VIP Practicum
VIP Practicum is designed for students with an interest in working at an early-stage venture, particularly as one of the first employees or in joining an early-stage venture as a co-founder.


Applications Closed



Listed below are projects for the Fall 2022 Semester.


Questions? Email Valentina Goutorova.
What You'll Learn
VIP-Fellowship is an opportunity for students to learn about startup life, be educated about critical concepts in venture creation, and apply skills learned in their entrepreneurship and innovation classes to a specific project connected to a student-founded venture in Venture Lab’s Venture Initiation Program (VIP).

VIP Fellows commit to a project with a VIP venture for one semester (approximately 10 weeks/ 10 hours per week). As this fellowship is educational in nature and for the student’s benefit, all VIP Fellows are unpaid. Students also can participate in VIP workshops, bootcamps, and advising sessions alongside founders.

The program is open to all Penn and Wharton students.
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Penn acts as a great mechanism to vet the talent with whom you will work, and because of this, Penn is able to churn out successful startup after successful startup.

Featured Companies

BotWizie
BotWizie is an algorithmic curation engine focused on essential products, aiming to become the “kayak” shopping platform for essential products.


  • What is unique about your venture and why would someone want to work with you? How will your company provide a good experience for the VIP Fellow?

The essential products space is prime for disruption based on inherent comparability of products, i.e. unit prices and product reviews can be incorporated into a curation algorithm. No such offering currently exists in the marketplace to our knowledge. By working with major retailers such as Walmart and Amazon, BotWizie’s mission is to build and popularize an engine which would save customers time and money. BotWizie is looking for a VIP fellow who can lead the popularization aspect as well as be involved in the build part. The VIP Fellow is to lead all aspects of marketing including SEO, digital marketing, social media, influencer marketing. To the extent the VIP fellow is interested in helping build the site, there will be opportunities for back-end and front-end work.


  • What stage of venture implementation are you currently in? What is your next milestone and how will you achieve it? How can your fellow help make an impact?

A functional website already exists: botwizie.com. Botwizie has been accepted into the Walmart affiliate marketing program and is working on joining the Amazon affiliate marketing program (called Amazon Associates). The site is currently focused on toothpaste as the first product category. The next milestone is to market the site with toothpaste products. After the marketing campaign, learnings will be applied towards an expanded list of products.


  • What skills and attributes are you looking for in a VIP Fellow?

The role requires SEO and digital marketing skills and/or interest as well as passion for start-up work, technology, and e-commerce. Technology skills are a plus.

Card Curator
Card Curator empowers consumers to make smarter spending decisions with their credit cards and earn more loyalty points for free travel and other lucrative benefits.

  • What is unique about your venture and why would someone want to work with you? How will your company provide a good experience for the VIP Fellow?

I started this company with my dad because we both love to travel, and after our combined 30 years in finance, we saw how we could also help people do what we love. I became interested in the points and miles space as a volatility trader in NYC, where I certainly wasn’t maximizing my spending, but soon learned how to travel in luxury around the world for next-to-free. By 2018, I left my job to start Card Curator, an app that fully automates everything I know, with what the banks don’t want you to know.

Our company necessitates curious minds. Card Curator has a small, global, and motivated team that values individual input. We have advisors from Atlassian, IBM, as well as serial entrepreneurs in Austin, San Francisco, New York, and London; developers in Toronto and Johannesburg; and executives in Philadelphia and New York City. We have successfully raised $500k in pre-seed funding in Dec 2020, and $800k in Angel funding in April 2022. We are live on the App Store and Google Play Store, and are launching our first B2B partnerships by the start of September!

Our business is constantly evolving as COVID has permanently changed the market environment for both travel and credit. While this creates new challenges, it also provides us with many new opportunities to test novel ideas and expand where our limited competition cannot.

  • What stage of venture implementation are you currently in? What is your next milestone and how will you achieve it? How can your fellow help make an impact?

As our team is so geographically diverse, we have been working remotely since day one, and we have flexible work hours. Despite this geographic dispersion, we are a tight-knit team and help each other. We are driven to make Card Curator a success, and we also understand that everyone has a life, so we encourage a healthy work-life balance. As our VIP Fellow, we know that you have a full class load, and we only ask for 10 hours a week at most. We use a variety of platforms to stay in touch and keep track of our progress.

We have had 12 wonderful VIP Fellows since the fall of 2020, most of whom are stay on for multiple semesters! They all contributed significantly to Card Curator, while they learned valuable new skills and grew personally.

We are in the growth phase. We have officially launched on both the App Store and Play Store and will be releasing the 3.0 premium version in Q4 of this year! We are now pushing partnerships to acquire more quality deals, and thus users, while still focusing on the data analytics and feedback they provide.

Our next milestone is to add to our two existing B2B2C partnerships and continue to expand our user base. We want to covert our current users and new ones to 15,000 weekly actives before the end of the year!

We want to maximize our focus on fixes, tweaks, and new development driven by the feedback and data analytics we receive from the new users.

Our fellows will be the go-to people for data analytics, marketing (via newsletters, blogger partnerships, etc.), customer acquisition, and customer retention strategies. We are heavily focused on data analytics and want it to drive our marketing decisions. We have a variety of other tools and services we are using to help on the analytics front including: AppsFlyer, Segment, Amplitude.

We are also always looking for more technical skills as well to help contribute to our advanced web scraper which keeps our database up to date! Our previous fellows helped us on both the marketing side, as well as automated testing on the front and backend of the mobile app.

  • What skills and attributes are you looking for in a VIP Fellow?

We are looking for VIP Fellows who are excited by consumer-tech and love to travel. We are looking for previous data analytics or marketing experience either personally or professionally. We are also looking for strong technical skills, preferably with experience coding in Python. We also want someone who loves to take initiative, and would strongly consider joining our team full-time!
Commonvest
Commonvest is democratizing alternative investments, making venture capital, private equity, and real estate accessible to any investor regardless of accreditation status.

  • What is unique about your venture and why would someone want to work with you? How will your company provide a good experience for the VIP Fellow?

We believe in the democratization of finance and giving everyone equal opportunities to access some of the best performing asset classes. Previously, only the top 10% of households in America could invest in private equity, venture capital, and real estate, three asset classes that have consistently outperformed the S&P by a wide margin.

Our goal is to close the wealth gap by opening up these asset classes to everyone. As part of a diverse portfolio, our investors will realize stronger, long-term returns. We are working with several law firms to ensure that everything we do is within the current financial regulations set forward by the SEC, bringing more legitimacy to us than to many of our competitors.

We have not hosted any VIP Fellows yet, but we have several projects that could provide a great learning opportunity for those of you interested in marketing, growth, and web development!

  • What stage of venture implementation are you currently in? What is your next milestone and how will you achieve it? How can your fellow help make an impact?

This summer, we launched our MVP, a very small pilot fund that we raised from a group of small, non-accredited investors. We will invest in several startups of various stages and potentially several real-estate deals as well. We will use this as the proof point to raise a round of capital to build a much larger scale fund.

We have a few milestones that we hope to achieve within the next year.

1. Grow our waitlist by 2x by the end of the year

2. Build a cohesive marketing strategy that encompasses social, digital, partnerships, and events to drive engagement from both consumers and potential business partners.

3. Build a strong SEO strategy that is sustainable and allows us to capture our desired keywords.

4. Optimize our website and integrate a living waitlist functionality.

If you join our team, you will own one of these projects end to end and be fully independent to explore your own ideas and experiments. We will help provide guidance and have weekly check-ins, while also helping execute alongside you on the strategy developed.

  • What skills and attributes are you looking for in a VIP Fellow?

We are looking for self-starters who are passionate about fintech and building financial equality first and foremost. Secondarily, you should want to gain experience in marketing, web design, and SEO. No prior experience is necessary, but it is helpful. We want people who are willing to think differently and dive deep into different subjects. Coming in with an experimental mindset is also important; we want to learn what works and what doesn't work! We will consider all of our Fellows for extended internships and full time roles based on our future fundraising.
Chirp
Chirp is an app for busy students and post-grads to navigate conflicting schedules and make plans happen.

  • What is unique about your venture and why would someone want to work with you? How will your company provide a good experience for the VIP Fellow?

Chirp is the only uniquely gen-z catered app for making plans. It makes scheduling and choosing activities/options quick, simple, and fun - incorporating gamification into the decision-making process. I’m currently in the stages of prototyping in preparations for development and release, which I hope to get onto this fall semester. Chirp offers those who are looking to gain real-life experience in app development a really exciting opportunity - of developing from scratch and then making iterations based on user feedback. If you’re looking for a chance to apply your engineering knowledge and help create something that ultimately might even benefit you and those around you, this is the venture for you.

  • What stage of venture implementation are you currently in? What is your next milestone and how will you achieve it? How can your fellow help make an impact?

I am currently developing a high-fidelity prototype for the app based on user research, design principles, and feedback from testing. The next milestone would be for the designs to undergo development towards MVP - hopefully with the help of Venture Fellows or other local talent.

I’m looking for a driven and talented Fellow with app development knowledge, who’s excited about Chirp.

  • What skills and attributes are you looking for in a VIP Fellow?

I am in search of someone with strong technical skills. Considering how early stage this project is, adaptability and excellent communication are other traits I’m seeking.
DetoXyFi
DetoXyFi, a Wharton/Harvard/MIT co-founder led early-stage startup, is building affordable, sustainable, household water filtration devices using waste wood to enable people in the US, India, and across the world get access to clean drinking water.

  • What is unique about your venture and why would someone want to work with you? How will your company provide a good experience for the VIP Fellow?

Three things make us unique— our team, our patent-pending technology, and our social mission focused approach. Our team consists of seasoned entrepreneurs, enthusiastic champions for the cause from policy, engineering, business, and beyond. We have participated in the VIP Fellow program last year as well and understand what we can give to a fellow and what a fellow can contribute to the venture and its purpose. If you are interested in helping people live healthier lives by getting good quality water in the US and across the world, we could sure use your help and contribute to your growth as well. We will be primarily providing projects around strategy, fundraising, design, client management, research, and such. You can expect all members of our team to be hands on deck with you.

  • What stage of venture implementation are you currently in? What is your next milestone and how will you achieve it? How can your fellow help make an impact?

DetoXyFi is a startup founded by graduates from Wharton/Harvard/MIT. At DetoXyFi, we’ve been working to build water filter pitchers for the 3 billion people with scarce water access around the world. We convert waste wood that is no longer needed by industry into sustainable water filters aimed to be able to filter, for the first time ever, metals, chemicals, plastics, PFAS, bacteria, virus, and protozoa without the use of electricity. The technology is based on 12 years of research and has been field tested in India, USA, Uganda, Madagascar. We recently won five awards across UPenn and Harvard recently so that we could fund initial manufacturing. We also recently secured a spot in the NSF I-Corps program operating out of Princeton.

