Startup Intern Reports

Read reports written by Penn students who interned at startups

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1DocWay - Mariam Malik WG'16
"The summer between your first and second year of MBA is the best time to try your hand at a start-up, and start-ups give you the best way to learn quickly and make a difference in such a short amount of time."
4Vets - Azita Habibi WG'14
"It was an invaluable experience to live in Brazil for a summer, learn Portuguese, and get exposure to multiple facets of a small business. I have no doubt in my mind that those experiences and insights will prove priceless in my career."
Acme - Yonathan Woldemariam ENG'19/W'19
I practiced crucial technical and entrepreneurial skills like design, software engineering and marketing that will empower me to succeed as a tech entrepreneur.
Aegerion Pharmaceuticals - Maggie Hill WG'12
"I am thrilled with my decision to spend my summer at a start-up and would encourage anyone interested in a dynamic, surprising, and challenging experience to do so."
Agile Sciences - Matt Owens ENG'09/W'09
"Most importantly I feel that I have taken away a sense of the working atmosphere I am seeking after Penn."
AllazoHealth - Daniel Jinich C'16
"Working at AllazoHealth this summer added fuel to the entrepreneurial fire in me, but it also opened my eyes to the pragmatic difficulty of starting a company."
AllazoHealth - Sri Kotte WG'14
"The CEO gave me a lot of responsibility and autonomy to get the projects done. Apart from occasional guidance, he let me manage and make the decisions, as I saw fit."
Ampush Media - James Feuereisen C'15/W'15
"I had an unbelievable experience working at Ampush and I am so glad that Wharton Entrepreneurship was able to be part of my summer."
Ampush Media - Sunny Shah M&T'14
"Ampush was going through a big expansion, and it was a great learning experience for me to be a part of such an exciting time in the company’s history."
Andela - Alex Kubo WG'17
Going from engineering in a Fortune 2 company to marketing in a two-year-old startup, in completely different industries, I thought I’d be starting from square zero. I could not have been more wrong.
AptDeco - Melinda Hu W'20
"I was so glad that I could jumpstart AptDeco’s community building in NYC."
Avaak - Junia Zhang W'14
"There is a certain kind of excitement and feeling of accomplishment that ties into working at a start-up that differentiates it from giant corporations." - Nicolas Molina WG'13
"Don’t be shy to ask people for introductions; if you have friends who work at VCs or startups, start reopening those connections now."
BabySpace - Jackson Tse WG'10
"I would recommend students to make a list of interesting start-ups that they would be interested to intern at and try to find ways to meet them. Utilize all available resources, personal and Wharton – cold calling could work too!"
Barn Owl - Nichin Sreekantaswamy GEE'17
Working at a start-up is exactly something every engineering student needs to experience at least once, especially at an early stage start-up like Barn Owl.
Baublebar - Jessica Trieber WG'16
"Speak to as many people as possible and demonstrate passion!"
Bay Sensors - Maria Alcocer W'17
"In a start-up, because of its limited resources, an intern is considered like any other member of the team, and his or her responsibilities are worth the same as the others’."
BioBots - Gabe Montoya ENG'18
I learned most about how to be schedule-driven, increasing one’s effectiveness with just a simple timeline.
BioCellection - Alexander Simafranca C'18
The reality of my limited expertise made startup life a less comfortable and more humbling experience.
Birchbox - Jennifer Sung WG'13
"My main motivation for working at Birchbox this summer was to gain exposure at a well-funded fast-growing company."
BloggerInsight - Mindy Zhang W'11
"When I started my job hunt, I was looking for two things: (1) an opportunity to make a substantial impact and (2) an opportunity to learn about web 2.0 companies. I got to do both."
BlueApron - Salimah Nooruddin WG'15
"I’m not entirely sure where I plan to have an impact but I do hope that I have a chance to do it with a startup in the future."
Borro - Neha Mittal WG'14
"I am so inspired that I have decided to take the plunge and work on my own startup this year!"
Boxgreen - Nicolette Tan C'16/W'16
"I could go on all day about my summer, but in short, I learnt business lessons, personal lessons, life lessons, and I couldn’t have asked for a better startup experience."
Breezio - Hana Yen M&T'19
After a few short months, I walked away from Breezio with more than I anticipated--armed with a newfound understanding, of my capabilities, of virtues of a team dynamic.
Bungalow Insurance - Luofei Deng WG'17
It seemed like a great opportunity to gain first-hand knowledge of the insurance technology space and also learn from two people who did exactly what I hope to do: start a business in business school.
Bungalow Insurance - Unsoi Chio L'16/WG'16
"I highly encourage you to consider working for a startup over the summer. There are perhaps no better opportunities to directly and immediately impact a company’s revenue and profitability based on your day-to-day decisions."
CALLMR Wireless - Xiaoyi Chen M&T'19
It was really great learning - we managed to double the sales over the summer, and such experience completely changed my mindset about marketing and sales.
