2012-2013 Startup Internship Award winner, supported by the Dr. William Zucker Entrepreneurial Intern Fellowship fund
How did you find the position?
Since I started my sophomore year I started to join new entrepreneurship clubs to learn more about the process of starting your own company. So I decided to join clubs and attend conferences to learn more about the start-up world. I didn’t find my internship in these clubs but these clubs gave me a better idea of the entrepreneurial world. These clubs and the conferences I attended prepared me for my interviews. I was first introduced to Regalii because I was working as work-study for La Casa Latina. After working there for almost a year and participating in all the different events that included recruiting and networking events I had the opportunity to meet Edrizio, the founder and CEO of Regalii. After talking with him for almost an hour I learned more about the project. I loved the idea and the team so I expressed interest in joining the project to work as an intern. I started to work as an intern in October 2011 and after working for more than 8 months on the project I decided to take an internship opportunity. I took the internship opportunity because I knew that this experience would help me to better understand the tech and start-up industry.
What was your motivation for working at a start-up this summer?
I have always wanted to work for a start-up. I started my first company when I was in high school and since then I wanted to keep learning more about the start-up world. I left Mexico and came to USA to start my career at Penn because I wanted to learn more about the start-up world. I came to Penn because I knew I would find the structure to keep progressing in my entrepreneurial career. The USA and Penn are some of the main places where innovation happens. During my first summer at Penn I wasn’t sure how to get involved in the entrepreneur community at Penn so I decided to take an opportunity to work in banking. During my sophomore year I decided that I wanted to get more involved in the entrepreneurial community so I started to join different clubs and reading more about the process of starting your own company. It was then when I met Edrizio and had the opportunity to work for Regalii this summer. Instead of going back to banking or taking other opportunities at consulting companies I decided to go for it and work for Regalii because I knew that this experience will help me understand the process of creating a company, and will give me a more valuable experience than working for a big company. The main difference is that the work you do for a start-up has a huge impact and that you can see the results at the end of the summer.
What advice would you give to students interested in working at a start-up this summer?
I would tell them that working for a start-up is the best experience that I have ever had. It is one of those experiences that you will never forget. I think that working for a start-up is a more fulfilling experience than working in any other internship. By working for a start-up you have the opportunity to learn more about everything and to have a much better understanding of the business world. At the end of the day all the companies started as a small company and then grew to become the large corporations we know today. I think that my best advice for other Penn students that want to work for a start-up is to go for it. And if they have the opportunity to work for a start-up, they should get the most out of that experience. There are an infinite number of things you can learn in a summer working for a start-up, but it’s up to you to take advantage of it. Every time you have the opportunity, ask for more work because that means you are going to learn more.
My summer Experience:
This summer I worked for Regalii.Inc, a Philadelphia Start-up. Regalii is a remittance company that is innovating the way that Hispanics in the USA send remittances to their families in LATAM. Regalii is enabling Hispanics to send remittances to their families for FREE. Other companies in the market charge Latinos approximately 10% every time they send money to their families. Furthermore, Regalii is using the changes in technology and the adoption of technology in LATAM to offer a remittance through SMS. This will enable remittances to be instant, free and secure.
I worked in banking last summer and I only did basic things because I didn’t have much experience as a freshman. This summer was completely different because working for a start-up requires more responsibility and more experience. I was named Director of Operations for Latin America so I was in charge of the team in Mexico and Dominican Republic. During my first months of work I was forced to learn about legal issues in USA, Mexico and D.R. I needed to Google different terms and learn the potential legal impact of our business model in each country. I was also in charge of developing the roadmap for the acquisition of affiliates in Latin America. For all these tasks the time to learn and to take action is minimum so I learned how to take action in just minutes.
During my summer there were so many things I didn’t know and that I have never seen before. That’s the start-up world. I learned that the important thing is not the thing you don’t know, but how fast you can learn it. When I look back at my summer I feel like a completely new person. Now, I think that I can solve any problem that I face. There are many resources that you can use to find information. Working for Regalii I also developed a great network of people that helped me and that became my friends. This network is one of the most valuable things I got from my experience at Regalii.
Finally my advice is that a start-up internship is one of the best forming experiences I have ever had. During my summer I was able to learn about law, marketing, banking, tech, strategy and team relationships. I can’t think of a better way to learn all these things than by working for a start-up for a summer. I am sure that nobody that takes the opportunity to work for a start-up will regret it.