These awards include winning the Jacobson Social Impact Prize as well as the Runner’s Up award at the Penn Startup Challenge 2022. More on that here.

Current status:
We’re looking to fundraise grants to complete industrial development by December 2022 in the US. We expect to have our product ready by December 2022 for launch in early 2023. Of course this requires industrial research to be made possible on multiple fronts as well as customer discovery/go-to-market planning to take place simultaneously.


  • What skills and attributes are you looking for in a VIP Fellow?

Enthusiasm and a willingness to learn. Someone who is willing to put his/her head down and work in a collaborative, respectful work environment.
Diaspora Health
Diaspora Health is an early-stage healthcare company aimed at enabling immigrants and members of the diaspora community the ability to provide world-class primary care to their loved ones living in emerging markets through innovative home visits and telemedicine. Finally… modern care comes home.



  • What is unique about your venture and why would someone want to work with you? How will your company provide a good experience for the VIP Fellow?

Common sense tells us that emerging market economies should have sub-standard levels of healthcare compared to developed countries. However, we reject this notion. Diaspora Health aims to reimagine and revolutionize the way that healthcare is delivered in emerging markets. We leverage the immense potential of diaspora communities to fund world-class healthcare delivery for loved-ones back in their native countries using both at-home care visits and remote telemedicine-based care.

What we aim to achieve is truly special. Working with Diaspora Health as an early team member will afford members an incredible opportunity to play a hugely influential role in a dynamic, and rapidly growing company from the seed stage. Fellows will have the opportunity to work on all aspects of a start-up healthcare company including strategy, product management and development, marketing, and operations.

Additionally, as a previous founder of a peer-mentorship company and a current Emergency Medicine Physician, I am also excited to welcome new team members that are new to healthcare entrepreneurship / entrepreneurship in general, and mentor them in their own future career ambitions. All accepted Fellows for Diaspora Health are welcomed in like family and can expect to receive a signed letter of recommendation from myself as well as from Physician members of the Diaspora Health family.



  • What stage of venture implementation are you currently in? What is your next milestone and how will you achieve it? How can your fellow help make an impact?

We are currently an early-stage company that is working on refining, testing, and piloting our product. We follow a hypothesis driven workflow where we design, build, test, and iterate on solutions. Our next big milestone will be launching our first pilot with real patients in The Gambia and Senegal by the end of this year (aim to trial 50 patients). Fellows will take center stage in this role and create longstanding impact by directly taking ownership over various projects within the company.



  • What skills and attributes are you looking for in a VIP Fellow?

Strategy:

• Forging connections and approval from Foreign healthcare ministries

• Refining Go-to-market strategy

Product Management and Development:

• Designing care-visit workflow for home visit and telemedicine providers

• Working with EMR platform to implement and test designed workflow

Technology / Engineering:

• Optimizing and designing website and EMR platform interface

• Working with EMR platform to ensure patient privacy and HIPAA compliance

Marketing

• Optimizing marketing strategy to build brand awareness

Divulge Alliance, Inc.
Divulge Alliance, Inc., a youth-led social justice nonprofit dedicated to teaching intercultural allyship to young people of different communities through our allyship training framework.


  • What is unique about your venture and why would someone want to work with you? How will your company provide a good experience for the VIP Fellow?

Our company is unique in the following ways:

We focus on social justice, community impact, and youth activism

We are a legally registered not-for-profit business

We have appointed a Board of Directors consisting of experienced industry experts, rather than just students

We (already) have a noteworthy online presence

We intend to (very soon) provide pay for Executive Team members and afterwards other national company roles

We already have existing connections with key stakeholders

  • What stage of venture implementation are you currently in? What is your next milestone and how will you achieve it? How can your fellow help make an impact?

We have completed a pre-seed stage consisting of grant funds from multiple
sources, including Kelly Writers House’s Creative Ventures Capital Prize. Using our current funds and partnerships, we intend to pursue more grant funds and undergo a multi-stage venture validation process, which will include piloting our novel allyship training workshop to a group of (high school and/or college-aged) youth living in Philadelphia and connecting with potential customers. By working
with us during this process, a fellow would:

Accounting Fellow— revise our budgeting and spending records and process to ensure that we are prepared to manage our funds as we begin to attract donations and revenue.

Fundraising Fellow— pinpoint fundraising opportunities and help
implement strategies (events, grant applications, etc.) to attract more funding for the company as a whole.

Marketing Fellow— conduct market research and implement strategies to boost virtual engagement across all company platforms to ensure that we continue to attract future customers as well as increase the monetization
status of our social profiles.

Chapter Management Fellow— develop materials to sustainably guide chapter leaders and develop a chapter establishment process for the company to implement to ensure that local efforts have strong national support and that the company can continue expanding in the future.

Blog Management Fellow— help relaunch our blog, attract new writers, review submitted articles, and supervise publications to help us further connect with our audience and boost our online presence.

  • What skills and attributes are you looking for in a VIP Fellow?

For the aforementioned projects, we at the very least expect applicants to have a passion for diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) work, in addition to being
practitioners of intercultural allyship in their everyday lives. For those applicants
who wish for an advantage in this process, we would like to see the following skills and attributes:

Accounting Fellow— experience with creating and managing spreadsheets,
experience with an organizational budget, and eagerness to learn more about key areas of weakness. While not required, we would also prefer someone with experience handling a budget of $5k+

Fundraising Fellow— experience with storytelling, public speaking, and applying academic research to a given project

Marketing Fellow— experience with managing social media platforms,
eagerness to learn more about key areas of weakness, and the ability to apply academic research to a given project

Chapter Management Fellow— no experience necessary, but graphic design experience is preferred

Blog Management Fellow— no experience necessary, but interest in writing and visual art is preferred
DrownAlert
DrownAlert is an underwater swimming pool camera that uses computer vision to detect when someone is drowning and alerts bystanders to save them.

  • What is unique about your venture and why would someone want to work with you? How will your company provide a good experience for the VIP Fellow?

We're solving a very real problem: drowning is the leading cause of death in kids age 1-4. Parents spend $$$ protecting their kids from all sorts of dangers and are willing to spend on pool safety, especially when there aren't great solutions out there. I've been obsessed with the swimming pool market and its FB communities this past month to try and further empathize with what parents need in a safety solution. This will be a good experience for you because you'll be working alongside my obsessiveness and I'm at a stage of rapid prototyping, so lots of time spent building/iterating in the "lab".

  • What stage of venture implementation are you currently in? What is your next milestone and how will you achieve it? How can your fellow help make an impact?

Pre-prototype. Next goal: get one MVP into a residential pool to receive constant stream of feedback. Will achieve this by building the scrappiest version of a camera and computer vision model. You can help by brainstorming ways to further scope down the MVP so that we build it sooner.

  • What skills and attributes are you looking for in a VIP Fellow?

Computer vision/ML knowledge. You'd also have the opportunity to join as a co-founder if there's a fit.
EarlyPi
EarlyPi is social media to help plan your event with friends, family or within people sharing the same interests

  • What is unique about your venture and why would someone want to work with you? How will your company provide a good experience for the VIP Fellow?

EarlyPi is "another" social media. So, we need to have a strong strategy to be able to attract users and make them want to use the app. As a VIP Fellow, you will be able to nurture yourself with a launch of an idea. Moreover, you can get onboarding with the whole process and learn all parts of the life of a startup. We will work hand in hand to make EarlyPi a success.

In addition, Fellows will be allowed to use their work as part of a student project if needed.


  • What stage of venture implementation are you currently in? What is your next milestone and how will you achieve it? How can your fellow help make an impact?

EarlyPi is at an early stage. An MVP will be out in September. And some tests will be conducted until the end of the year. We hope to pitch as much as possible to raise enough money to build the venture.
We are looking for Fellows to help:
• with the maintenance of the app and the development of new features
• with the marketing strategy


  • What skills and attributes are you looking for in a VIP Fellow?

We are looking for
• Developers: Currently, we are working on an MVP (flutter, Google firebase). We need people to maintain the app. Moreover, we have many features in mind and we hope that developers can contribute to add these features.
• Marketing students: We need people to design and test marketing ideas. The beauty of EarlyPi is that we want to launch in 3 different countries so it can be interesting to get that exposure.

EmployAI
EmployAI is a no-code machine learning tool that provides business users with easy-to-understand insights.


  • What is unique about your venture and why would someone want to work with you? How will your company provide a good experience for the VIP Fellow?

EmployAI is an innovative solution within the fast-growing Applied ML/AI space. Enterprises today are collecting more data than ever before but many do not have the time, resources, or skills to drive strategy and insights from the data. EmployAI solves this problem by providing organizations with an automated data scientist that proactively identifies anomalies in your metrics and tells you what causes these changes.

Our co-founders have a combined 10+ years of experience in strategy consulting, software engineering/technology, and startups. We have a blend of technical and business skills that we are excited to share with fellows. We also have extensive management experience and will act as mentors and coaches to our VIP fellows to ensure they are learning and growing through their experience.

  • What stage of venture implementation are you currently in? What is your next milestone and how will you achieve it? How can your fellow help make an impact?

We have validated the concept through conversations with 30+ potential customers and have signed some initial consulting contracts. We are currently building out our MVP in conjunction with an initial customer.

Our goal is to grow the pipeline of customers throughout the fall semester and launch our MVP. Fellows will be able to make an impact in product, business development, market research and more.

  • What skills and attributes are you looking for in a VIP Fellow?

We are looking for people who are excited about the intersection of machine learning and business strategy. We are open to a variety of backgrounds as long as fellows are willing to dive into new challenges and learn.

We are looking for fellows interested in a few different areas:

Engineering:
-Focus on full stack development
- Build out initial data integrations

Product:
- Define product roadmap
- Implement and test various user workflows

Business Dev and Strategy:
- Outreach to prospective customers
- Develop initial pricing and packaging
- Explore potential key partnerships

Ensemble Space Labs
Ensemble Space Labs is a NASA-backed space tech venture that provides data and software as a service to mitigate space-weather threats to satellites, communication systems, airplanes, and other infrastructure.

  • What is unique about your venture and why would someone want to work with you? How will your company provide a good experience for the VIP Fellow?

Ensemble is a first mover in the market for real-time space weather analytics products with direct impacts on the emerging low earth orbit economy, satellite constellation maintenance, and US national security. You will join a team of ex-NASA engineers, physicists, and data scientists in a high-paced, fully virtual work environment with the ability to immediately impact product design and engineering decisions. This will be an excellent experience for entrepreneurially minded software development or aerospace students interested in building a software-as-a-service business in the new space sector.

  • What stage of venture implementation are you currently in? What is your next milestone and how will you achieve it? How can your fellow help make an impact?