CB Insights - Dhruv Toshniwal W'13
"The biggest takeaway from the internship was the realization of the power of loose structure. Oftentimes, we try to micro-manage, to be perfectionists, or to tell people exactly what we want of them. And oftentimes that leads to a quality product. But it takes away the spark of creativity, the innovative magic that’s needed to drive a start-up; or any meaningful endeavor in life for that matter."
CB Insights - Grace Wang W'14/SEAS'14
"To underclassmen: don’t be afraid to apply to internship opportunities! The summers after your freshmen and sophomore years are for dabbling in different fields and finding out what you want to do. And be confident in your abilities."
CB Insights - Ritvik Menon W'13/SEAS '13
"Trust me. Work at a start-up. Get your hands dirty. You won’t regret it."
Celtronix - Nishanth Sequeira W'13
"I hope to start my own organization in the future and will certainly put all of these lessons to use."
ChubbyBrain - Neal Modi W'10
"That’s what I liked best about my work— the learning curve never ended, and it was a constant challenge."
Circle Internet Financial - Sean Moran WG'15
"Follow your passion. The best startups get inundated by people looking to join their teams."
Colabination - Dilip Rajan C'15/W'15
"The name of the company may not carry as much prestige or might not pay as much as a typical summer internship but the responsibility you will be given and the amount of learning possible will be more than enough to justify your decision."
Common Bond - Aria Florant WG'16
"My summer at CommonBond gave me a look under the hood at everything that goes into building a tech product that people will use and love."
Cooperatize - Michelle Liu M&T'16
"What stuck out to me the most is that working at such an intimate and close level of a product really pushes you to produce your best work."
Cricket Health - James Chaukos WG'16
"At small companies, every person is entitled to an opinion. As long as you do your research and are thoughtful, your opinions won’t fall on deaf ears."
Curalate logo
Curulate - Jasmine Kriston
"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."
Dange Dover - Sierra Hirt W'16
"When I came to Wharton, I’d never imagined that I’d spend a summer in New York interning at a startup, but I found that my time at Dagne Dover was one of the best experiences I’ve had during college."
Directly - Chad Nachiappan EE'17
"I couldn’t have been happier with my time at Directly and True Ventures and would wholeheartedly recommend getting involved with a small team at some point during your college career."
DocASAP - Mark Mitchell WG'10
"Pick the smallest company that you can that you think will succeed. The smaller the company, the more responsibility you can earn."
DropCard - Robert Do W'10
"If you have ever considered the thought of working at a startup, I would highly recommend it. A summer experience is a great way to get a taste to see if it is right for you or not."
DropChef - Noa Monheimer C'18
I was not expecting that launching a blog would be my part in helping DropChef expand, but I dove into the blog head-first, and ended up learning a great deal about writing for an audience I had no prior experience writing for, interviewing people from companies that DropChef had no prior relationship with, and social media promotion
Earnest - Eva Wei WG'16
"It was a great summer in San Francisco. Startups offer a greater degree of flexibility and ambiguity and offer insight into how to run a company with limited resources." - Arman Tokanov W'16
"I really loved my summer internship – my ultimate plan is to start a startup and the closest thing to starting a startup is interning for one!"
EKR Inc - Mac Gorcey-Biblowitz W'14
"Lastly, the experience you get from a start-up is invaluable. I learned something new about business every single time I spoke with an author."
Elect Next - Daniel Pankiewicz W'14
"If you have any inkling that you would like to work at a startup or be an entrepreneur, try it out. It’s the best way to get a good understanding of whether or not it’s for you."
Eleven James - Mariana Muruzabal WG'15
"My advice would be to understand what kind of start-up you want you to work for, what size, and in which way you can add value to the company."
EmporioCompras - Eugenie Gruman W'16
"My favorite part about my entrepreneurial experience was the culture. Startups truly make an effort to foster collaboration and my coworkers tried to make me feel comfortable expressing my ideas from day one."
Estimize - Max Nadelman W'18
"One of the best parts about a startup internship is the ability to be making legitimate contributions to the day to day operations of the company by learning on the fly and picking up any spontaneous project needed."
Farmivore - Adriana Vazquez IPD’16
"Working at Farmivore, with only 4 full time employees was extremely rewarding. I felt that my opinions really mattered and I felt that we could make decisions quickly. I felt I owned my projects and my time."
Flexfoil Internation - James Williams WG'10
"I would strongly encourage people interested in entrepreneurial careers, but who may not want to start their own business just yet, to seek out placements with young and dynamic firms for their summer internships."
Formafina - Carlos Andres Valenzuela WG'15
"I believe everybody should work at least once in a startup."
Foursquare - Omar Qari WG'13
"I promise that if you are serious and focused, you can work at any start-up you want."
Fundera - Dhruv Jain M&T'17
"Don’t forget to have fun! Recruiting for startups is quirky, weird, and much nicer than OCR."
GenHERation - Olivia Nelson W'17
"As an intern for GenHERation this summer, I learned that entrepreneurship might force you to go outside of your comfort zone."
