College students love to hang out on Facebook and Twitter, but a group of Princeton undergraduates got to spend time with the people who help run those companies — and 25 other technology firms — during a whirlwind trip through Silicon Valley over fall break.
The 22 students — selected from 90 applicants — spent five days meeting with CEOs, company founders, and venture capitalists, dropping in on Silicon Valley giants Google and Kleiner Perkins as well as startups such as Ooga Labs and Smule. The trip — dubbed the Silicon Valley TigerTrek — was the first of its kind.
“It was an opportunity to connect one-on-one with entrepreneurs,” said organizer Taylor Francis ’14. Students wanted to participate because they were “intrigued by what entrepreneurship was, but they didn’t have a concrete feel for what it would be like to be part of a company with five people.”
Students met with Hewlett-Packard CEO Meg Whitman ’77, and were paired with alumni for mentoring sessions about how to raise money and land that first job after college. The trip was funded by several campus organizations and alumni.
“It’s a rare experience to be able to ask questions and get candid answers” from established entrepreneurs, said Professor Ed Zschau ’61, a faculty sponsor of the trip.