We are in the process of raising a round of venture funding. Ensemble has raised over $1.2 MM in R&D grant funding from NASA and The Puerto Rico Science, Technology & Research Trust. Our next major milestone will be securing our first Air Force contract and expanding the commercial users of our real-time atmospheric density and developing our 3D interactive dashboard with a live flythrough visualization of the International Space Station (ISS). The Fellow/VIP Practicum participant will help design this product, identify technical issues, and shape the sales and go to market strategy for the Real-Time 3D interactive dashboard.

• What skills and attributes are you looking for in a VIP Fellow?

We are looking for an individual with a blend of entrepreneurial passion and technical background in aeronautics, data science, and/or software development. The individual should be able to quickly learn new concepts and bring a sound point of view to product and engineering decisions based on their technical experience and knowledge. A genuine interest in space physics, astrophysics, space weather, the space economy, and government / military applications is desired. Prior experience with Python, advanced interpolation techniques, and data wrangling is desired but not required.


EYEX Vision
EYEX Vision is the first all-in-one AI SaaS solution that revolutionizes diagnostic imaging by leveraging existing diagnostic imaging hardware into a doctor's current workflow.


  • What is unique about your venture and why would someone want to work with you? How will your company provide a good experience for the VIP Fellow?

Because of the early-stage company, you would have the opportunity to help us to design the product. Market validation would be part of the experience, getting potential customers' feedback and how this would impact the final product. You will be part of the needs that an early-stage startup needs to fundraise, as well as the commercial insights.

You will work directly with founders, be part of the strategic decision-making and witness the process and development of an MVP and its market validation closely by the time you are a VIP Fellow.


  • What stage of venture implementation are you currently in? What is your next milestone and how will you achieve it? How can your fellow help make an impact?

MVP, Product development, and market validation.

This next sprint is crucial for the idea validation for next seed round of investment. To be successful in our sprint, the next milestone is getting the product design by the doctors. We would design and code the AI integrating platform.

EyeX has been working hand in hand with the head of the radiology department in a very patient, affluent hospital, and we will be working hand in hand with them to iterate the platform.

Diagnostic imaging is critical in diagnosing and treating a patient promptly. The need for immediate access to affordable and accurate healthcare is further substantiated. We know that enabling the efficiency of practitioners to impulse diagnosis via technology can help millions of people have more probability of surviving.



  • What skills and attributes are you looking for in a VIP Fellow?

We are looking for different types of skills.

1. Front-end coding skills

2. Mockup designs and prototyping (Figma)

3. Business growth and finance.

4. Good at storytelling and strategic market research.

FirstWork LLC
FirstWork is a learning system that enables kids with autism to keep working on their therapeutic learning activities at home on their smart devices.

  • What is unique about your venture and why would someone want to work with you? How will your company provide a good experience for the VIP Fellow?

FirstWork is a unique company because of it’s novel approach to digital technology, we are one of the only behavioral technology companies that exists today, our goal is to change behavior by altering the way we interact with our digital environments using the principals of behavioral science. We are a mission driven company with the goal of making screen time something that contributes to a meaningful life, not detracts from it, particularly where entertainment time is concerned. We are focused on altering this digital landscape for those who need it most, kids with developmental disabilities who spend an average of eight hours a day looking at a screen without any discernible educational benefits. Brining learning into the equation enables kids to achieve their developmental milestones more effectively which is critically important in early life. We think that this is an important project, and so do our customers, it’s meaningful work which has been exciting for everyone involved.

We would provide a great experience for a VIP fellow who wanted to build our their skillsets in a supportive and passionate environment. We are a true startup at this point, there is never a dull moment and there are always opportunities to build new skills and try new things. We support this exploration and also allow people to take real ownership over their workflows within the structure we provide. Working in this environment allows you to get experience you can’t get in a standard corporate setting.



  • What stage of venture implementation are you currently in? What is your next milestone and how will you achieve it? How can your fellow help make an impact?

We are currently in the pre-launch period and are planning to deliver services to our paying pilot customer in November. We currently have 5 pilot clinics of various sizes who are committed to a paying pilot in the Fall. These clinics represent each of our sub-markets, ABA clinics, SLP Clinics, dual language focused SLP clinics, and Telehealth clinics. We are currently finding significant traction so we expect to have more customers for the pilot and waitlist coming soon. Our next key milestone is finishing the build of our MVP in the fall to start the aforementioned pilot. Further down the line we are planning to raise our first significant round in the Winter after the pilot.


  • What skills and attributes are you looking for in a VIP Fellow?

We are open to a variety of skillsets, those interested with skillsets not listed here should certainly reach out! Our ideal VIP fellow would be someone who is passionate about our mission, and has the interest in growing their skillsets in an environment where there is limitless possibility to do so.

-Technical Expertise in Software/Computer Science: We are working on building out our product, it would be amazing to have a VIP Fellow who wanted to contribute to FirstWork’s MVP build. Specific expertise in React, Node.JS, and AWS backends would be incredible though certainly not required.

-Marketing and Sales: We are starting to build up and implement more mature systems to reach our prospective customers. It would be fantastic to work with a VIP Fellow with a background in marketing or sales who wanted to contribute to building up these systems and working in them.
Fitalyst
Fitalyst uses campus and student data to promote wellness behavior among First-Generation Low-Income (FGLI) college students.


  • What is unique about your venture and why would someone want to work with you? How will your company provide a good experience for the VIP Fellow?

For many students, the transition to college life is challenging, but for FGLI students this transition can be particularly more daunting as some face unique challenges due to cultural and socioeconomical differences. These challenges can lower outcomes for student academic success; for example, according to the Pell Institute, only 10% of FGLI students receive their bachelor's degree in 6 years, and 44% drop out. For colleges, this translates into higher dropout rates of FGLI students, underutilized campus resources, and misallocation of alumni donations & federal funding. Our team believes that true innovation is inextricably tied to social impact and if our solution works for FGLI students, it’ll work for all students!

Social innovation-focused fellows will have the opportunity to gain practical skills (biz & product development) in moving our flagship product, Dash, from prototype to MVP. We understand that some fellows will prefer clearly outlined tasks while others will prefer to lean on their creativity to get the job done. Our team is open to both in order to ensure a good experience for fellows.


  • What stage of venture implementation are you currently in? What is your next milestone and how will you achieve it? How can your fellow help make an impact?

Our Dash product leverages behavioral science principles to help First-Generation Low-Income college students anticipate their intentions around academic and wellness outcomes. Dash is a browser extension that turns your new tab into a simple web app featuring actionable & predictive insights to stay ahead, a mood tracker to understand emotions in real-time, and a countdown timer for bedtime, due dates, and calendar events. We are currently transitioning from prototype to MVP phase for our Dash browser extension. In addition, we are researching the market and crafting business development plans to reach both college students and college admin. Fellows will have the opportunity to make major contributions to these efforts.

  • What skills and attributes are you looking for in a VIP Fellow?

Business Fellow will work on:
1. Ambassador Program that spreads the brand on college campuses
2. Market & customer research on different Higher Ed stakeholders and FGLI students
3. Develop and execute interviewing and surveying strategy
4. Help develop go-to market strategy
5. Explore grant opportunities

Software Engineering Fellow will work on:
Enhance our Dash app/dashboard with extended features integrating with the Canvas LMS API and Google's Calendar API
• Build out added chrome extension features to our dashboard such as tracking weekly class action items progress
• alerts/notification service to alert subscribed students with nudges on starting major assignments to prevent/minimize procrastination and drive better educational outcomes
• design an opt-in notification service for select students that want to receive nudges based on aggregated data we collect and monitor student's self-reported rigor of assignments, self-reported time allocation for assignments, among other data points

Develop a contribution streak visual similar to Github's contribution graph
• support a student's study goals with a contribution streak data visual tracking a student's contribution history to their coursework and other positive habits they have for the semester to aid positive daily study habits

Software Engineering Fellow skills should include:
• data modeling, data analysis, frontend UI dashboard development
• experience consuming and/or building REST and/or GraphQL APIs
• authentication and authorization flows
Flagler Health
Flagler Health helps physicians flag patients for advanced treatments



  • What is unique about your venture and why would someone want to work with you? How will your company provide a good experience for the VIP Fellow?

We’re a humble, fast-growing, and fun team with a physician-centric culture. As craftspeople, we’re using the highest-quality analytic tools, premium, and proprietary, healthcare data, and a national network of experts and advisors. Our team is based in Philadelphia; however, we live in Notion docs, Slack channels, and Github with weekly meetings over Zoom. Meetings often feature honorary advisors and MedTech execs. As Flagler is attempting to scale, there is a unique opportunity to build the foundations of data and help the product and company reach their full potential. This is where you come in — to design and build reliable, trusted, and timely analytics that accelerates the decision-making process of key product and business functions. You will have a strong impact on the roadmap and the growth trajectory of our company.

  • What stage of venture implementation are you currently in? What is your next milestone and how will you achieve it? How can your fellow help make an impact?

Raised a safe, looking to skip seed and raise series A once pilot is successful

Help us in any way we need to scale to the next level whether it be

Technical - Help us improve our program

Business - Help us deal with the barrage of issues that Houdini their way into our lives

  • What skills and attributes are you looking for in a VIP Fellow?

We are looking for two types of people:
Someone with full stack development experience to contribute to our build.

Experience with Next JS/ React + AWS backend would be ideal.

Someone with who wishes to chug away at market research/sales/business development.

I personally like people who have experience with:
Office
Canva
Follow Through
Follow Through is a venture dedicated to helping professional athletes use their platform, resources, and influence for good.


  • What is unique about your venture and why would someone want to work with you? How will your company provide a good experience for the VIP Fellow?

Athletes are well-positioned to mobilize social change efforts because of a powerful asset they bring: the special relationship they have with their fans. For example, Chris Long, a member of the 2018 Eagles, donated his entire $1M annual salary to educational charities and, because of the trust he had earned from his supporters, raised an additional $1.3M from those inspired by his work.

While Long demonstrates the massive potential of sports to be a force for good, most athletes don’t have the same experiences. Hundreds of athletes start their own foundations, but 74% of them fail to meet standard operating procedures, with a common reason being a lack of support. Athletes gain training in many disciplines outside of sports, from navigating the media to building their brand, but social impact expertise is a gap. Follow Through uniquely addresses this social impact gap in sports by helping professional athletes follow through on their social impact commitments, the same way they do on their jump shots!

Three benefits VIP Fellows can expect from their experience with Follow Through:
Engagement with professional athletes: The opportunity to co-create and test products and services in partnership with professional athletes
Field building: The opportunity to grow and become a leader in an emerging field, focused on the unique intersection of sports and social impact
Impact-focused mentorship: Given my experiences in growing social impact organizations and coaching purpose-driven leaders, I will prioritize the learning and development of my fellows


  • What stage of venture implementation are you currently in? What is your next milestone and how will you achieve it? How can your fellow help make an impact?

