UCLA Engineering Student, Alumnus Selected as 2021 Kleiner Perkins Fellows
Yash Moondhra (left) and Sriram Balachandran (right) selected as 2021 Kleiner Perkins Fellows
Kleiner Perkins is a Silicon Valley venture capital firm specialized in funding startups and early-stage businesses, some of which later became household names, such as Amazon and Google.
Every summer, the firm hosts a fellowship program for college students from across the country and places selected fellows in internships with partnering companies. Applicants come from diverse backgrounds, each pursuing their passion for engineering, design or product management.
Candidates undergo a highly competitive selection process, with finalists nominating companies to which their applications are sent. The firms then reach out to the top candidates for a final round of interviews before fellowships are awarded.
Selected fellows demonstrate entrepreneurial and leadership characteristics, technical ability and personal drive. This year’s cohort features 102 fellows from 38 universities across 41 partnering companies.
Moondhra and Balachandran, selected on the engineering track, both chose to work at Robinhood, a financial services company that offers an app capable of tracking stocks. Another recent graduate, Molly Mielke ’21 was awarded a fellowship in the design track. She studied film, television and digital media at UCLA. Mielke did her internship with Figma, a design-tool company.
During the summer program, industry executives mentor the fellows to help them learn how to build a company, test their product’s market fit and understand their customer base in order to scale the business. Fellows also participate in a founder speaker series, entrepreneurial workshops led by seasoned founders and community-building events that continue after the summer program ends. Some fellows went on to found their own companies, with Kleiner Perkins as an investor.
Founded in 2012, the Kleiner Perkins Fellows program has more than 600 alumni and collaborates with companies such as Airbnb, Uber, Slack, Pinterest, Stripe and Doordash.
Chloe Slayter contributed to this story.