GenHERation - Samantha Grasso C'18
Fortunately, as I interned for GenHERation, I learned what skills entrepreneurs need to possess to pursue unconventional and risky careers.
Glass U - Taylor Luiso W'15
"There really is no better way to determine whether or not the startup lifestyle is right for you than to dive right in and give it a try."
Glass-U - Sarah Kaplan W'18
It really was a unique experience to be in an office of a successful, growing business with an average age of 23.
Graphene Frontiers - Patrick Yang W'14
"Don’t expect to make an impact immediately, but realize that the opportunity will inevitably present itself for you to make a huge contribution!"
Great-Karma - Jonathan Meachim WG'13
"I think it’s important to determine if you like working as an entrepreneur and I don’t know of a better time to take some risk and try something new than your MBA summer."
Gridless Power - Sina Golkari M&T'19
Sometimes the “best” solution to a problem isn’t always the most practical at a startup under financial and time constraints.
GTRACK Technologies - Arjun Shankar ENG'17GEN'18
Always seek the advice of your friends and professors. Connections and internship offers can come from the most surprising places.
Gust - Tanya Jain C'16/W'16
"Don’t pick a place because of the status, the wage, or because your parents think it’s the right choice. Pick a place you see yourself fit, where you meet people who encourage you and who you want to be friends with."
Hashable - Kishin Manglani C'13
"Looking back on this past summer, I don’t think I could have asked for more. I learned more than I thought possible, worked at a fun and cool company, met a ton of great people, and got to spend time with my family."
Helix Sleep - Mher Panossian WG'16
"Building a successful startup is all about attitude – the attitude with which you strive to get what you need, the attitude with which you deal with both the ups and the downs of the business, and the attitude with which you deal with your colleagues and accept their mistakes"
Hewlett Chivee Partners - Sean Toolan WG'14
"I personally feel that working at a start-up is one of the best possible internship experiences someone can pursue. My internship gave me a perspective on business and entrepreneurship that I would have never received at a larger company."
Ibotta - Melissa Rondi WG'17
People are busy but you never know who will take the time to reply back to you!
Identified Technologies - Anna Yang M&T'17
"When I decided to work at a startup, I was hoping to gain more insight into entrepreneurship as a whole—and I was not at all disappointed."
Impact Guru - Natalie Au C'17
It was a natural first step in combining my non-tech background in fundraising for nonprofits with my desire to learn more about tech-based social entrepreneurship.
Innova Dynamics - Prashant Ramesh ENG'16
"Some key lessons I learnt: Adapt. Being able to adapt and learn on the job is critical at startups."
J-TAP - Ann Lee W'11
"I am so glad I didn’t do a more “traditional” internship because the insights I’ve gained from working at a start-up are directly translatable to what I want to pursue."
JabaTalks – Max Cutler C'19
"I realized as I walked out of the building that I desired the dynamic environment of a newly born startup, where the pace is frenetic and the work exciting, so I sent Mark an email asking if they were hiring interns"
Kalinex - Ashish Chortica WG'07
"It felt great to know that my contributions have a positive impact on the company. To me, that is what entrepreneurship is all about."
Keriton - Prashant Arya GEN'17
I spent the next few days going to the NICU and talked to parents and nurses, sometimes six hours at a stretch. I observed the entire process of feeding the babies which helped me understand the loopholes in the milk feeding process.
Kmerpad - Gina Alm C'18
I have seen that the moment when a woman can break the silence and take pride in every part of her body is empowering beyond measure.
Kohort - Neal Pancholi WG'13
"Just go for it! Find something you are interested in, open your mind, learn as much as you can, and be prepared for constant change."
Kopali Organics - Alisha Johnson WG'11
"I think it’s important to think in advance what exactly you’re looking for in a summer internship since you’ll have a better opportunity to dictate your responsibilities at a smaller company that doesn’t have a structured internship program."
Kuato - Jacob Samuelson WG'13
"Spending time in San Francisco, I felt the passion this community has for transforming and improving education. I learned a ton about how to think about designing products to leverage the digital lives of kids, and also how games work as learning systems."
Kurbo Health - Jacquelyn He NUR'17/W'17
"I felt like my contributions mattered. I enjoyed having ownership of my own projects and having the freedom to figure out how I wanted to achieve the end-goal that my marketing director had outlined for me."
Liberty Eagle African Holdings - Chase Gray WG'17
The unique challenges of working for a startup combined with the unique challenges of working in Africa made for a challenging experience.
Lihar Ltd - Susan Kim WG'10
"I would advise the next group of first years to explore and experience something new over the summer to broaden your skill set and knowledge, and to stretch your boundaries."
Liquid Machines - Edwin Padlan WG'08
"My high expectations were met throughout my internship as I participated in a Board of Directors meeting, had periodic one-on-one discussions with the CEO and senior VP’s and led projects that involved many divisions within the company."