Follow Through is in the Market Discovery phase. I’ve built relationships across the sports industry (e.g., teams, athletes, advisors), developed an initial product and service offering, and am ready to test our model. Coming in at this early stage, my fellows will play a pivotal role in refining our theory of change, testing our products and services, and ultimately, building the foundation for a sustainable, purpose-driven business. More specifically, my fellows will make an impact by:
● Conducting foundational research into sports and impact (e.g., interviews, landscape analysis, literature review)
● Developing/building upon a set of ‘north star’ documents (e.g., theory of change, products and services, business and staffing plan)
● Testing our model and services with at least 3 professional athletes to establish a proof of concept (e.g., visioning sessions, product testing)
● Building our pipeline of athletes to support

  • What skills and attributes are you looking for in a VIP Fellow?

I’m looking for the following attributes in my VIP Fellows:
● Passion for impact and sports: strong desire to build an impact-oriented career, and basic knowledge of professional sports
● Entrepreneurial drive: takes initiative and is adaptable, agile, and creative in the face of uncertainty
● Commitment to Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB): passion for reducing systemic inequities and commitment to building a culture that advances DEIB
GaleSun Technologies
GaleSun Technologies is leveraging a patent-pending technology to revolutionize medical imaging through the world’s first flexible transducer ultrasound platform.



  • What is unique about your venture and why would someone want to work with you? How will your company provide a good experience for the VIP Fellow?

We started this company to build something that is truly innovative and saves lives. Ultrasound is ubiquitous in the medical field but has been done the same way for decades. We’re changing that. We believe that this technology will lead to entirely new modalities of imaging such as continuous heart monitoring with high quality imaging rather than the current simplistic electrical leads, hands-free image-guided procedures, real-time tumor tracking for precision radiation therapy, and more. This is deep tech so we aren’t kidding ourselves about the risks – but if we can get this right, it will have a significant impact on patients.

Grand vision aside, we have the opportunity to make major strides over the next few months. You will have complete ownership over a project that will influence the direction of this company. Most importantly, however, we believe that this is a two-way street. We will work hard to tailor your focus area to meet your interests and goals and ensure that it’s a rewarding experience.

  • What stage of venture implementation are you currently in? What is your next milestone and how will you achieve it? How can your fellow help make an impact?

While our initial focus was on Department of Defense applications, we’ve identified a beachhead use case and feasible developmental path in musculoskeletal ultrasound. Our first focus is on the biomechanical researcher customer segment, where we intend to leverage our unique ability to image anatomy in motion to help them answer a surprisingly large number of still open questions about how the body actually works. The natural outgrowth of this is applications to sports medicine and we’re in conversations with a Major League Baseball team to utilize the same capability in order to enhance player performance and prevent overuse injuries.

Our next steps are solidifying partnerships with our initial customer segments as well as developmental partners. We just recently acquired physical equipment and we’re working towards building a physical prototype for testing and customer feedback. It’s an open OEM system so we’re not starting from square one for this iteration.

We have specific focus areas but as with any startup, we have a long list of things to get done. If you’re passionate about building something innovative that changes the world – we’ll work together to find something impactful for you.

  • What skills and attributes are you looking for in a VIP Fellow?

First and foremost, we’re not looking for employees – we’re looking for teammates. We’re looking for people who are passionate, that we can trust to own their focus area, devote the time necessary to understand it, and drive forward.

Beyond that, we want you to work on something that you’re excited about, not something we just don’t want to do ourselves (as often happens) or something where your resume checks the box but you aren’t actually motivated to do. We’d much rather have someone that’s passionate about building long term value and takes a bit to get up to speed than someone that just looks good on paper.

Some particular areas that we could use people who are excited to dive into (in no particular order):

Marketing and Sales

Medical device regulatory planning

Business Development and Partnerships

Product Design

Product Development

Applied math and physics

Algorithms!

Low-level programming (Rust and C++/CUDA especially)

Machine learning and deep learning applications to signal and image processing.

GovCompete
GovCompete is an AI-driven research tool that helps small businesses identify, qualify, and win best-fit government contracting opportunities.


  • What is unique about your venture and why would someone want to work with you? How will your company provide a good experience for the VIP Fellow?

Our vision is to simplify government sales for small and medium sized businesses that find it too expensive and time consuming to participate in this $2 trillion market (federal, state, local). These businesses must overcome the data overload resulting from unstructured, widely-scattered, and difficult-to-interpret government sources (e.g. RFPs) so that their sales teams can focus only on the most promising leads and opportunities.

GovCompete solves this problem by ingesting customer-specific documentation (e.g. marketing collateral) to train a custom model and “spoon feed” targeted recommendations and insights to sales teams. This saves our customers over 15 hours of tedious research time a week, and up to millions of dollars of revenue that can slip through the cracks.

This could be a great opportunity for a VIP Fellow to learn how machine learning applications (specifically, natural language processing) can drive practical business results. We have a growing cohort of paying customers, so we’re put to the test every day. Fellows interested in government and public-private partnerships would also benefit from learning the ins-and-outs of how the public sector does business. As founder and Penn alumnus with 15+ years of experience in the public and private sectors, I look forward to mentoring and providing career help to Fellows in any way I can.


  • What stage of venture implementation are you currently in? What is your next milestone and how will you achieve it? How can your fellow help make an impact?

GovCompete is still at an early stage, but so far, we’ve been able to bootstrap and acquire several customers with annual subscriptions at meaningful price points. Already, four of them have renewed, with zero churn. A few big milestones for our startup include completing a raise, launching and experimenting freemium/self-serve options, and meeting our sales growth targets by the end of this calendar year.

A fellow could make an impact in the following areas: software development, data science, design, customer/sales support, and writing/content support.


  • What skills and attributes are you looking for in a VIP Fellow?

Somebody who’s an independent thinker and genuinely excited to commit during their time as a fellow. An interest in government and/or ML is a bonus. Ideally, I’m looking for fellows with one or more of the following skill sets, but I’m willing to talk with anyone excited by our mission:

1. Front end engineering (frameworks such as React, Svelte, D3, etc.)

2. Back end engineering (bonus if you have experience with GCP or Azure platforms)

3. ML engineering (experience with NLP and/or MLOps a plus)

4. Design (some experience with FIGMA preferred)

5. For sales, customer, or content support: Proficiency with spreadsheets (in particular, Google Sheets), as well as the ability to write clearly, concisely, and persuasively, especially regarding technical topics. Blogging experience is a plus.
Grapevine
Grapevine is an angel and venture backed, pre-seed software company that offers a free supply chain management system to better connect end-buyers, distributors, suppliers, and companies across the healthcare supply chain.


  • What is unique about your venture and why would someone want to work with you? How will your company provide a good experience for the VIP Fellow?

Grapevine offers VIP Fellows a structured environment that employs 12 full-time employees and has previously worked with six Penn student interns. Prior to founding Grapevine, the current team started Pandemic Relief Supply, a medical distribution company that delivered $30M of medical supplies in just two years using the software that would become Grapevine. Grapevine currently processes $100k in monthly GMV and hosts 30 active users.


  • What stage of venture implementation are you currently in? What is your next milestone and how will you achieve it? How can your fellow help make an impact?

To date, Grapevine has raised a pre-seed round from several angel investors, VC firms, and even UPenn via the President's Innovation Prize. With the funding, Grapevine will conduct a soft launch of its platform by onboarding a limited number of interested companies nurtured through professional partnerships with Pandemic Relief Supply or PRS.

By working with Grapevine, a VIP Fellow could impact our company in the following ways:

1. As a front end software developer developing user interface components and implementing them to ensure that these components and the overall application are robust and easy to maintain.

2. As a back end software developer working to maintain and evolve our API, help develop our server-side logic, maintain our database, and ensure high performance and responsiveness to requests from the front-end team.

3. Through non-technical UI/UX work, specifically on our landing page, by testing for optimized user flows, identifying bugs, and collecting feedback from external users. VIP Fellows can suggest changes that will be implemented and seen live as part of biweekly development sprints.

4. By generating content in one of three forms, including 250-500 word biweekly articles, weekly social media posts, or a 1 minute informative video. Through this content, VIP Fellows will build out a new marketing funnel for Grapevine, connecting us with new potential users.


  • What skills and attributes are you looking for in a VIP Fellow?

We recommend you read the below before selecting a project to apply to.

1. Front End Developer - Project #1
We are looking for a technically capable JavaScript developer who is proficient with React (with Redux and Material UI). We use the Material UI component library to build our components so experience there is a big plus.

2. Back End Developer - Project #2
We are looking for a technically capable JavaScript developer who is proficient with MongoDB and Node.Js.

3. Design/Copywriter - Project #3 & #4
YOU can do these projects. We're deliberately not prioritizing specific backgrounds, skills, or clubs. We want motivated students who are hungry for startup experience and convey this well.
Groov




At its core a tech-enabled (i.e. mobile 3D computer vision) strategic repositioning play, Groov presents an evolution in how we fit footwear to our feet, and introduces a new category in athleisure: custom-molded insoles that make every pair of shoes a customer’s most comfortable pair.

  • What is unique about your venture and why would someone want to work with you? How will your company provide a good experience for the VIP Fellow?

As the winner of the Launch Award at Penn's Startup Challenge ("given to the team with the best go-to-market strategy and demonstrated traction") Groov intends to be first-to-market with what we believe is a game-changing product category. Groov leverages proprietary iOS software that enables a customer to scan their feet from the comfort of their own home, using only their iPhone. This enables us to bypass clinician visits and deliver our products directly to users. We are looking to go to market this year with our dual offerings: Organizational level sales in the athletic and healthcare sectors, as well as direct-to-consumer sales. Riding the intersecting tailwinds of Digital Customization, Demedicalization, and Premium Athleisure, Groov’s outlook is strong. To get there, we’re simultaneously driving progress across Product Development (both physical product and proprietary software), Sales and Marketing Strategy, Operations/Sourcing, and Finance/Fundraising. Led by a Wharton MBA with technical leadership from an MIT software developer, Groov’s working environment is supportive, understanding, flexible, and ambitious.


  • What stage of venture implementation are you currently in? What is your next milestone and how will you achieve it? How can your fellow help make an impact?

We are currently pivoting from internal to external testing, opening our beta up to select customers, including multiple professional/olympic athletes and a major footwear executive. Our targeted milestones are completing our beta test (with a focus on software iteration) and selling our first 250 units. Concurrently, we are gearing up to potentially raise a seed round. At the present junction, Groov is well-balanced between momentum and white-space, and our fellow should be someone interested in helping bring a novel physical/technical product/service to market.

  • What skills and attributes are you looking for in a VIP Fellow?

