How the legacy of an extraordinary woman will help recent graduates change the world for the better. By Christiaan Vorkink (VP, True Ventures)
We at True Ventures, along with the Women 2.0 community and many, many others, were incredibly saddened by the loss of Priya Haji, who died unexpectedly this past July. I had the privilege and pleasure of working closely with Priya for more than three years as she and her team built SaveUp, a financial health platform that helped consumers save money and develop better financial habits.
Since July, we have been looking for a way to honor Priya’s memory that would model her commitment to making the world a better place through entrepreneurship. It is in that spirit that we announced the Priya Haji Fellowship earlier this month.
Designed to complement our seven-year-old True Entrepreneur Corps program, the Priya Haji Fellowship will match recent college graduates with companies in the True portfolio. This nine-month fellowship begins September 1st and will give young entrepreneurs the chance to get their foot in the door in high growth startups in the True portfolio. While this program will be open to all recent graduates, we are acutely aware of the challenges faced by women of all ages interested in breaking into the startup world and we hope and expect that at least half of the group will be women.
We recognize that there is more that we can and should do to help young people — young women especially — experience the magic of entrepreneurship and the startup experience. So, this program will give talented graduates from across the country and around the world the support they need to kickstart their careers in Silicon Valley.
We feel a deep and profound sadness that Priya will not be able to continue her mission of creating technology-driven companies to improve the lives of others who need her help, but we celebrate the chance we have to support her dream through this Fellowship. We celebrate Priya’s legacy and share her commitment to mentorship and positive impact, and we hope that the Priya Haji Fellows will follow in her footsteps and use this program as a springboard to similarly fulfilling and purposeful careers.
Editor’s note: Read Women 2.0 founder and CEO Shaherose Charania’s note to honor Priya when we first heard the sad news last summer.
About the guest blogger: Christiaan Vorkink is a VP at True Ventures, supporting founders of very early stage technology companies that they believe will change the world. He likes Mexican food, the state of Maine and grainy YouTube clips of the Showtime Lakers. Follow him on Twitter at @cvorkink.