The greatest challenge once a startup gets off the ground – beyond funding, launches, and crashes – is finding top talent. Sure, every street corner between Marin County and Morgan Hill is littered with Android-, i-, and Windows OS developers offering up their wares to any and every passerby. But finding solid engineering talent is a serious issue, especially when you’re competing with the likes of Facebook and Google, who not only dominate on the salary front, but also invest serious cash in campus campaigns across the country.

Bain Capital Ventures – yes, the firm with its hands on Mitt – has spent the past nine months eroding an oxbow in the talent flow on campuses. The venture firm’s team traveled from campus to campus digging through students’ resumes and professors recommendations to find the best talent to intern at their roster of startups. Today, Bain Capital Ventures announces the official launch of Startup Academy. The pilot program over spent the last school year has shown them an “invaluable way for them to source technical talent,” says Ajay Agarwal, Bain Capital Venture’s Managing Director. “All the candidates are top-tier folks.”

They’ve put some serious time into the selection process too, this isn’t just some resume scanning tool, Ajay says they spend “two weeks per campus,” but hope to scale that up for next year’s program with more schools and more time spent on each campus, searching out the top “general all-around technical athletes.”

It’s a pretty aggressive move for a venture firm to get directly involved in the hiring stream for the companies they’re invested in. The companies that took part this year are bloomreach, nomis solutions, Rent the Runway, sneakpeak, SurveyMonkey, TargetSpot, TellApart, and tokbox. The initiative should show serious results, whereas local startups will be scrounging around job boards to pick up whatever shakes out of local established companies, they’re actively snagging the top talent direct from the source. Last year alone, from the nine campuses they approached, Bain received 779 applications, sent 149 of those resumes to companies, conducted 91 interviews, and accepted 21 students to take part in their pilot program.

Bain is looking to expand their reach next year, approaching more schools and spending more time digging into the engineering programs at each, they’re even entertaining the idea of having a recruiter live nearby campus for greater involvement.

The students have now been working at the companies since May, some since February, and through their connections through Bain, the startups that their working at, and their experience in the field, the students are now fully “indoctrinated throughout the valley” says Ajay, “It’s a big win for the portfolio companies, a big win for the students, and a big win for us.”

[Image courtesy Basheertome]