2011-2012 Startup Internship Award winner, supported by the Wharton Entrepreneurship Advisory Board
I worked this summer for 11 weeks with NewsCred, a company aiming to revolutionize the distribution of digital content (mainly news) through a technology they’ve developed. I met the two founders in April 2011 at NYC Start-up Job Fair (http://nycstart-upjobfair.com/), where 40 start-ups hiring for (officially) 260 position set up booths and 800 people seeking jobs (for roles ranging from design to tech development to business development) showed up. It was a madhouse, with a 1.5 hour line snaking around Broadway to get in; I thought as I waited on it “what are the chances that out of this massive herd, I might snag a job?” and “why did I come in from Philly for this headache?” Once I got in and spoke to some of the hiring start-ups, I was further dissuaded because it seemed that most only needed developers immediately. NewsCred was one of the few that were just open for talent in any shape or form, which was the first reason why I appreciated them. The second was that they were just happy to schmooze and get to know me as a person, rather than as a set of skills. It helped that they both went to Penn as undergrads, graduating 2 years before I did also as an undergrad, giving us lots to happily talk about. Having researched the companies there a bit before, I knew that they were based in General Assembly, a community of start-ups in the Flatiron District that I had visited in an informal NYC start-up trek organized by a Wharton student, so I was especially interested in going to work there.
I followed up with them immediately. We had 2 informal interviews, one by phone and one in person, in which they asked straightforwardly what else I was considering and I told them that a few other start-ups were possibilities (all of which came out of WEP’s Start-up Auction, which I SO recommend doing). In the second interview, they outlined to me all the projects and tasks they envisioned me doing with them, a list crafted with my interests and abilities in mind. By mid-May I was the 5th person on NewsCred’s team.
We sat down in the beginning and discussed this list of projects, out of which I chose which most appealed to me to focus on; I chose a more generalist route where I could get to know as many aspects of the business as possible. To name a few, I worked with them on sales of licensed content, including prospecting, creating demo websites, and meeting with potential clients. I focused, too, on the development of partnerships with new content providers. To help with their fundraising, I put together a historical and projected revenue and cost model. All throughout, I learned a ton about technology, about which I knew next to nothing beforehand.
All of the reasons why I wanted to work at a start-up were why I loved the reality of it. The tiny team was always working together around one shared table; it was all as flat and transparent as possible. There were no rules and no pretenses. The work was all immediately necessary and impactful. The energy, not only from NewsCred, but from the environment of General Assembly, was palpable. What an exciting time to work at the hub of NY’s start-up scene. Most importantly, I learned first hand how the business was run, seeing all the nuts and bolts, so I might be better equipped when I launch my own. I currently continue to work for NewsCred, part-time and mostly remotely now that I’ve resumed classes at Wharton.