Groov is open to two different types of candidates: a scrappy and eager business-focused fellow looking to contribute across the board, or a specialized contributor with competence in software development, fundraising, operations establishment, or sales/marketing. More than anything, we’re looking for doers who feel comfortable taking action in ambiguity, with light preference to those with start-up experience. We believe that people do their best work when allowed to focus on something that excites them, and we’ll strive to set our Fellow(s) up to work on what they’re most passionate about.
Hera Travel
Hera Travel is a digital travel platform that empowers women to confidently take solo trips.

We do this through the Hera Lounge, where women get access to a community of like minded travelers so that they can learn from one another, get inspired for their next trip, and get recommendations they can actually trust. Through the Hera Lounge travelers also get access to our Travel Solo, Not Alone trips which are a way to travel solo while still having a community of other Hera Travelers at their fingertips.

  • What is unique about your venture and why would someone want to work with you? How will your company provide a good experience for the VIP Fellow?

The most unique aspect of our adventure is our Travel Solo, Not Alone trips. The only other trip option in the industry is group trips where every hour of your day is planned out and you are constantly with the whole group. On our trips, travelers are booked in the same hotel as the other solo women travelers and placed into a group chat. How they spend their time is completely up to them. They can reach out to other travelers whenever they want company or continue exploring on their own. Each evening we have an optional group meet up. Unlike other companies, we focus on building her confidence in solo travel by equipping her with all the resources and a community she can leverage at any point. We are empowering her to travel wherever, whenever. More about how our trips work can be found here:

Over the course of the last few years, we have had 10 different VIP fellows and almost all of them stayed on longer than a single semester. Every fellow who decided to stay raved about how they finally got to work on a project they were excited about and how much they believe in the mission. We constantly heard that “being a part of Hera Travel felt like being a part of something bigger”. We provide a good experience for a VIP fellow by providing them with high impact projects, a flexible work environment, and mentoring for their own personal career journeys.


  • What stage of venture implementation are you currently in? What is your next milestone and how will you achieve it? How can your fellow help make an impact?

We currently have 120 active members in the Hera Lounge (our digital community) and we are getting ready to launch our paid membership at the start of 2023 (access to the community + trips). This is an extremely exciting time to get involved as we are running two test trips for our Travel Solo, Not Alone trip - one in November and one in December. We are also soft launching our paid membership in October and building out our customer advisory board. Fellows can make an impact by helping us secure strategic partnerships, working on our launch, running our test trips, and more! There are a lot of different ways to get involved and we are happy to match a high impact project to your skill set and interest.


  • What skills and attributes are you looking for in a VIP fellow?

We are looking for someone who is really passionate about our mission and someone who can take a project and run with it. Experience in the travel industry or in building communities is a plus.


HULA
HULA , a Wharton/Columbia founder led early-stage startup, is building a Next Gen friend discovery platform that aims to redefine stranger social via shared offline experiences and belonged communities.

HULA's mission is to build an ML-led 4-way modern marketplace ecosystem that's focused on a.) community discovery (friend discovery, event discovery), and b.) community building (creators, vendors, ticketing platforms, consumers) to reinvent being social in the post-pandemic world.

Think Discord for offline experiences.

  • What is unique about your venture and why would someone want to work with you? How will your company provide a good experience for the VIP Fellow?

Three key pillars that uniquely differentiate HULA and offer long-term value for VIP fellows: 1. Team 2. Vision & Unique value proposition 3. Scope of growth

Team: HULA is founded by a female Wharton MBA who is also a first-gen immigrant and global Expat who deeply understands the current generations' loneliness and struggles of locating communities and making meaningful relationships. HULA’s founding team of 7 holds degrees from Upenn, Columbia, USC, UCLA and has 5+yrs industry experience in leading tech and finance giants (LinkedIn, Google, Meta, Microsoft, BOA, Wharton Alumni Angel Network, etc.). After gaining hands-on experience and mentorship from our founding team members, most of our past interns smoothly received Tier A-B tech firms’ offers (e.g. Google, Paypal, etc.)

Vision & Unique Value Proposition: We are often asked by our investors: “who are you competing against?” The real answer is “No one” (but of course we can’t say this, so we often draw comparisons to Bumble BFF & Meetup). Far different from both, HULA combines science (ML Recommendation/Algorithm-led) and hearts (anti-Tinder style with a dedicated focus in amplifying underrepresented community voices) into our work. Our unique product design offers natural icebreakers when connecting with like-minded strangers and leads to stronger retention via building belonging through communities.

Scope of growth: HULA is gifted with the natural potential of expanding globally. After our initial success in NYC, this year we will be focusing on continuing validating our product-market-fit and scale up our growth in 8 new cities in U.S. Our vision is to become available globally and become the first resort for travelers and city newcomers to explore happenings and look for like-minded companions, wherever they go.


  • What stage of venture implementation are you currently in? What is your next milestone and how will you achieve it? How can your fellow help make an impact?

We are currently at the Investment Readiness & Early Traction stage of Product Development and the market validation stage of Business Model Development. We’ve launched our MVP product in NYC and acquired 7k+ users. Usage of our core features “Find a buddy”, “Submit an event”, “Join a group” increases at an avg. 10% MOM. We’ve also established partnerships with Ticketmaster and Ticket Evolution.

By the end of this year (2022), our goal is to achieve 30k users and established 10+ profit-exchange partnerships with experience providers, launch in 9 total cities and launch our community & spotify-integration product feature.

We are looking for ambitious, hardworking and creative fellows across disciplines to provide their unique expertise into practice and design innovative strategies to help us achieve this goal.

  • What skills and attributes are you looking for in a VIP Fellow?

Engineering Fellow: Support our current engineers (5 yrs+ experience) and develop end-to-end product features and optimize product architecture

Front end (Swift/IOS, Android); Backend (Javascript, Python, experience with Django framework, Data management with SQL, common data structures & algorithms)

Business Development & Revenue Strategy & Operations Fellow: Strategize and implement BD growth plan, set milestone, and evaluate return in terms of revenue and user growth. Re-evaluate and strategize revenue model

User Growth Strategy & Operations Fellow: Strategize US expansion growth plan, diversify user growth channels and optimize the best approach to achieve our upcoming growth milestones

Product Design & Management Fellow: Research and understand competitive product offerings, analyze user performance data and convert into actionable product strategies, design product feature and implement with design & eng team front-to-end, strategize high-level product growth plan that fits various demographics and geographics.

National Community Ambassador Program Fellow: Own, strategize and lead our newest National Community Ambassador programs and drive the famous ~network effect~ (per A16z) as our main organic growth tactic. Role involves identifying undiscovered markets, community management, community growth and retention, personal network expansion, etc.

External Relations & Fundraising Fellow: Going off our recent pre-seed fundraising success, expand investor network and build personal relationships to prepare for Q1’23 seed-round fundraising. Join founder to pitch to VCs and explore networking opportunities in Philly, NYC, SF, and greater MBA schools. Attend conferences and organize entrepreneurship events with keynotes speakers. A great chance if you are interested in developing career in VC and build personal relationships early on!
Immigrant Job Search
Immigrant Job Search aims to help place immigrants to the US in jobs with stable working conditions and a path for career development and progression.



  • What is unique about your venture and why would someone want to work with you? How will your company provide a good experience for the VIP Fellow?

Immigrant Job Search is unique in that we’re one of the few companies working to improve economic mobility for immigrants through job placement. Oftentimes, when immigrants come to the U.S., they’re leaving behind careers as highly-skilled professionals such as doctors, lawyers, and professors. When they come to the States, they might have to take up unstable and low-paying jobs (e.g., Uber drivers, dishwashers). There’s nothing inherently wrong with these jobs, but these immigrants have a big discrepancy between the skills that they possess and the jobs that they take up. Immigrant Job Search aims to bridge this gap and help immigrants leverage and upskill their professional background to find more fitting jobs.

As the founder of Immigrant Job Search, I’ve also previously co-founded a career coaching startup where I hired and managed interns. I also have experience managing and mentoring others through my prior jobs in consulting and tech. I’m very open to feedback and happy to work with fellows to ensure that they have a great experience. I love mentoring others and am eager to work with fellows to mutually decide on projects that are a good fit for them.


  • What stage of venture implementation are you currently in? What is your next milestone and how will you achieve it? How can your fellow help make an impact?

Currently we’re an early-stage company that’s refining and testing our product with user research and market analysis. For our next milestone, we would like to achieve product-market fit by creating and launching an MVP with a small group of people. Because of our small size, fellows can expect lots of opportunities to make a large impact. Fellows will work closely with the founder.


  • What skills and attributes are you looking for in a VIP Fellow?

We’re looking for fellows who are excited about improving economic mobility and job placement for immigrants. Since we’re an early-stage company, we welcome all different types of skills and attributes including (but not limited to) market research, user research, product management, software development, social media marketing, data analytics, or design. Fellows should be proactive and comfortable working in a flat and rapidly evolving environment.
Jochi
Jochi is an early-stage SAAS based EdTech startup, building a student life management tool for high school students, enabling them to make the most of their schooling experience.



  • What is unique about your venture and why would someone want to work with you? How will your company provide a good experience for the VIP Fellow?

After our own experiences as overwhelmed high school students, we set out to create a more fulfilling less stressful schooling experience for high schoolers. We offer a mobile & web application that directly integrates with schools’ existing LMS and calendar systems, that supports students with their day-to-day needs beyond the classroom. This includes planning their schedules, scheduling meetings withs peers/faculty, engaging in extracurricular activities, and developing study skills. Through our platform we hope to not only create a better experience for students but enable them to develop critical life skills.

We are at a very exciting stage, where every bit of work will have tremendous impact on Jochi’s future. This semester, we’ll be piloting Jochi at our first school in Philadelphia. Through our fellowship, students will build their entrepreneurial skillset through working closely alongside existing schools, hosting test-groups, executing our marketing strategy and more!

Additionally, our team is great! We take pride that we are an entirely student-run team, who are mentored by some of the best in the biz. Being a student and working part-time is not easy. So, our hours and workload are very flexible to your schedule.


  • What stage of venture implementation are you currently in? What is your next milestone and how will you achieve it? How can your fellow help make an impact?
We are currently between implementation/launch. Our next big milestone is expanding our presence to more private schools in Philadelphia, gearing up for our first funding round next semester. Through our marketing, business development, and product management fellowships, fellows will be exposed to what it is like working at an early stage start-up while making a difference, developing relevant skills, and being a part of a close-knit community.


  • What skills and attributes are you looking for in a VIP Fellow?

We're looking for students who are passionate about EdTech who are eager to learn with the ability to work hard.