Loannow - Nancy Fang M&T
"For underclassmen seeking internship at startups in the future, I would encourage them to be proactive and reach out to companies that they are interested in working for. Cold-emailing can be really effective, especially in the startup world."
LocalAventura - Amy Wang W'19
Working for a startup taught me to be more confident and fearless.
LocalAventura – Steven Androphy, C'19, W'19
In Mexico City, I went on a photography tour, a street art tour and multiple food tours, consuming more tacos than I’d like to admit.
Lot 18 Europe - Gonzalo Manrique WG'13
"Don’t be afraid to go against the standard recruiting process; don’t be afraid to swim against the current to pursue your dream. Every year there are more salmons at Wharton. Start up now!"
Lot18 - Josh Stein WG'12
"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." - Emma Cordano ENG'17
"Startups are notoriously unstable. While it is difficult to stomach, it is also key to view it as an incredible learning opportunity and to note what went wrong or what could’ve been done better."
Mashery - Gabriel Kim WG'12
"I tried lots of cold emails and phone interviews and they did not work really well. So I flew out to San Francisco and arranged a bunch of meetings for five days; then I got a job. I think it’s important for you to network, but you should network in person, not by emails."
mBuy - Boris Silver W'10
"This isn't about where I want to work when I graduate. This is about how I want to work. And something tells me its going to be with the same passion and feeling that I felt this summer."
MyCityWay - Ayako Ishikawa WG'14
"I got challenging spirit, flexibility to do anything, and the skill to tell the story. Working in a start-up won’t give you super specific skills (unless it is engineering type of internship), but will give you the chance to be well-rounded leader." - Rami Abou Jaoude WG'13
"To enjoy the experience, you need to be comfortable with uncertainty and with the prospect of working on something different every day. You need to be willing to ask for meaningful work that motivates you and keeps you excited."
Negative Underwear - Evangeline Giannopoulos C'18
As the days and weeks went by, the data analysis project I started off with would evolve and I would take on more and more projects, learn more and more logistical procedures.
Netmagic Solution - Tushar Aggarwal WG'11
"However if you have an appetite for risk and want to learn exponentially more during the summer, do consider working for a startup. Even if your goal is to be a professional for the rest of your life it is rare that you will ever get a chance to take a break from your career and work in an entrepreneurial setting."
NewsCred - Rachel Bassini WG'12
"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. 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."
Nomi - Deepa Mahajan WG'14
"Being focused, clear, and passionate about one or two things helps people help you – a number of Wharton students, undergrads, and friends helped connect me with experts in these spaces."
NxtFactor - Jun Yoo W'17
"I gained valuable insights for running my own business over the summer. I wanted to experience what it felt like to run a business and test whether or not a life of an entrepreneur was for me. It was daunting at first and I definitely struggled to learn the ropes but I thoroughly enjoyed the process. My outlook on my future career path is going to be more geared to becoming my own boss and pursuing my own business interests."
Olook - Thomas Baldwin WG'13
"Once you land that coveted startup internship, try to develop “domain expertise” in a particular area so that you have a more specific / relevant skillset to talk about in future discussions with entrepreneurs and founders."
Oncora Medical - Mitt Coats M'17
"My advice to students who want to get a lot out of the summer is to embrace the uncertainty and fully commit to your projects."
Onefinestay - John Wolfe WG'13
"The other major take away for me was how useful and applicable business school is to running a business. Business school and business school thinking absolutely helped me to break apart problems and understand the retailing dynamics."
OpGen - Vishnu Rachakonda ENG'18
"At the end of the day, all of what you do fits into broader industry movements. Understanding those can allow you to leverage your present position into a great internship or full time position the following year. "
Options Away - Mitch Krautkramer WG'16
"I actually fully appreciated the ability to chart new territory and lay the foundation for future “best-practices”. It is in this environment that you will be able to stretch yourself the most and have the most fruitful summer possible." - Aradhana Bali WG'10
"My advice is that you have to be comfortable in environment where you carve your own path. These environments then to be for those of you who are self-motivated, need little direction, and can get their hands dirty so-to-speak."
Paladin - Antione Gray C'17
Your work ethic will speak louder than the name of the school on your resume, so don't fall into the trap of believing that since you're smart, certain work is beneath you.
Peek - Kathleen Daugety WG'14
"My biggest takeaway from the summer was that CEOs need to be shameless about promoting their company and asking for things. Although Peek was less than a year old, in negotiations with airlines and hotel chains, the CEO assumed equal footing and was not afraid to walk away from agreements that would benefit the company in the short-term but not long-term."
pManifold - Clarke Hung W'14
"So you have to trust in something – gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever – because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart, even when it leads you off the well-worn path, and that will make all the difference.”
PopDeem - Daniel Cervoni W'16
"Sometimes, the hardest thing as an entrepreneur is know what to do next. When forming a startup, there is so much that needs to be done so quickly that sometimes you lose sight. Having this experience at Popdeem though has helped me navigate through the chaotic times successfully and be confident in my work."
