GenHERation: Empowering Girls to Become Leaders

Editor’s note: This post originally appeared on the Penn website as part of President’s Engagement Prize-Winners Launch Social Impact Projects. Katlyn Grasso W’15 is one of five winners of the inaugural President’s Engagement Prize. As a student, Katlyn was an active participant in the Wharton Entrepreneurship community: she was a member of the Venture Initiation Program, a semifinalist in the Business Plan Competition, and the recipient of a Wharton Venture Award.

Only five percent of Fortune 500 companies have female CEOs, and there are even fewer women who start their own businesses.

“I grew up in an environment where I was conditioned to believe that girls can do anything,” says Katlyn Grasso, a Wharton School graduate who majored in economics, with concentrations in finance and strategic globalization.

Read more GenHERation: Empowering Girls to Become Leaders

JibJab: The Business Of Making Things That Make People Laugh

By Nadine Kavanaugh, Associate Director, Wharton Entrepreneurship

Gregg (WG'99) and Evan Spiridellis on The Tonight Show.
Gregg (WG’99) and Evan Spiridellis on The Tonight Show.

“Wharton alumni status is gold,” enthused Gregg Spiridellis WG’99, co-founder of digital entertainment studio JibJab. The irreverent humor of JibJab’s celebrated political satire, their Year in Review shorts (featured on The Tonight Show), and “Starring You” ecards all came about because of Gregg’s Wharton experience. Gregg knew by his second year that he wanted to build a tech company, and shortly after graduation, he did so, co-founding JibJab with his brother Evan. Read more JibJab: The Business Of Making Things That Make People Laugh

What Cooperative Robots Can Do For Us: Dick Zhang at TEDxPenn

By Nadine Kavanaugh, Associate Director, Wharton Entrepreneurship

TEDxPenn logo

Last fall, TEDxPenn: Creating the Sound took attendees, me among them, into a fascinating world of sound and technology. Among the speakers was Penn alumnus Dick Zhang, co-founder of Identified Technologies—a member of the Venture Initiation Program, finalist and winner of the Committee Award for Best Use of Technology in the 2014 Wharton Business Plan Competition, and winner of the 2012 Y-Prize. I blogged about my experience at TEDxPenn here; now you can see Dick’s talk yourself: Read more What Cooperative Robots Can Do For Us: Dick Zhang at TEDxPenn

Startup Intern: The Social Media Startup

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:

Curalate & Me Infographic

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.

JasmineBio: 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.