Kleiner Perkins Launches Fellows Program to Attract Young Product Managers

The yearlong Product Fellows Program will give recent graduates experience working on product for a KPCB portfolio company.

Kleiner Perkins Launches Fellows Program to Attract Young Product Managers
KPCB partner Mary Meeker speaks with two fellows. [Image: KPCB]

Following the success of its fellows programs for engineering and design, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers opened up applications Thursday for a new program designed to attract aspiring product managers.

“We actually had this idea since the beginning,” KPCB director Andy Chen told Fast Company. “We built the engineering program first because that’s the most visible need.” Since creating its fellows programs, Kleiner Perkins has received close to 2,500 applications. Of its 65 engineering and 12 design fellows, all of whom worked at Kleiner Perkins portfolio companies, more than 90% received job offers the following year. In one instance, engineering fellow Dylan Field, who worked at Flipboard as part of the program, ended up raising $3.8 million in seed funding for his company, Figma.

Unlike the engineering and design programs, which last three months, making them akin to internships, the Product Fellows Program is one year long, starting July 2014. Similar to the Associate Product Manager leadership program Marissa Mayer ran at Google, the hope is to introduce younger talent into the ranks of product managers, roles typically filled by those later in their careers. “We believe that young product talent is critical. Students now graduate with more and more experience under their belt. They’re programming sooner and interning sooner,” Chen said.

The Product Fellows Program is open to U.S. undergraduate and graduate students receiving their degrees in 2014. Kleiner Perkins is encouraging those with backgrounds in computer science, engineering, math, physics, or other relevant fields to apply. Applications close Oct. 31 and can be found on kpcbfellows.com.

About the author

Based in San Francisco, Alice Truong is Fast Company's West Coast correspondent. She previously reported in Chicago, Washington D.C., New York and most recently Hong Kong, where she (left her heart and) worked as a reporter for the Wall Street Journal.