PoverUP - Andrea Herrera C'14
"Once arriving to Penn, I hoped to find a venue in which I could get involved, and little would I know that only a few months later I would be a founding member of PoverUP."
PoverUp - Bianca Faccio C'14
"This experience, which tied aspects of essential communication and research skills, with aspects of international development and key topics in International Relations gave me the real world knowledge that will hopefully help me succeed in not only my academic but also future personal endeavors."
PoverUp- Celia Lewis W'14
"Moving forward, I’d say that while the start-up environment and experience demands some different strategies than those applicable to a more structured field."
Prayas Analytics - Pranay Sharma W'17
"I couldn’t have been happier with my time at Prayas and would wholeheartedly recommend getting involved with a small team at some point during your college career. It makes for some great lessons on being scrappy and cements some worthwhile relationships that will add to your college experience. "
Proper Cloth - Sheezan Bakali WG'10
" I learned a lot by having foregone a corporate internship for a start up experience. I learned about the kind of imagination, work ethic, and determination that an entrepreneur needs to keep things moving. I learned that I can be pretty creative, and I surprised myself when I realized that I am actually a good salesperson. Most importantly, I learned that I thrive in an environment with a bit of uncertainty."
PymWym - Adarsh Battu W’18
"Being at the table was an inspiring experience because I was able to see the questions that the VC was asking and how my boss would respond in a way to illustrate his vision as well as his business acumen. Being around my CEO was also a wonderful learning opportunity."
Quartet Health - Andrea Klestadt WG'17
Reflecting on experiences like this helped me realize the value of learning by doing; in some cases, the time spent (over) analyzing decisions before making them could be better spent by trying something out, seeing how it works, then iterating.
Regalii - Inigo Rumayor C'14
"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."
Rent the Runway - Taylor Duvall WG'11
"I learned a tremendous amount throughout the summer and am looking forward to watching ideas generated this summer launch in the months and years to come as Rent the Runway continues to grow and evolve consumers’ purchasing behavior."
Rentscene - Varun Jain ENG'19 W'19
"I learned how to be able to explain what I was doing abstractly so that the rest of the startup could understand what I was doing."
Retrevo - Dariush Afshar WG'09
"So for those of you who are set on working at larger multi-national companies for your Wharton MBA Summer, I urge you to explore the opportunities that await you in the start-up realm."
Ristcall - Kyle Su ENG'18
One of the largest takeaways I have from this summer is just how much time and effort is spent at startups trying to find target customers.
Rivian Automotive - Jonathan Nipper WG'12
"Looking back on the recruiting decision making process for the summer internship, my advice would be to just go for it. This will give you an experience that you simply can’t find in a large company."
Sabunta - Aziz Pabani W'13
"When I first reached Nigeria, I was only the second person on the ground. We were still a month away from launch so it was a great foray into the toil and hard work that go into launching a business from the ground up. By the time I left at the end of the summer, the company had grown to 70 employees, was in a brand new office, and the only remnants of these early days were the memories that stuck with us."
Sailo - Cheryl Feig ENG'19 W'19
"My main advice to anyone working at a start-up is to find one you can be passionate about, and make sure you are a good fit with the people!"
Schnipper's Quality Kitchen - Dana Scardigli WG'10
"One day, your head sandwich prep cook doesn’t show up without notice, the next you get dinged on your health inspection for holding milk one day past its expiry date. I also observed that the best way to handle these setbacks is to maintain a calm and composed demeanor and not allow emotions to overwhelm the situation."
SegundoHogar - Katie Kilborn WG'16
"Furthermore, even though he lived and breathed his company and how he could make sure it succeeded, he spent his time in a way that reflected his priorities. For example, when his daughter randomly came to town, he took off work for the day and took only the necessary calls from home. I think it is important to realize that, if done in excess, this can become problematic, but it was refreshing to be around someone who so genuinely lived out his values."
Seravia - Andrew Maywah WG'10
"My summer internship at Seravia in Beijing was simply awesome! I had an unforgettable experience and am psyched to be able to share a glimpse of that with you. At the time I got the internship offer, I could hardly believe the opportunity that was presented to me. I held the privilege of leading some of the most critical projects that Seravia was working on. Furthermore, the opportunity would be in China where I had always dreamed of working. This was simply too good to pass up, so I jumped at it." - Connie Wu WG'11
"In summary, a startup is really a place where you can see the business as a whole. You’ll be excited, you’ll be confused and/or frustrated, and you’ll impress a lot of people with your skills. Business school is probably the best time to experience the startup world."
Sidecar Interactive - Andrew Baltrus, C’19
Sidecar was no exception, my favorite non-work memory of the summer was getting to play soccer with the official Sidecar soccer team; Sidecar FC.
SixPlus - Kristin Li W'19
From the start, there was an open line of communication between the CEO, market heads, the Product Developer, and little ol’ me.
