2010-2011 Startup Internship Award winner, supported by the Sutton Entrepreneurial Intern Fellowship fund
This summer I worked as a Summer Analyst at Lot18, a company that sells small batches of high-quality wines and epicurean products at huge discounts. Lot18 was founded last November (2010), and within in year it had over 90 employees and $13 million in VC funding. The company continues to grow by enormous margins and it has a very bright future. All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed my summer there.
I found my internship through WEP’s Start-up Auction. WEP describes the Start-up Auction as such:
Working with venture capital partners, WEP is identifying 15-20 companies willing to receive resumes and written pitches from students who believe they can truly add value at the company for the summer and who are dedicated to an entrepreneurial career path. Each company will agree to take material from up to 5 students; and using an online auction system, students bid to be able to have their materials sent to the start-up company.
Once a student has purchased the rights to submit his/her materials to a particular start-up, he/she must create a unique, creative PowerPoint presentation that shows why he/she would be a good fit at the firm. At this point, interviews and internships are offered in a traditional recruiting style. The WEP Auction worked out very well for me, and I recommend it to all first-years who want to work at a cool, young company.
My motivation for working at a start-up was somewhat atypical. To make a long story short, my entire work history involves working at start-ups – some enormous with huge backing and some small with very little backing. However, I had never worked at a recently-funded start-up that was going through a phase of enormous growth – until this summer. I chose Lot18 because the company had just closed a funding round and it had a ton of potential.
At Lot18, I worked with fellow members of the brand management team to create a scalable sales and marketing process. Our largest project in this regard was designing a firm-wide drive calendar that listed all futures sales, products and promotions for all areas of Lot18. Additionally, I worked with the email team to compose intricate HTML emails that were sent to each of the firm’s hundreds of thousands of members every day. I also developed reports that calculated the relative value of the real estate in the daily emails, so that we could gauge how to promote various products in the future. I put together daily reports which analyzed sales data to determine the ROI on various media planning efforts. Finally, I performed miscellaneous valuable tasks that are necessary at a start-up, such as pitching the creation of a corporate gift card program to department heads and negotiating with market research firms to develop custom reports on the wine industry.
If you’re a student who is interested in working at a start-up, I’d suggest that you do two things. First, begin networking and doing research on the start-ups and/or sectors in which you’re interested ASAP. Even though I decided to work at Lot18, I almost accepted a different offer from another start-up, and this offer was received after a couple of months of networking. Second, don’t stress out! I didn’t receive my start-up internship offers until spring, a time when 90% of Wharton students had already solidified their summer plans. Stay relaxed, stay focused, and understand that start-ups don’t recruit during the traditional recruiting season. But if you work hard and do your research, I can guarantee that you (with the help of MBACM and WEP) will come away with an awesome start-up opportunity.