First Round Capital has steadily evolved from an early-stage investment firm to a full agency that provides tools and services beyond funding that portfolio companies can use. The firm offers a Yelp-like database of business providers, which includes 1,500 ratings and reviews for over 500 service providers, including those in payroll, phones, and more. First Round also just launched HackPR, a platform for companies and reporters to quickly and efficiently connect on press coverage. Today, the firm is debuting a “common application” so university students can apply for summer internships (and full-time jobs) at First Round’s 170-plus companies with just one application. You can access the application here.
Remember the universal common application you may have filled out when you applied for college? Basically, First Round is taking this and applying it towards helping student engineers find internships and jobs easily with their portfolio companies, which include Path, Uber, Square, Gumroad, Birchbox, Fab, and Simple.
It’s tough for students to find jobs at startups — there’s not a set program, where recruiters visit schools, or hold on-campus interviews. Startups rarely post internships on their jobs pages (if they even have one). Students have to do a lot of the legwork in finding the right startup, and talent often ends up taking an internship or job at Google or Facebook because it’s easier.
Last year, First Round quietly launched an experiment called the First Round Capital Common Application. It was a simple idea: allow engineering students to fill out one application and get matched with the perfect startup from across the firm’s 170 companies. It resulted in some great matches, says the firm. Will Drevo, an undergraduate CS student (and winner of the Autonomous Robotics Competition) at MIT, ended up at kids’ entertainment startup ToyTalk, where he got to work with the team to launch the startup’s product. Because of the success of this test, the firm decided to institutionalize the program and application.
In the application itself, students can indicate what their interests are (e-commerce, social, etc.) and their desired location. First Round will then match students with relevant companies. Students will actually get a number of introductions so they can choose the opportunity and company with the best fit.
Helping portfolio companies source talent at the university level is definitely becoming more common in the VC world. Kleiner Perkins has created an Engineering Fellows Program, and most recently a similar program for design students. True Ventures offers its Entrepreneurs Corps to students.