Slidejoy - Camille Jwo C'17
"Working at the same table as the cofounders of the company every day really helped me gain insight into the reasoning behind how they were developing the product and the company. Although I was a technology intern and spent my time coding, I also got to listen to our CEO, Rob, go over marketing with the marketing interns and would sometimes pitch in my thoughts. Such an open environment made it easy to learn about every aspect of a start-up. "
Slidejoy - Rachel Rubin C'17
"No day is exactly the same, and that’s one of the most valuable aspects of working at a start up."
SmartAsset - Vidya Dabir W'11/WG'17
I found that because this role was at a startup, I had more responsibility and ownership of the deal pipeline and execution.
SmartMEI - Henrique de Melo W'19
My experience at SmartMEI, in São Paulo, this past summer gave me a new perspective about being a co-founder at a startup.
SmartyPal - Jennifer Fisher WG'16
"On a more personal note, I enjoyed seeing the CEO (and founder) juggle her family and work life. Every now and then her son would stop into the office. Luckily, the product is aimed at his age, and he served as a valuable tester! Additionally, she would frequently step out to breastfeed her 2 month old baby. Yet, she was no less committed to the business and to pushing it forward. She worked quickly, but still reviewed each person’s work with a critical eye. She helped show that it was possible to start a blossoming company while having young children."
SmartyPal - Jessica Bisher WG'16
"As a startup, you sometimes need to move before you are ready. While I have a tendency to take a calculated and sometimes cautious approach, the CEO pushed the company forward."
SNOWE - Riad Hamade C'17 ENG'17
"I worked with an excellent team of smart, supportive and creative members. We all believed in the SNOWE brand, and worked together to ensure the growth of the startup."
Soletron - Jimmy Li W’14
"In the summer of 2012, I was lucky to have the chance to work for an ecommerce start-up named Soletron in Philadelphia. Founded at the end of 2010 as a social networking and ecommerce platform in the streetwear apparel industry, Soletron identifies both domestic and international designers and creates a venue for both buyers and brands."
Streetline- Jimmy Kwon W'16
"The people at True Ventures are the most genuine people I have met, and I learned a lot about venture capital. At the same time, the structure of the program meant that we could not be 100% fully immersed at the portfolio company that we were working at. That said, I am incredibly grateful for the experience I got, both from the venture capital and startup side of things."
SustainX - Stevan Jovanovic WG'13
"SustainX was my top choice out of all the energy storage companies, so I looked long and hard for a possible connection, but struggled to find one. I decided to cold call and talked to the VP of business development. He asked me to send him my resume, we talked about possible projects, and eventually I got the offer."
SwiftIQ - Emma Hong C'17
"I found the flexibility of startup life very refreshing. Decisions were made quickly with the expectation of trial-and-error. I had potential projects outlined for me before the start of the internship, but as the weeks progressed, tasks changed as company priorities changed. It was amazing to be involved with new product development firsthand- starting with hearing client concerns on calls regarding usability to a demo of new features that addressed those exact concerns a few weeks later."
Takkle - Devin Griffin WG'09
"I learned more than I thought possible about the myriad websites designed to encourage shameless flirting, blind dating, and playing online games at work. What's most striking is that some of the silliest, most basic websites make really, really good money."
Tesorio - Fabio Fleitas ENG'16
"I really loved the startup and the people there, and since I’ve always wanted to build my own startup, I thought it would be great to continue working on Tesorio as a co-founder. Now we’re in the middle of raising money for the startup and I’m extremely happy to have had the opportunity over the summer and to continue working here. I’m grateful for this opportunity as am I now living my dream at Penn."
Tesorio - Steven Finn WG'16
"I craved a fast paced, cutting edge, iterative environment and more day-today variation in my responsibilities. I knew I wouldn’t find it in a large established company. I came to Wharton knowing that I would either work for a start-up or start one myself."
The Honest Co. -Gina Hwang WG'13
"One thing I learned from this experience was that although it’s not truly necessary to have a technical background to be a product manager, it is extremely helpful and more efficient if you have some knowledge which has inspired me to study a little coding in my free time."
thredUP - Saul Gorman WG'16
"Going into the summer, I was looking for exposure to the operational side of a young, ecommerce company. thredUP seemed like a perfect fit: based in the Bay Area, they were buying and selling used clothes, and they were growing quickly. "
Ticketleap - Diana Kattan W'12
"It’s exactly 7:30 pm and you brought your date to the ravishing dinner party Tiffany has planned for her husband’s, Ted Sterling, 50th birthday. You are all sitting down at the dinner table enjoying a delicious meal when all of a sudden you hear a chilling scream coming from one of the back rooms. Puzzled, you all run to the library… only to find a dead body lying on the embroidered carpet."
