VC firms are, of course, in the business of making money, yet looking only at the current generation of entrepreneurs banging down their doors is short sighted. Silicon Valley stalwart Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers knows this and just wrapped up the inaugural edition of its KPCB Engineering Fellows Program aimed at finding entrepreneurs while they’re still in school. Applications for the Summer 2013 edition open today.

The program, which is open to “outstanding undergraduate and graduate students enrolled at US universities who are studying computer science, engineering, mathematics, physics, or fields related to software development,” is about seeding the future of innovation – recruiting for KPCB portfolio companies is also a welcome side product.

Fellows selected for the program are paired with leading companies in KPCB’s portfolio, which this year included Klout, One Kings Lane, Path, Zynga, and others. The program also invites participants to attend Tech Talks at additional KPCB portfolio companies such as Facebook, Square, and Twitter.

The young engineers aren’t just fetching coffee or lunch either. This year’s crop successfully pushed products being used by millions. Highlights include working on the launch of Klout Mobile and sharing in the design of energy efficient algorithms linked to 50 million households on Opower’s data platform.

Lots of VCs pitch their would-be portfolio companies on all of the “added value” they provide beyond simply capital. For those looking to hire the best and brightest minds around, banking on the KPCB name isn’t a bad way to boost early recruitment.

The inaugural 2012 program featured 30 participants, selected from more than 1,000 applications spanning more than 100 elite computer science universities in the US. According to the firm, more than 90 percent of these participants will receive full-time career opportunities or internships for next summer at KPCB-funded companies.

The deadline for 2013 applications is 11:59 pm PDT on October 31, 2012. Applications can be submitted here.

[Image of 2012 KPCB Engineering Fellows]