Ever wonder where the ads in your Facebook and Twitter feeds come from?
Karl Ulrich interviews Jesse Pujji C’06/W’06 about his company, Ampush, a marketing solutions provider that powers customer acquisitions for some of the world’s most disruptive brands and companies. And yes–makes those ads that show up in your social media feeds, and tailors them just for you.
Jesse and his cofounders, Nick Shah W’06 and Chris Amos W’06, at pre-college program for students headed to Wharton, and decided to be college roommates. At the age of 25, they moved to California and told their parents, “we’re going to start a business.” Just what that business would be, they didn’t yet know.
They used their quantitative skills to bring data analysis to digital marketing–in 2010, a space truly ready for disruption–and in less than six months, went from spending around $20,000 per month on Facebook ads to close to $500,000 per month. In early 2011, Facebook asked to meet them, and soon after made Ampush one of their first partners with the ability to build their own software solutions on top of the Facebook APIs.
Listen to Jesse tell Karl this thrilling story of incredible growth, and the data-driven business model that makes it possible:
Karl Ulrich interviews Cory Levy about his startup, After School, the largest social network for teens.
After School is a place for teens who want to be themselves, make new connections, and participate in positive activities–both online and offline. It’s a private social network that allows American high school students to share and connect with fellow students at their same school. And millions of students, in more than 80% of U.S. high schools, use After School.
Listen to hear how Cory built After School, and how he knew, after many other entrepreneurial ideas, that this one was a winner.
Entrepreneurial Intern Fellowships are available to Penn/Wharton Undergraduates and First Year MBAs. They are awarded to students who plan to spend the summer in an entrepreneurial setting and who demonstrate both a commitment to entrepreneurship at Penn and to pursuing an entrepreneurial career. To apply, click here.
By Jasmine Kriston W’15, 2013-14 Dr. William Zucker Entrepreneurial Intern Fellow at Curalate
Last fall I set the goal of finding a start-up to work for Summer 2013. During the summer prior I had experienced working for a large company, AT&T. I ended sophomore year wanting to get a taste of what working in a company of less than 20 people would feel like.
I began my start-up search by making a list of some of the companies and industries I was most interested in. I was particularly fascinated by Pinterest’s success. Pinterest, the third leading social network, recently changed the experience of social networking from primarily text to images. Following Pinterest’s lead, several retail brands have adopted similar visual and interactive user experiences for their websites.
Before reaching out to any of the companies on my list, I created a video using Pinterest as a platform to tell my story:
I finished my video before I attended the Penn career services’ start-up fair. At the fair I spoke with several start-ups. I also met Curalate’s co-founder and CTO, Nick Shiftan. Curalate, a First Round backed company, does analytics for the visual web: platforms such as Pinterest and Instagram. At the fair, Nick was wearing a shirt, which said, “I’m huge on Pinterest-with Curalate.” We immediately started talking about our similar interest in Pinterest and other visual social media platforms.
A few weeks later my video was in the hands of Curalate’s marketing team. I received an email from Curalate’s CEO and founder, Apu Gupta WG’05, inviting me to their office.
Before we met, I spent hours researching Curalate and talking with several people in the start-up field who knew members of the Curalate team. I found that Curalate was well known for using their own analytics to create infographics, which displayed tons of interesting data in a fun, visual, and creative way.
I spent the night before my meeting with Curalate’s CEO making an inforgraphic titled “Curalate & Me” which outlined what I wanted to do for the company as a summer intern:
During my interview, Apu said it was refreshing that I had taken the time to outline what I wanted to do at Curalate: Rather than burdening the start-up with having to find a role for me. My interview lasted for hours; I spoke with more three team members to see how I was cultural fit.
I remember leaving the office and feeling really excited to have found a team of nerds who were just as interested in images and Pinterest as I was. A week later I received an offer to be a summer intern for the company and accepted.
I spent the summer working with Curalate as a sales and marketing intern. I watched the company grow from 13 employees to 25. I was also part of their big move from working in First Round Capital’s Philadelphia office to leasing their own space in center city. The Curalate team is one of the most fun and smart groups of people I have ever had the pleasure of working with. They’ve made it easy for me to decide that I will definitely want to pursue a start-up again this summer and after graduation. I feel privileged to be able to say I was part of the Curalate team for a summer.
Bio: Jasmine is a junior at Wharton studying Finance and Management with two minors in Computer Science and Engineering Entrepreneurship. At Penn she sits on the Executive Board for the Wharton Undergraduate Entrepreneurship Club. Jasmine is also a founding member of the Dorm Room Fund (DRF), backed by First Round Capital. Jasmine oversees post-funding business development resources for DRF’s portfolio companies. She sources and cultivates one-on-one relationships with companies, which partner with Dorm Room Fund to offer resources to their portfolio companies. Jasmine has experience in development from interning as an Applications Developer for AT&T. She also recently interned for Curalate, a Philadelphia data and analytics start-up, as a Sales and Marketing Intern. This summer Jasmine will be joining Andreessen Horowitz, a $2.65 billion venture capital firm in Menlo Park, as an investment team intern.
There are a number of reasons why WEP chose to become active on these platforms, but for me, the most important one is to let the world know all the amazing things the Wharton and Penn student and alumni entrepreneurs are doing! It’s incredibly exciting when one of our Facebook posts or tweets about a student/alumni accomplishment is picked up by the wider university community, entrepreneurial advocates in the Philadelphia region, or even the media.
Each day, I spend time combing through Twitter, Facebook, and Google Alerts, publications like TechCrunch, Mashable, the WSJ, the NYT, Technically Philly, VentureBeat, and really, any place where I think a mention of Wharton & Penn entrepreneurs might be. Of course, to truly cover (almost) everything takes a team effort, and the rest of the team here at WEP, as well as the Wharton and Penn Communications offices, MBA Career Management, current students and alums active on social media, and some of our partners in the region, like Quorum at the University City Science Center, are instrumental in making sure I can cover as much as possible.
It’s great to post about student and alumni venture launches, awards and mentions in the press and industry blogs. What’s also fun is when students or alums recognize the hard work of their peers and put their own personal spin on what we post. I really like the following example of this from back in March 2011. An alum, @khetwoman, tweeted about how happy she was to see all the entrepreneurial activity happening at Wharton:
Then, another alum Adriano Blanaru WG’10 (@ablanaru), sent this tweet:
If you think back to what was happening in March 2011, you might remember that this was when actor Charlie Sheen’s comments about “winning” were trending all over social media. Adriano’s use of the #winning hashtag to promote Wharton entrepreneurs was clever, funny, and a bit irreverent – and we loved it! The link he included was to a question on Quora about interesting startups coming out of Wharton (which is still active so take a look and add any that you know should be included).
We hope our activity on the various social media sites will continue to enrich and grow Wharton & Penn’s entrepreneurial community, both here on campus and wherever our alums are located. We’re always excited to hear about the entrepreneurial pursuits of students and alums so don’t hesitate to contact me through Twitter or Facebook or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org to tell me about your venture– I look forward to hearing from you!