Tidal - Chubi Nwagbara WG'13
" Internship may not be the right word, as working in an entrepreneurial environment is hardly structured or formal, and often, unpaid or little pay. Working with startups for the summer is truly what you make of it. It’s an opportunity to see the inner workings of startup environments and to help out in any way you can. I worked as a Business Development reaching out to alumni and other professionals in the digital media industry. As the summer progressed, and I learned more about the business, I took the lead in setting up meetings and pitching Tidal’s product to prospective clients. I also attended networking events to get the company’s name out there. In addition to the Business Development role, I also worked independently to retool Tidal’s financial projections, to enable better company decision-making. I attended a Building Financial Projections for Startups, and appended that to my finance experience. I was able to leverage this experience for my internship, and will also take the knowledge to my startup venture."
Twine Labs - Somil Govani ENG'20
"During my time at Twine, I was able to make a lot of key decisions about how to implement a particular solution and when I saw fit I could make the improvements and audits necessary for a better product"
Umeng - Jeffrey Wu WG'13
"What I loved about my summer internships was the freedom to work on virtually any project and the ability to make a meaningful impact in any part of the business. It was both terrifying and exciting but exactly what I was looking for from a start-up internship. When you’re put into an early-stage, start-up setting where every decision could make or break the company, you learn to be much more confident and to quickly pick up any learning or skillset necessary to make it work."
Updater logo
Updater Inc - Charles Wetherbee W'15
" In short—keep an open mind, and view every project you have as an opportunity to learn, grow, and make a key contribution. Sometimes you need to carve a great opportunity out of something you initially view as a simple task or an experimental project."
Venmo - Esther Jang WG'14
"I almost decided to not return to Wharton for my 2nd year and to join Venmo full time. It was an amazing experience, and I can’t think of a better way to have spent my summer. But this is likely the last time I will ever get to be a full time student, so I’m back at Wharton doing a semester in San Francisco, and savoring every minute of it!"
Venmo - Zachary Dennett WG'13
"I really enjoyed working at Venmo. Partially I liked the work and the product. But, the company culture contributed greatly. Venmo did a few things very well. First, there was a general attitude of getting things done efficiently. For example, if an engineer wanted to make a product tweak, he would basically code up the change and show it to others rather than spend a lot of time beforehand discussing with committees whether the change should be made"
Venueline - Julie Chenge W'14
"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."
VeryApt - Alisha Jain W'19
I got everything I wanted out of it- to foster meaningful connections with the people I worked for, and to learn more about marketing and the business industry as a whole in case I ever decide to start a company of my own.
VeryApt - Jason Reaves WG'15
"Now that school’s back in full swing and I’ve caught up with what others did over the summer, I am truly appreciative that I had the opportunity to work at a start-up in Philadelphia. Sure, it may not sound as sexy as having worked at a startup in SF, or even having tried banking or consulting, but I can honestly say the experience was impactful, I learned a ton, and I had a great, balanced summer trying something completely new."
VeryApt - Ruhan Jay Bora W’19
This summer was a very enlightening one for me as I came to realize that marketing is my real passion in life, and that working for a startup is a wonderful option for people like me who want something more than the typical desk job.
VeryApt - Wendy Zhou C'18
With VeryApt this summer, I was able to utilize my photography skills in a way that allowed me to both grow professionally as well as exercise my artistic eye.
VideoEgg - Nathaniel Turner W'08
"Nearing the end of my internship experience, I was eager to see the auction product through and not miss a beat. For several weeks I strongly considered deferring my junior year of college to stay at VideoEgg and help lead the project. Not only would I gain even more invaluable experience, but I had also made many friends at VideoEgg and had fallen in love with the environment. The entire team was very helpful and encouraging. While my ultimate decision was to return to school, I strongly believe that there was no true wrong decision. At the end of the day, I knew I had just as much to gain from being at school, and had gained something that wouldn’t change from my internship. I had fallen in love with the start-up lifestyle in the Valley, from playing basketball at 2am to tirelessly pitching a company to investors, and am fairly decided on where I want to end up after I graduate."
Wanderfly and Voomza - Allison Berliner WG'13
"At Voomza I worked on two main projects: developing a user acquisition strategy and benchmarking convertible debt term sheets. Since I knew nothing about either of these topics going in, I spent the first few weeks on the job doing research and talking to people at other startups. I also went to a few sessions at General Assembly, which was helpful. Overall, I was struck by the fact that there didn’t seem to be much that couldn’t be self-taught in a short time period. There are a ton of great resources out there, and I think that when you work at a startup you just have to be good at finding them. I was also struck by the fact that user acquisition and marketing is a much tougher game than people realize when thinking of starting a consumer facing website. No matter how viral you think your site is, it’s just really hard to get people to sign up for a new thing."
Warby Parker - Nicole Schumacher WG'11
" also learned that when I do start my own company, it will be extremely important for me to create a community for myself. As an extrovert, the hardest part of my summer was the occasional feeling that I was on an island. It was very challenging (and very different from a corporate environment) when I was unable to physically meet up with the founder or team, or when there was a business question that I had no resources to answer. I think it would be easy to feel all alone working on your passion and finding ways to create a community will clearly be my lifeline. I will definitely only start a business with a co-founder, I will ensure to have frequent meetings with advisors, will attempt to share office space with other entrepreneurs, and generally, will engage in the entrepreneurial community of my city regardless of how busy I am. Overall, I can’t wait to land on my business idea and get started, and I’m glad that my summer was able to validate my life’s direction."
