Category Archives: Events

Celebrating Teens in Tech

Posted by Meg Sloan, VP of Marketing

1920212_957647607584659_589005071728379185_nLast week was one of those moments that I love as a marketer. You start with a big idea that seems super hard to execute and then you pull it all together in a few months — and it’s better than you’d hoped it would be. When Paul Holland and I started talking about putting together a program that would showcase ideas and innovations from young tech-minded, entrepreneurial high schoolers, we weren’t sure how exactly it would take shape. We did know it was an idea we and everyone at Foundation Capital cared deeply about. Fast forward to October 2nd and we had 100 people gathered in our courtyard and teams from seven Bay Area high schools doing just what we had hoped for – blowing our minds, challenging conventions and getting us really excited about the future that these people and their peers will create.

FCT3 came together because, first and foremost, the students got behind this idea. Every team came at the question of ‘What does disruption and innovation in a particular sector look like to you?’ in their own totally unique way. Teachers gave students the time to work on this and to participate in the event. I love that as people are clamoring to get their new iPhones, the team from Eastside Preparatory high school brought forward an idea to automatically turn our communication devices off when we are having a real face-to-face interaction of importance. Yes, please!

You can read more about all the ideas here. Thank you, Kurt Wagner and Re/Code, for this great recap of the ideas and the spirit of the event.

We were teen-led all the way. Our teen coordinator and summer intern, Alex Sahai of Lick-Wilderding High School, helped us scope the program, communicate with students and select speakers and panelists from Netflix, Instagram and Chegg who would wow the students. We used Jelly to name the event and a panel of teens to select our logo design. I like to think I’m pretty cool but these folks kept the program from slipping into boring adult-only relevance.

And now I get to do another thing I love as a marketer: build off momentum. We are building ways to keep the dialog going and thinking about how we’ll do FCT3 in year 2. We received great feedback from the students as well as the teachers. The science chair at a local high school said he was going to re-evaluate some of the things he did in the classroom. The students thought the experience was “profound” and “inspiring.” So watch this space as we host our YEP (Young Entrepreneur Program) next week at Foundation Capital and check out these pics from FCT3.

Here’s a re-cap of the schools that came and what they presented:

Woodside Priory: Asked educators to teach students critical thinking –in addition to skills like coding — to ensure a student’s success, no matter which 21st century career they chose to pursue.

Crystal Springs Uplands: Shared the impact of tech in the classroom with tools like Edmodo, “Facebook for homework in school,” SmartMusic to support music education, and Coach’s Eye to help analyze sports videos.

Menlo-Atherton High school: Three Physics experts explained Bitcoin — and the world of crypto currencies. Crypto currencies could be the Swiss banks of the 21st century, they predicted.

The Nueva school: Showcased their projects built on the theory that people are motivated by games: A saving-electricity game that’s part of PG&E’s Green Button Connect program, a glove that will allow users to easily communicate with those who do not know ASL by converting hand gestures to text, and Pico, a 3-D printer that’s cheap and safe.

The Eastside College Prep: Presented ‘U-View,’ an insertable eye lens that works as an all-in-one device: a phone, a reader, a camera, and even a TV. The goal was to solve the problem of too many devices, without any danger of overuse.

Summit Prep: Advocated self-directed learning, where students would work towards their goals at their pace.

Lick-Wilmerding High School: Presented water technology: A hydro-kinetic generator that would use a series of turbines to provide electricity and a water condensation unit that draws water vapor from the environment to collect clean, fresh drinking water.

Announcing FCT3

Posted by Paul Holland

PrintIt was 30 years ago this week that I arrived in Silicon Valley to start my first job out of school. Over those years, I’ve been fortunate enough to have helped build two exciting startup companies with two great CEOs, Reed Hastings and Mark Gainey. As a VC, I’ve advised companies that started out with a simple idea, and are household names today. For example, I spent five years helping Dan Rosenweig and his team at Chegg build a company oriented to helping young people save money to pay for their education.

I meet brilliant minds at work, there’s no doubt. But the minds that truly amaze me are the ones I meet at home everyday. I have three teenage daughters, and they have a way of looking at the world that often leaves me astonished.

I expect to have a similar reaction when I listen to the teens who will be visiting our office in Menlo Park to talk about tech at our FCT3 event on October 2nd. We have invited students from several Silicon Valley high schools to talk about how they relate to tech — and its role in their future. We care about what they think — and we want to hear what they have to say.

It isn’t a contest. It isn’t the Tech Bee. It’s just a platform to share ideas, viewpoints and to talk about trends, and to imagine the future –together.

This isn’t new for us at Foundation Capital. We believe in mentoring young people. I founded the Young Entrepreneurs Program in 2010 as a way to bring young graduate students participate in the process of identifying exciting new startups. Now, we’re going a step farther. And I’m very excited about it.

Here’s the formal press release:


October event to feature students talking technology with industry leaders from Netflix and Instagram

Menlo Park, CA – September 3, 2014 – On October 2, 2014, Foundation Capital, a leading Venture Capital firm in Menlo Park, will host its second Teen Tech Talk, or FCT3. The event gathers students from Silicon Valley high schools together to talk about how they view and use technology, what trends they see fading and rising, and their own vision for the future of different industries.

At the event, students will hear from leaders at companies they admire such as Netflix and Instagram, and will have the opportunity to “pitch” their ideas to a panel of media and investors about their views on the future of technology and the innovation they hope to drive. Students can choose to discuss any trend that matters to them, whether it’s communication, entertainment, healthcare, or technology.

Foundation Capital has been investing in young startups and young leaders for more than 18 years. Its Young Entrepreneurs Program helps build relationships between graduate students and top schools and startups in order to pave the way for brilliant careers. Schools represented in the 2014 Young Entrepreneurs Program include Stanford, Harvard, MIT, University of Pennsylvania, Carnegie Mellon, Columbia, University of Chicago, Georgetown, Georgia Tech, and Berkeley.

“Foundation Capital is deeply committed and passionate about supporting education and the next generation of innovators. I founded the Young Entrepreneurs Program to bring young grad students into the venture capital process and help them to help us source new ideas.” said Paul Holland, General Partner at Foundation Capital. “As the father of teenagers, I was inspired to create an event with the primary goal of listening to what young people have to say.”


Date: Thursday Oct 2, 2014

Time: 4 p.m. – 7 p.m.

Location: Foundation Capital, 250 Middlefield Road, Menlo Park

For more information:

About Foundation Capital

Foundation Capital is dedicated to the proposition that one entrepreneur’s idea, with the right support, can become a business that changes the world. Foundation Capital has helped companies like Atheros create the mobile Internet, EnerNOC invent the energy demand response market, and Netflix revolutionize media distribution and consumption, among many others. Foundation Capital is currently invested in more than 80 high-growth ventures in the areas of consumer, information technology, software, semiconductors, and clean technology including BoardVantage, Chegg, Coverity, Lending Club, Simply Hired, Sunrun, and Venafi. Foundation Capital’s twenty-two IPOs include Control4, Envestnet, Financial Engines, Netflix, NetZero, MobileIron, TubeMogul, Responsys and Silver Spring Networks. For more information, visit