Business Dev and Strategy:

• Outreach to prospective schools & groups

• Develop initial pricing model

• Identify strategic partnerships


Product Management

• Ensure our Pilot Program runs smoothly

• Gather feedback from early users and implement it to our solution

• Define product roadmap


Marketing/Design

• Refine Jochi’s branding & strengthen our social media presence

• Lead creative efforts to grow our online/offline presence in the EdTech space
Kadepay
Kade Pay is focused on removing the friction that exists within the payment experience – bringing new features to streamline the process for both businesses and consumers.


  • What is unique about your venture and why would someone want to work with you? How will your company provide a good experience for the VIP Fellow?

The payment environment is one that has seen lots of innovation, but yet there is so much room for improvement. At Kade Pay, we are working on building a platform that we think will be commonplace in a short time. We are a small team that is working fast and is ambitious to introduce our product to the market. Working with us would give you experience in polishing a product and getting it ready for market, as well as launching a product. Anyone interested in project management, User Experience Design (UX), marketing, or sales would find eh experience of taking Kade to the next level to be valuable.

  • What stage of venture implementation are you currently in? What is your next milestone and how will you achieve it? How can your fellow help make an impact?

We currently have a functional beta product that we are in the process of iterating over and improving for an official launch. Our next milestone is to launch our platform which requires, marketing, sales, and UX improvements. A fellow can help us get to this point by aiding in any of those fields, helping either with marketing, sales, or UX design.

  • What skills and attributes are you looking for in a VIP Fellow?

For UX design: detail oriented and creative (ideally with experience in mock-up tools such as Figma)

For Marketing: strong interpersonal skills, can create promotional content (ideally some experience in graphic design)

For Sales: strong interpersonal skills, creative, passionate about our mission and product

Keye
Keye is a VC Backed subscription marketplace, with a mission to open up access to digital content and tools. We want to empower people by giving them on-demand access to technologies that improve their lives at the best possible value. 75% of interested users do not fit the profile of active users of the platform and remained untapped so far. They also tend to be the biggest pain point for subscription services. This is where Keye comes in. With Keye, vendors and creators can offer content to new users on a limited basis. Users pay a discounted price, and Keye facilitates discovery and monetization.

  • What is unique about your venture and why would someone want to work with you? How will your company provide a good experience for the VIP Fellow?

Keye is a one-of-a-kind marketplace which is looking to solve the problem of inflexible subscription pricing by offering the users the ability to choose their subscription usage on the go and hence have more control over their spending. Our unique business model benefits both our customers as well as vendors and looks to bridge the gap between the two.

We are a tight-knit and passionate team of 6, comprising 3 Co-Founders (ex-Google, ex-Microsoft, ex-Accenture, and previous entrepreneurs). We graduated from the UPenn Accelerator program in Spring 2022 and have won many awards (TIE NJ, Contrary Capital’s Pitch Night, Jacobson Awards). Also, we are backed by a few VCs who have had 200+ exits themselves.

Keye offers VIP Fellows the opportunity to get hands-on experience at an early-stage VC backed venture focused on putting money back in consumers’ pockets while getting them access to more of the content they love. Fellows have an opportunity to contribute to all aspects of the business, including building the subscription platform, working on the backend, building partnerships with content providers and marketing the product to users.



  • What stage of venture implementation are you currently in? What is your next milestone and how will you achieve it? How can your fellow help make an impact?


We have been in beta since January end and have already proved our hypothesis on customer acquisition, customer reactivation and cannibalization metrics. On the partnerships front, we have onboarded 40+ partnerships including Masterclass, Grammarly, Crunchbase, Blinktist, SkillShare etc.\ and we are looking to grow on our offering further through the feedback we get from our users.

We currently are ramping up our sales and talking to educational institutions to offer Keye to students. Alongside, we are looking high growth projects in terms of product and engineering, sales and partnerships.



  • What skills and attributes are you looking for in a VIP Fellow?

Fellows have an opportunity to hone in on areas they are passionate about, and we are looking for skills in five specific areas (can apply for individual roles):

• Engineering: Building a quality marketplace requires seamless UX and well-tested backend integrations with our various vendors. A product engineer at Keye will work closely with our product manager and engineers to strategize, implement, and test various user workflows and vendor integrations. They will not only gain technical experience building an end-to-end product from the ground up but also learn to interpret business goals and make tradeoffs to achieve our objective. The candidate should have prior programming experience in an object-oriented language (Java, Python, C++, etc). Bonus points if the candidate has worked on web applications or APIs in the past.

• Creative Writer: We are building out our final product and along with marketing efforts we need individuals who have a knack for writing and creating a brand presence through their writing. We are looking for creative writers to not only help us with UX writing but also create and shape our brand through online writing and publishing, including blogs, articles, newsletters, and or on the wiki. If writing is your passion and you want to make an impact in an entrepreneurial setting, we would love to know more about you. Plus points if you have been writing as part of a magazine (school affiliated or personal blog)

• Strategic Partnerships & Sales: Keye is nothing without the unique content and services provided by partners on our platform. The Partnerships & Sales Fellow will work closely with our co-founders, Director of Partnerships, and the rest of the team to craft the content offering available on Keye as well as reach out to universities in order to make aware of the our offerings. They will engage with the broader tech community to generate insights as to what their product needs are. Primarily, the work will consist of market research, sourcing, outreach, pitching and negotiation of partnership deals that will grow our offering from a small beta to a large marketplace. Fellows should be comfortable with targeted written and verbal communication, conducting outreach via various channels, and doing basic data analysis and presentations.

• Business Development & Operations: We are looking to ramp up operations at Keye across all departments and to achieve this we will need to fundraise and be agile strategically. The BD Fellow will help in all aspects of fundraising including building pitch decks, helping pitch to investors, as well as helping automate operational inefficiencies in the system. The fellow is expected to have excellent interpersonal skills along with proficiency with creating PowerPoint presentations. Alongside, a rigor to follow the process/have a structured approach to implementing. Master-level students are welcome to apply.

• Social Media Manager & Content Creator: We are looking for enthusiastic individuals who like to interact and express through social media. We are not only in search of good content creators but also fellows who want to learn about all aspects of marketing including email marketing, marketing analytics, and overall marketing strategy. You will directly work with the Co-Founders to define and execute the marketing strategy.
KYTE
KYTE is a drone delivery company with a patented solution that makes drone deliveries more weather-resistant and quiet -- unlocking deliveries to dense, metro areas.

  • What is unique about your venture and why would someone want to work with you? How will your company provide a good experience for the VIP Fellow?

KYTE is working through several unique hurdles. First, it's working through regulatory approvals for its first target vertical. There has been positive feedback thus far in the regulatory process. We'd be happy to share more details in a follow-up call. Second, it's developing both hardware and software components. The hardware includes various components that integrate into a drone. The software includes a mobile app and other supporting software for drone delivery operations. Third, the hardware and software will work together to produce and analyze various real-world data (e.g., object detection, classification, and avoidance) eventually using AL/ML techniques.

  • What stage of venture implementation are you currently in? What is your next milestone and how will you achieve it? How can your fellow help make an impact?

KYTE has a working prototype and is now rapidly iterating through the MVP process. KYTE is still pre-product-market-fit but is in discussions with enterprise customers for its solution. Over the fall, KYTE will be pitching enterprise customers and investors. The next milestone is to engage an enterprise customer for a pilot, and fundraise based on customer traction. While there are many different projects a VIP Fellow can help with, the following are some projects we know will be available for this fall: 1) marketing strategy and plan; 2) customer and investor pitch preparation, including building financial models for revenue/profit forecasts, competitive analysis, and strategy development; 3) UI/UX design for web/mobile apps; 4) software development; and 5) hardware development. VIP Fellows are welcome to propose other projects they're interested in as well.

  • What skills and attributes are you looking for in a VIP Fellow?

As seen in the prior paragraph, there are a variety of projects KYTE will work on this fall. More than any one skill or attribute, we're looking for VIP Fellows that have a strong sense of ownership, good time management, and are excited about building the future of last-mile delivery. We're looking for dreamers that aren't afraid to roll-up their sleeves.
Magnify
Magnify is a marketplace for fractional startup CXOs. Startups receive access to vetted expert operators based on job description, budget, and goals; top operators get to monetize their skill sets and engage in high-impact projects with fast-growing startups.



  • What is unique about your venture and why would someone want to work with you? How will your company provide a good experience for the VIP Fellow?

Hiring full-time founding team members is one of the most important decisions a startup can make given the founding team sets the tone of the company. 65% high potential fails due to founding team conflicts. Onboarding full-time team members are also costly and time-consuming: pre-revenue startups simply can't afford to bring on full-time team members to close every skill gap and freelancers lack the necessary operating experience to build at scale.

Magnify is the one-stop-shop for startup fractional talent. We enable startups to browse and hire vetted expert operators on demand and allow experts to set their own rates.

Our team is co-led by a former early-stage investor and an exited founder in the future of work. We have 10+ years of combined experience in investing, recruiting, engineering, and design. This is our second year working with Penn VIP Program and we make it a priority to provide growth opportunities and mentorship during the fellowship and ensure that fellows are working on high-impact tasks.


  • What stage of venture implementation are you currently in? What is your next milestone and how will you achieve it? How can your fellow help make an impact?

We are a VC-backed company with initial traction from pilots and partnerships. We are building our MVP and gearing up for a product launch in the next months. Fellows will work closely with the leadership team to make material impact by helping build the MVP, grow our customer pipeline, and pre-vet startups and experts on our waitlist.


  • What skills and attributes are you looking for in a VIP Fellow?

We are looking for builders and operators who are excited to wear many hats and will own key business processes, create and execute high-priority tasks, and serve as a point of contact for our customers and partners. Startup experience is preferred but not required. As one of our earliest team members, you are excited to actively shape Magnify's culture and how we work together.

Please indicate your interest in the following roles - we look forward to hearing from you!

Software Development Fellow
- Work with CTO to build development process, tech stack, and architecture
- Develop and iterate on MVP based on customer input
- Talk to customers, tease out use cases, and influence prioritization decisions
- Please share Github account if there is one

Design Fellow
- Support our product prototyping process as we prepare to bring it to market
- Collect and analyze user behavior data through a variety of channels
- Work closely with the team and early customers to influence and execute our strategy
- Please share link to portfolio if there is one


Business Development Fellow
- Identifying, qualifying, and developing new partnership opportunities
- Collaborate with leadership with GTM and complete end-to-end sales cycle
- Determine the priority of outreach based on impact

Communications Fellow
- Manage social media accounts across platforms
- Lead external communications, a draft newsletter, blog posts
- Brainstorm ideas to engage existing and new customers to build brand awareness
Mintaka
Mintaka is an online marketplace for wilderness corporate retreats with a social enterprise side, using a portion of the profits to host wilderness training and survival camps for teens in foster care. (logo attached)



  • What is unique about your venture and why would someone want to work with you? How will your company provide a good experience for the VIP Fellow?

