the long game as well as the short game. These entrepreneurs, in many instances, took on big time companies (like IBM and Cisco), and were able to capture or create very large markets - it was clear that to be very successful you need to tackle big problems for big markets - be ambitious in this way. The camaraderie and mutual respect among the group of CEOs was palpable - there was clearly a shared experience around which these men have cultivated and maintained a bond of friendship over decades.  

In addition, Pete’s and Bill’s experience of building computers and networking technology for enterprise in the 80’s was amazing. With the acuity benefits of hindsight it seems obvious that as hardware prices continued to fall and electronic content became an increasing real proposition outside enterprise that networking hardware would be foundational to a new bread of world wide web intermediaries and consumers themselves. Though curiously, these sage, successful entrepreneurs did not see this coming. It made me think - how much can we extrapolate current cultural and technical trends into the future. 

However, as clock turned to 5, we sadly had to leave Bob’s house and Martha’s Vineyard, and make our way to the ferries. We boarded the ferry at Oak Bluffs back to the Cape, all the while thinking about how our own exciting entrepreneurial journeys lay ahead. 

As the Summer Ends, Highland Sends off 14 Companies (full article with pic of team Wellframe here)

For just over two months, 14 teams have been chipping away at their companies in Highland Capital Partners’ Kendall Square and Sand Hill Road offices. And as the Summer@HIGHLAND program begins to wind down, eight or nine of those teams can say they’re currently raising an angel round or will be starting the process within the next 45 days, while the remainder will continue working on their startup, according to Michael Gaiss, Highland’s senior vice president.

“We’ve never had as many teams as we’ve had this year,” Gaiss says, admitting they just couldn’t “make the call” after seeing so many talented applicants. Over 250 university-affiliated startups applied for consideration in this year’s program. Largely because, as Gaiss describes it, “The value proposition keeps going up.”

Not only were admitted teams offered $15,000 and complimentary office space, but they were also given access to a roster of over 40 events, including talks from Matt Lauzon, founder and CEO of Gemvara; Keith Rabois, COO of Square; Bill Clerico, founder and CEO of WePay; Bob Van Nortwick, business development manager at Amazon; Troy Brennan, executive vice president of CVS Caremark; and Victoria Ransom, founder and CEO of Wildfire.

Jacob Sattelmair, co-founder of Summer@HIGHLAND team Wellframe, said he wasn’t initially sold on the events, telling his team, “Let’s just skip them and focus on work.” After attending the first event, however, he admits he was sold and together they went to every single one. “One of the speakers is now an advisor to the team,” Sattelmair says.

Wellframe is currently organizing clinical knowledge and using human-centered design to build a technology-enabled treatment program for cardiovascular disease. Built into the Wellframe app are reminders to take medications, an accelerometer that can track steps, as well as the ability to send messages between the clinician, patient and the patient’s family, among other features.

“We’re re-engineering patient care outside of the hospital,” Sattelmair says, claiming hospitals need to find a better way to facilitate and maintain relationships with their patients in between appointments. The first patients will be entered into the Wellframe system come September.

The Wellframe team — comprised of Sattelmair, Trishan Panch, Vinayak Ramesh and Archit Bhise — come from different schools of thought, ranging from primary care to program management, as well different schools: Harvard and MIT.

When asked whether or not they feel as though they’ve created a network through the summer program, they all responded positively. “We now have connections we never would have had before,” Sattelmair says.

Nine out of last year’s 10 teams are still going strong, according to Gaiss. Just last week, he says one of the teams was in a meeting with a Highland General Partner talking funding. “Once you’re in the family, you’re in the family,” Gaiss admits.

Now, the focus of the program is on getting teams out into the marketplace and finding them a place to work. After hearing the success they’ve already found just after two months, however, they likely won’t have to look very far.

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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!”