THE 2012-2013 AMBASSADOR OF ENTREPRENEURSHIP
Wharton Entrepreneurship Advisory Board Intern Fellow
This summer I worked at Venueline, a start-up that helps people find amazing venues for their private events. I mostly worked with two other team members, meaning this company was smaller than most of the early stage companies you’ve probably heard of. Over the summer I did everything from talking to clients and venues, brainstorming what should be on the webpage redesign, to thinking about the strategic direction of the company.
The company is based in Manhattan with an office right in Midtown. You can find amazing start-ups all over the country– you don’t have to be in Silicon Valley to work on an innovative venture. Most people think financial services when they think of New York– but the city is home to a well-established and growing start-up scene. The office I worked in this summer housed four start-ups on my floor. They were all at different stages of development, so it was a great opportunity to learn from what they were doing– when they decided to raise funding, how they acquired clients, etc. The entrepreneurial community is one with many open doors and people that are always willing to put you in touch with someone or help you think through an idea.
How did you find the position? I found the position through a posting on PennLink– a lot of start-ups actually post internships on there! It can be difficult to sift through since PennLink is so crowded, but recruiting for start-ups (at least from what I’ve seen) is a bit later than recruiting by big companies– so from March-May you’ll probably see the most start-up internships.
There are a ton of Penn alumni that have gone on to start their own businesses, and most are happy to help students interested in entrepreneurship. Lots of start-ups don’t have a formal recruiting process or a recruiting team, so leveraging the alumni network to hear about start-ups and get connected to start-ups could be really helpful!
What was your motivation for working at a start-up this summer?
I wanted to work at a start-up because I knew it would be a unique experience where I’d be able to make a lot of impact on the company, and that it could be a good comparison point to previous internships. I’d heard about how different start-up culture and the nature of start-up work is, and everything I’d heard was proven true. For one thing, you’ll probably work in an office that has at least one yoga ball in it. Your title as a “Marketing Intern” or a “Design Intern” will become irrelevant, because you’ll probably end up doing a little bit of everything anyways. If you’re lucky, you’ll work closely with the founder of the business. You’ll probably get into hour long discussions/debates about other start-ups, the changes in the VC industry, and the best way to grow the start-up. You probably won’t work 9 to 5. You will definitely meet incredibly talented people that know how to hustle.
What advice would you give to students interested in working at a start-up this summer?
Do it! Start-ups aren’t that hard to find– a ton of them are eager to take interns, early stage ventures need all the help they can get. And working at a start-up isn’t just for hard core computer programmers.