The nature of work is changing. As many companies shift to a remote-first or remote-only workplace, they need ways to bring their employees together for in-person training and collaboration. Mintaka solves a problem that many companies are just realizing they have, putting you as a VIP Fellow on the cutting edge of the evolution of corporate culture. If you're interested in learning more about corporate culture, the outdoor industry, social enterprise, or outdoor recreational therapy, please apply! I've supervised undergraduate and graduate interns before on large, multi-country projects and will make sure you have meaningful work to do, can learn about what you're interested in, and contribute in a resume-building way to Mintaka's bottom line.



  • What stage of venture implementation are you currently in? What is your next milestone and how will you achieve it? How can your fellow help make an impact?

Mintaka just launched in late summer. We are still very early stage and bootstrapped, but we are working toward booking clients for this fall while also building the foundation for future business! We have marketing, business development, and finance positions open and have enough work for 3 VIP Fellows. All VIP Fellows will work closely with the CEO/Founder, Breanne White.

Marketing: Looking for a VIP Fellow with a background/classes taken in marketing (or someone excited about the space and willing to learn). Marketing includes working with Instagram, LinkedIn, newsletters, and website blog posts, as well as research into paid ad campaigns and market research into the US and global corporate training/retreat market.

Business Development: Looking for a VIP Fellow with experience identifying potential clients for a B2B business (or the desire to learn). Position will include conducting deep research into potential clients and drafting outreach materials, in conjunction with Marketing Fellow. BD Fellow will also conduct market research into the US and global corporate training/retreat market.

Finance: Looking for a VIP Fellow with experience building financial models. A lot of the work will be around projected pricing and sample clients/retreats, working with a variety of pricing options. There is also a possibility of creating a financial tracking system (related to project management) and financial models combining the revenue and social enterprise sides of the business.

(Note: if you're specifically interested in social enterprise, please check out this description on our website and state that specifically in your application. There is a lot of work that can be done here and we can craft the position based on your interest.)

  • What skills and attributes are you looking for in a VIP Fellow?

We're looking for people who care deeply about work/life balance, who love the outdoors, who are passionate about transforming work culture, and who are flexible and motivated. There will be some ambiguity as we navigate this changing market together, but we won't leave you without support on the journey--Mintaka is designed to transform work culture and that starts with our own workplace!
Miren
Miren (formerly Proyecto Verde) expands access to financing capital for credit-thin, credit-invisible small businesses.


  • What is unique about your venture and why would someone want to work with you? How will your company provide a good experience for the VIP Fellow?

This semester we are only accepting Software Engineering Fellows!

Miren empower financial institutions to better identify the best borrowers without traditional credit models we will work with two different buckets of financial institutions: (1) community development financial institutions (CDFIs) and credit unions and (2) community banks and big banks. We are working with lenders who work with underserved small business owners, regardless of the owner’s English language proficiency, heritage, the color of their skin, residency status or income class

Fellows will have the opportunity to build an API to delight customers and improve our platform. This API will leverage Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology to read documents and pull credit reports. Fellow will learn how an early-stage start-up turns user stories into features and prioritizes them as well as how to work with a global team.

Miren has been recognized by Visible Hands, Google for StartUps and The David Prize. Visit getmiren.com to learn more!


  • What stage of venture implementation are you currently in? What is your next milestone and how will you achieve it? How can your fellow help make an impact?

Miren is in beta. Our current B2B product allows small business lenders to originate loans and manage their loan portfolio. Fellows will help develop an API which enables lenders read documents to auto-generate a risk report for underwriting and pull credit reports.


  • What skills and attributes are you looking for in a VIP Fellow?

You love building APIs that are efficient and scalable. You are also passionate about fintech product which help underserved communities. The ideal VIP Fellow should have a GitHub account with previous examples of work and be eager to learn. We are not taking into account class year and encourage all years to apply!
Nemu
Nemu is building a tool for families experiencing divorce, death, or downsizing to quickly catalog their personal property, equitably distribute it amongst beneficiaries, and maximize financial return upon resale.

  • What is unique about your venture and why would someone want to work with you?

Nemu is a tool that will impact 20% of the US population and $3T worth of personal property in the next 10 years.

Our mission is twofold - in the near term, our goal is to preserve the emotional and financial capital of families while they experience significant change - whether that is from a death in the family, divorce, or downsizing. This will be achieved by introducing novel technology to reduce and standardize the administration of estate transfers and implementing our proprietary algorithm that leverages emotional inputs from family members to equitably distribute property.

In the long term, we want to introduce more efficiency in the estate sale market by connecting buyers and sellers more effectively, preventing perfectly good estate property from contributing to the 10 million tons of furniture entering landfills annually each year.

Nemu was the recipient of awards from the Startup Challenge (University of Pennsylvania), Innovation Fund (University of Pennsylvania), and TiE University’s Global Pitch Competition. Nemu was also selected for the VIP-X summer ‘22 cohort.

  • How will your company provide a good experience for the VIP Fellow?

Our team is nimble, but passionate. We value each contributor equally, appreciate diversity in every form, and encourage personal and professional growth. Venture Fellows can expect to make a high impact and gain significant experience as an early stage startup teammate. Given our early stage, Venture Fellows will be able to see their work directly affect our growth. We will ensure Venture Fellows are working in areas that they are interested in the most, and areas that contribute to their development.

  • What stage of venture implementation are you currently in? What is your next milestone and how will you achieve it? How can your fellow help make an impact?

We are an early stage startup. We have built an MVP application via a no-code platform that supports our operations. Upcoming milestones are: building our own application, developing our customer acquisition engine (D2C and B2B channels), and fundraising. We are seeking support in all of these areas, in addition to support with our ongoing client operations.

  • What skills and attributes are you looking for in a VIP Fellow?

We are looking for determined individuals who identify as self-starters, builders, and lifelong learners. While most of the work will be independent, we also are a small team and value teamwork and collaboration. In terms of skill set, we are open to a wide range of skill sets and backgrounds. Nemu would benefit from anyone with experience in or eager to learn software engineering (computer vision/AI/AR), D2C (google, social ads, SEO) and B2B marketing (partnerships, conferences), and fundraising.
NuMarra
NuMarra is a holistic menopause platform with a program that helps women learn about their bodies, change their lifestyle habits, and connects them to each other and the right providers.

  • What is unique about your venture and why would someone want to work with you? How will your company provide a good experience for the VIP Fellow?

NuMarra is the only menopause startup that emphasizes greater accessibility to underserved populations and people of color. Inclusivity is ingrained in our DNA and evident in our services, products, team, and culture. For those who are mission oriented and passionate about women’s health, NuMarra provides the perfect startup experience.

Similar to my prior fellows, I want to give the VIP Fellow a hands-on experience and opportunity to take ownership of critical projects. The VIP Fellow will also have the opportunity to join advisor meetings and lead interns. In addition to flexibility, the VIP Fellow will be viewed as a thought partner and leader at NuMarra. I am also happy to mentor the VIP Fellow professionally and personally.

  • What stage of venture implementation are you currently in? What is your next milestone and how will you achieve it? How can your fellow help make an impact?

We are prototyping and validating our solution with a paid pilot this fall. Our next milestone is to build an MVP based on the pilot. In order for the MVP to be successful, we will need user research and feedback from our pilot, which the VIP-Fellow would be managing.

  • What skills and attributes are you looking for in a VIP Fellow?

I am looking for a self-starter who is curious to learn, efficient, and resourceful. While there is mentorship and guidance available, I am looking for someone who thrives in an unstructured environment. A bonus is someone who has experience or is interested in any of the following areas: social media marketing, content creation, project management, and branding.
Qrew
Qrew is a social network of founders and subject matter experts. We introduce founders to service professionals vetted through common connections. No Stars! No Reviews! Good old relationships.

  • What is unique about your venture and why would someone want to work with you? How will your company provide a good experience for the VIP Fellow?

Qrew is in a critical stage in its life, working on customer acquisition and in search of an institutional round of investment. This offers VIP Fellows the unique opportunity to roll up their sleeves, dive in head first, and leave an indelible mark on the product and the business. Our two founders (a Wharton Executive MBA and a top design consultancy leader) share 20+ years of management, strategy and operations consulting, and digital consumer experience design along with a lot of energy and excitement. We want our VIP Fellows to have a "seat at the table" and rely on them in management and business strategy discussions. This is a very exciting time for us as our product ahs launched in the Apple store globally and will be a great experience for the candidate to witness the fruition of a brand new product firsthand. We will strive to make this fellowship a great opportunity for you and a huge value add for Qrew!

  • What stage of venture implementation are you currently in? What is your next milestone and how will you achieve it? How can your fellow help make an impact?

Qrew is a Delaware-based C-Corporation and has raised $150K Pre-seed funding for the MVP. The app is launched in Apple Store in March and has ~300 users. We are currently working with X-Wharton consultants to shape marketing, branding, and strategy to achieve hockey stick growth numbers. There is a great opportunity for VIP Fellows to wear multiple hats and help us with several activities, including but not limited to customer acquisition strategy, product management, and digital marketing.

  • What skills and attributes are you looking for in a VIP Fellow?

We are looking for three VIP Fellows with the following skill sets:
• An MBA, undergrad, or design student interested in strategic marketing, digital marketing, content strategy, and social media engagement. In this role, you will help us refine our branding, build a multi-channel marketing strategy, and broaden our offline and online presence. We also want the intern to help us out with our social media content ideas and audience partner relationship management.

• An MBA or undergrad student who is interested in business development, sales, and partnerships. In this role, you will help us reach out to various potential partners to explore synergies, nurture relations with new and existing service professionals of the app and identify verticals to penetrate to further improve the customer base. Ideate and identify new revenue generation streams based on your conversations with service professionals and potential partners.
StudyDuck Inc.
StudyDuck Inc. aims to help millions of busy people struggling to learn new skills and knowledge on their own, so that they can keep up with the job market that is evolving faster than most structured learning programs.


  • What is unique about your venture and why would someone want to work with you? How will your company provide a good experience for the VIP Fellow?

We would like to think of ourselves as a deep tech startup pioneering a learning engagement tool. Our prototype helps users break down any text-based content they want to learn. For the automated question/answer generation feature, we are collaborating with a Penn professor and his team to advance and productize their research on smart textbooks. We are also exploring integration of large language models like GPT to enhance our key knowledge extraction feature.

Our co-founders include two Penn MCIT alumni and a current MBA student. Our professional backgrounds include entrepreneurship, Big Tech, and the US Army. Together, we have two decades of combined experience in leading diverse teams in ambiguous and even arduous situations, which is why we are undaunted by the challenges of building a deep tech startup from scratch. VIP Fellows will get to work with us to bring impactful tech from concept to reality.


  • What stage of venture implementation are you currently in? What is your next milestone and how will you achieve it? How can your fellow help make an impact?