WeatherBill - Christopher O'Connell WG'12
"The type of leadership that guides these goals to completion is invaluable in any start-up. Fortunately, I was able to experience this in a very interesting phase of the company that will undoubtedly have a bright future."
Wedding Spot - Julia Zhu W'17
"One of the most enjoyable aspects of my internship was the UX design, as there is a special place in my heart for good visual aesthetics. Here’s the catch though - I had no previous experience, no Photoshop, and no Illustrator. So to say the least, I was quite surprised and a bit nervous when I was first told to make wireframes with little guidance or instruction. I tried my best, and by the end of the summer I had created wireframes for effective lead generation and wireframes for efficient lead management, which any real designer would laugh at, but I definitely had fun getting the experience."
WeGardn - Zachary Hay C'18
"I enjoyed the long term nature of this project as opposed to the weekly programming assignments of computer science classes at Penn."
WellSheet - Michael Ruan W'18
My manager this summer ensured that I was directly involved in almost every project and contributing to the company’s foremost objectives.
Wellsheet - Wei-Yin Ko GEN'17
Ultimately the experience is incredibly rewarding as I got the chance to see and learn the entire vertical from development to business and how the needs from these 2 sides translate to one another.
Wellspring Healthcare Pvt - Rachna Bahadur WG'13
"I came away having seen and done more than I had hoped – most important of which was the chance to not only have access to the upper management that makes strategic choices (as in my previous job as a consultant) but also to see how those choices have an impact on the day to day workings of a company. Each piece of work was an important part of the puzzle- both impactful as well as necessary. The experience of the work/lifestyle and challenges have equipped me better for a time when I might launch my own business. For now, I am back at Wharton and have resumed my classes."
WeTrain - Mary Whiting W'19
I loved performing client-facing jobs as I discovered that our users are ecstatic about their training experiences at WeTrain and I was motivated to make sure that I could help it succeed in every way possible.
Whole Biome - Radhika Gupta C'19 W'19
"The most rewarding part of the work was seeing the integration of computer science and tech into a biological innovation pipeline to automate and optimize processes ranging from data collection and data analysis to manufacturing of the product (a pill)"
Wiggio - Sanjay Hariharan C'12
"Overall, I loved my summer experience with Wiggio. The internship taught me many valuable lessons about running a company, managing other employees, and how to brand your product and make it unique in front of competitors. I would highly recommend any Penn student interested in start-up experience to work at Wiggio, as the team was very nice, helpful, and I still keep in touch with them."
WomenElect -Katlyn Grasso W'15
"After working with WomenElect, the only career path I can see myself pursuing is that of an entrepreneur. I was excited to go to work every day because I felt that my contributions to the company were helping to advance the role of women in politics. Due to the support of Wharton Entrepreneurship, I was able to refine my entrepreneurial abilities and push the boundaries of social impact innovation. Currently, I am developing a female empowerment start-up for high school girls to raise awareness about leadership development."
Zaption - Kunal Nayyar WG'16
"I’m two weeks into my grand experiment for the summer: an internship at Zaption, a seed-funded education technology (edtech) startup that’s making video learning interactive. The goal of this experiment, like that of most internships, is to learn about a new type of work and figure out how I like it. The experiment isn’t particularly well-designed, in that so many variables have changed relative to my previous job—but so far it’s been illuminating and fun in a variety of ways." - Marina Nasarova WG'11
"The summer flew by very quickly and I was able to take 2 weeks off in the middle of my internship to get married, which would not have been possible if I were to work for a traditional large corporation. Having the ability to interact daily with the key decision-makers within Zecozi, watch the concept for the start-up evolve with some aspects becoming more prominent than others, I learned to make decisions on the fly and alter the knowledge I received from my core classes at Wharton to fit the very specific mold of a start-up. Most importantly, the challenge of working in an uncertain environment and being the boss and the judge of my own projects has been a wonderful learning experience!" - Gregory Friedman WG'07
"Working at a Zillow is not for everybody. If you have distaste for air hockey in the office, fancy wearing wing toes to work, and have no patience for constantly explaining your company business model to other MBAs, I would not endorse this career path. But I encourage those who are interested in entrepreneurship, yet not quite ready to start your own thing, to take a chance and spend the summer with a startup. Corporate America will always be there when you get back."
Zinier - Mark Grenader M&T'19
"That direct understanding in turn guides one’s views on the key factors involved in marketing decisions. You develop an understanding of the development process that doesn’t fully come across when working only on the engineering side or strictly on business."
Zola - Andrew Giacomi WG'16
"Do your research, finding a startup that interests you and where you think you can really add value is half the battle. Also, never be afraid to reach out to someone when you find a company you like."