2015-2016 The Neff Entrepreneurial Intern Fellow
How did you find the position?
What was your motivation for working at a start-up this summer?
Experience working at an early stage company and to leverage for my own startup in the future.
What advice would you give to students interested in working at a start-up this summer?
It’s never too early to start applying. Search for startups online, talk to friends, go to meetups, find hackathons, etc. Learn about the companies you are interested in to understand what type of skills they’ll be looking for in a candidate. But yes, start early so that if there’s anything you need to do before you start applying, you have enough time to take the necessary steps and prepare.
This summer I worked as a Product and User Experience Intern at Farmivore, a startup based in New York City. Farmivore “is a high-growth subscription startup in NYC that delivers a weekly box of organic produce to people who make juices or smoothies at home.” I would add that the juices and the smoothies are delicious! I got to juice all sorts of unexpected vegetables like fennel and sweet potatoes.
I found Farmivore through AngelList (https://angel.co), a great resource that connects entrepreneurs and investors with one another. If you haven’t yet, I highly recommend you check it out! They had an opening for a Design internship, and even though that was not precisely what I was looking for, I felt the company’s goals really aligned well with mine so I applied regardless. I promptly got a response from one of the two Co-Founders, and after several phone conversations with them, we had come up with a new Internship position for me. So that’s my first piece of advice for you, if you are interested in a company, just reach out to them! If you are genuinely interested in them and their product(s), it will show!
And remember to say why you are qualified to join their team. Founders are flexible and often willing to modify their intended projects/job description so that they better fit your priorities
Even though the food industry wasn’t necessarily at the top of my list, my experience this summer at Farmivore turned out to be really enjoyable and incredibly enriching, and I would choose to spend my summer there again if I had to choose. I started my internship search not knowing exactly which type of industry I wanted to work in, yet I had determined a startup would provide the
best environment for me to attain my personal goals. Indeed, after working three years at a large financial institution, I was convinced my high-energy, creative and industrious personality would be a better fit for an early stage startup and I was eager to experience the challenges and reward of such an environment, where I could have a bigger say in key decisions, important responsibilities and immediate impact on critical aspects of the company’s operations. With this in mind, I came to the realization that the choice of the specific industry mattered little to me, as long as I felt I could apply my skills to achieve positive impact on a company whose product I believed in. Thus a second piece of advice would be to not limit yourself to a specific industry: instead assess the fit of personality between you and the company, determine whether your skills will allow you to make a difference there, and ask yourself whether you could see yourself being their customer!
Working at Farmivore, with only 4 full time employees was extremely rewarding. I felt that my opinions really mattered and I felt that we could make decisions quickly. I felt I owned my projects and my time. On several occasions, I took the initiative to take on fun and interesting new projects. For instance, to create promotional materials for a new ad campaign, I helped set up and direct a photoshoot, using the produce I was receiving as part of ongoing product tests. I eventually ran a Facebook campaign and designed new landing pages to run A/B testing, thus taking a primary role in many aspects of the customer interaction at the same time. My third and final piece of advice is to go to your internship wanting to do more than simply what your role description says. You’ll learn a lot more from it and your team will probably appreciate it.
Overall, the experience turned out to be more exhilarating than I already imagined. I hit the ground running with two projects, was given full liberty to structure the process, order any materials I needed and work with any suppliers I required to. I gave free reign to my imagination, creativity and innovation, and it was really rewarding to see the whole Farmivore team listening to my suggestions and feedback, and taking my opinions seriously. I learned a lot from them and I am eager to follow their news as they continue to grow and expand. As I build towards joining a start-up full-time in the near future and starting my own, I wished strongly to work at a startup where I could learn from intelligent, diligent and passionate inventors and founders, and that’s exactly what I managed to do at Farmivore.
And with that I leave you with some of my favorite shots from the photoshoot as well as a link where you can get $15 off when you try out your first Farmivore box!
Feel free to reach out to me with any questions and good luck in your internship search!