Vidya Dabir W’11/WG’17 interned at SmartAsset in New York City, NY

2016 Startup Internship Award Winner Supported by The Dr. William Zucker Entrepreneurship Internship Fund

This past summer I had the opportunity to work at a fintech startup called SmartAsset (www.smartasset.com). SmartAsset provides free, robust personal finance tools and calculators which it monetizes through ads on site and by distributing these tools and calculators as widgets. I wanted to work at a fast growing start up in business development in order to gain sourcing, partnerships and negotiations skills. I was able to find this position at SmartAsset by asking for introductions through LinkedIn connections that had direct connections with upper management at the company.

While at SmartAsset, one of my responsibilities within business development included reaching out to various sized publishers to come up with an agreement that allowed the SmartAsset tools and calculators to be placed onto the publishers’ sites as widgets beside relevant content. This agreement would increase engagement and monetization (through ads attached to the widgets) for both the publishers and SmartAsset because those reading personal finance related content were more likely to interact with the tools.

I was able to help close agreements with over 60 publishers during the summer. I found that because this role was at a startup, I had more responsibility and ownership of the deal pipeline and execution. I was trusted to come up with sourcing methods, cold calling/emailing potential partners, running email A/B tests, pitching to partners and negotiating revenue terms of agreements. This role also gave me exposure to sales as I worked very closely with the ad sales team to ensure there was enough inventory and the appropriate partners for the advertisers.

I would highly recommend SmartAsset and this internship for anyone interested in understanding the ins and outs of a fast growing tech start up. It has great exposure to upper management who were very transparent in their goals for the company as well as fundraising and growth. My advice to anyone planning to intern at SmartAsset in the future, is to make sure you have a clear idea of what you are trying to gain from the internship (functional experience, various team exposure, etc.) so that you can work with the company to shape your internship accordingly.