We have a fully functional MVP that is being refined for private beta testing. Based on user feedback we will continue to improve our features. Once we achieve enough traction, we will either grow organically or through outside funding.

A VIP Fellow can help out on any combination of the following:

Engineering:
-Implement GPT-3 API to improve Question/Answer generation functionality.
-Create a deletion functionality on frontend and backend.
-Optimize our algorithms for space and time complexity
-Create a pop-up box input/output functionality.
-Build a rating system for our generated learning content. For example, a like or dislike button on each learning card to evaluate our product’s performance.
-Build AWS key metrics dashboard to track valuable insights into users behavior patterns.

Marketing:
-Conduct customer research and interviews on the best pedagogy approach to online text-based learning and develop Figma designs for proposed interfaces. Explore gamification techniques, best data to track, and how to make the study process more interactive (e.g. pomodoro, dashboard).
-Social Learning Community Engagement - recruit and build community through content and develop strategy. Help grow our social channels (Reddit, Discord, YouTube)

  • What skills and attributes are you looking for in a VIP Fellow?

We are looking for self-motivated and creative constant learners possessing any combination of the following skills:

Business:
-market/customer research, go-to-market planning, sales
-Frontend - REACT, CSS
-Backend - Django, Python, AWS
Natural Language Processing tools - HuggingFace, GPT-3, Scikit-Learn

Design:
-Figma

Ability to identify what we may have overlooked and offer a sound proposal
Tectio
Tectio is a company based in California developing AI & IoT solutions for machine health applications in various industries.


  • What is unique about your venture and why would someone want to work with you? How will your company provide a good experience for the VIP Fellow?
We are working on cutting edge technology in the areas of AI, electronics, and SaaS. Two product developments are nearing completion, and we are now gearing up for a third to make predictive maintenance in the residential air conditioning service a reality. This$19B industry has largely been unchanged for decades due to the complexities in leveraging technology for such a broad set of problems and equipment applications. We believe we have what it will take to very much disrupt this market, and let our customers benefit from technology that will make their operations significantly more efficient.

  • What stage of venture implementation are you currently in? What is your next milestone and how will you achieve it? How can your fellow help make an impact?

Tectio is an early stage company gearing up for fundraising. Part of making the venture successful will be getting a foothold in the market, requiring a strong strategy, product management, marketing, and more. Fellows can pick from a wide variety of needs that will help them grow in their areas of interest. This could include completing market analyses, supporting fundraising efforts, sales, or engineering efforts in UI/UX, software development, or even engineering management.

  • What skills and attributes are you looking for in a VIP Fellow?
Project 1: Product Management: Analyze and find new markets to clarify opportunities, and support defining product requirements to succeed in those markets.

Project 2: Sales or Marketing: Support creating marketing materials and finding key people in markets of interest. Join as an important part of defining the way the company projects itself to the outside world.

Project 3: Engineering: Take your pick - we're working on everything from hardware, machine learning, to firmware and software development. For example, one key project about to begin is defining & creating the user interface and dashboards that customers will interact with.
Thrive Hair Bar
Thrive Hair Bar is an express, natural hair salon brand that provides hair styling services, retail products, hair consultations, and local events for Thrive Hair Bar members and non-members.

  • What is unique about your venture and why would someone want to work with you? How will your company provide a good experience for the VIP Fellow?

Thrive Hair Bar is unique because we are not just a hair salon, we are an oasis for collaboration, community, and upliftment. We will be hosting monthly networking events for professionals across industries including technology, fashion, education, and the arts; we have hosted a covid19 vaccine clinic in 2021and will continue to host events to serve, educate, and entertain the community; we’ve partnered with and will continue to partner with foster care programs in the DMV area to provide complimentary services to individuals in foster care programs; and we provide professional development opportunities, classes, and ongoing training to our employees.

Our mission is to normalize kinky, coily, and curly hair in all settings including those professional, personal, and luxurious. We do this by providing only natural styles; twists, braids, & blowouts, by stylists who are experts on all hair types. We eliminate gaps in professional haircare knowledge by training all of our employees in Thrive Hair Bar’s 12-stage method, we never charge a “texture fee”, and we eliminate the infamous “wash day”, all while providing clients with a high-end experience that results in beautiful, healthy hair.

VIP Fellows should work with us because not only will you work closely with a startup CEO who has tripled revenue since Thrive Hair Bar’s inception, but you will also have a part in helping thousands of people embrace themselves holistically and in helping disrupt the traditional American standards of beauty.

Thrive Hair Bar will provide a good experience for the VIP Fellow by truly respecting their input and providing them with concrete assignments that have clear goals and objectives. The VIP Fellow will also have the opportunity to collaborate with Thrive Hair Bar’s marketing intern and a dermatology intern, allowing them to experience collaboration across teams on a professional level. Thrive Hair Bar’s CEO also offers 1-on-1 mentorship for all team members, including the VIP-Fellow, at least 2x per month if requested.

In addition, VIP Fellows are eligible for these benefits:
• 1 free hair appointment per month
• Invites to all Thrive Hair Bar team activities and outings


  • What stage of venture implementation are you currently in? What is your next milestone and how will you achieve it? How can your fellow help make an impact?

Thrive Hair Bar is in Venture Implementation Stage 5: Early-Stage Growth/Market Penetration. We have been serving customers since July of 2020 and have provided over 600 services to date at our small Arlington, Virginia location. We are currently in the permitting phase of building our 2nd location in Washington, DC and our next milestone is opening that 2nd location and serving our very first customer at this location. We will achieve this by earning our permits from the city of DC, securing additional funding to pay for the construction costs, beginning and completing construction, training employees before opening, and planning and executing a grand opening event.

A VIP Fellow can help make an impact with our next milestone by researching cost-effective alternatives to equipment and furniture suggested by our Interior Designer, researching and making a list of alternative funding opportunities, helping secure meetings with appropriate angel investors, proof-reading and helping update grant applications, and analyzing P&L projections for opportunities for cost-savings.

  • What skills and attributes are you looking for in a VIP Fellow?

Thrive Hair Bar is looking for a VIP Fellow whose skills include attention to detail, whose interests include the financial aspects of business, and who enjoys research and presenting research. The ideal candidate would also be passionate about disrupting the American beauty standard and about helping people feel comfortable, confident, and empowered in their true selves. They must be comfortable with a rapidly evolving work environment and assignments that evolve over time.
ToxiSense
ToxiSense, a fast-growing VC-backed biotech startup, is genetically engineering a greener world by developing plant-based biosensors for bacterial toxin contamination in medical products and drinking water.

  • What is unique about your venture and why would someone want to work with you? How will your company provide a good experience for the VIP Fellow?

At ToxiSense, we are a close-knit, ambitious team that has consistently broken barriers and defied expectations. Our mission is simple: we are developing a more sustainable and cost-effective future for bacterial endotoxin testing. To do so, we are engineering plant cells as natural biosensors for these toxins. Our market is huge—from medicines, vaccine needles, and IVs to the very water you drink, billions of dollars are spent on mandatory endotoxin testing every year. There is no other technology on the market that competes with the current outdated method. Because of this, we are confident in the huge potential of our new plant-based testing technology.


ToxiSense is entirely powered by current Penn sophomores from Wharton, Engineering, and the College—together we have built a streamlined team that is quickly bringing our technology to market. As just freshmen, we raised about $100K of funding in only one school year. We have strong backing from the Penn and Venture Lab entrepreneurial ecosystem—we’ve won numerous large awards including being the Grand Prize Winner of the 2022 Venture Lab Startup Challenge. In addition, we are VC-backed, receiving funding from the hard-tech VC firm HAX and being selected for their incubator program.


Now, where do you step in? As ToxiSense continues to expand, we offer the unique opportunity for you to be actively involved at the forefront of bringing an industry-shifting biotech product to market. For anyone interested in the biotech industry, genetic engineering, life sciences, or social impact, there is no better opportunity than ToxiSense to gain a hands-on, in-depth experience in contributing to our R&D, learning about the IP and regulatory landscape in the space, and assisting us with customer discovery and bringing our technology to market.


  • What stage of venture implementation are you currently in? What is your next milestone and how will you achieve it? How can your fellow help make an impact?

On the science side, we have a fully developed MVP and are currently working on R&D to improve the accuracy of our bacterial toxin testing technology, as well as increase its ease of use before ultimately sending out our first test kits to consumers. As an R&D Fellow, you will help contribute to the design of our research framework and work with our scientific team to design experimental methodologies and test hypotheses.

On the business side, we are currently fundraising primarily through non-equity grants, including NSF and SBIR grants we are applying for. We are also working to get our IP in place, with the aim of obtaining utility and design patents to fully protect our technology and product. We are also actively working with several VC firms and accelerators for equity investments in the near future. As a Business Dev & Strategy Fellow, you will work directly with our leadership team to explore new funding avenues, conduct customer research and acquisition, and plan out our pathway through the biotech regulatory landscape.



  • What skills and attributes are you looking for in a VIP Fellow?


Research & Development:
Drive R&D hypotheses and implementation
Intern at our Pennovation lab space
Develop a patentable test kit
Abilities: Strong background in Life Sciences & Engineering, Familiarity with common lab techniques/skills, Flexibility to work in-person at our lab, hard-working, enthusiastic and fun to be around!


Business Dev & Strategy:
Explore Biotech VC funding and grant opportunities
Develop go-to market strategies and regulatory pathways
Build customer segmentation and customer outreach
Abilities: Familiarity with early-stage venture Biz Dev work, understands biotech and healthcare ecosystems well, hard-working, flexible, enthusiastic, and fun to be around!
TrueValue Hub
TrueValue Hub is a B2B SaaS solution for manufacturers that drives sustainable savings on direct material purchases through data-driven lean sourcing processes, supply chain resilience, optimization engine, and supplier collaboration.

  • What is unique about your venture and why would someone want to work with you? How will your company provide a good experience for the VIP Fellow?

Truevalue Hubs patentable data-driven platform is the first-of-its-kind innovative platform to leverage AI and big data to drive strategic sourcing insights and supplier collaboration that drives sustainable savings and supply chain resilience for both buyers and suppliers. This is a unique solution in the procurement supply chain solving challenges of strategic sourcing. I and my co-founder have over two decades of industry experience in the supply chain and engineering profession in both large and small companies. We have experienced firsthand the pain points with current supply chain platforms and their inability to drive promised value, resulting in poor adoption and user experience.

TrueValue Hub is a very dynamic environment of 20 + global professionals with diverse backgrounds. This is a fast-paced environment with the opportunity to gain hands-on start-up experience and see the impact of your effort on the product and the company in a short span of time.

  • What stage of venture implementation are you currently in? What is your next milestone and how will you achieve it? How can your fellow help make an impact?

We are close to launching the MVP and working closely with select customers to pilot the product. We are launching the costing insights module in the next 60 days. We have a team of 7 developers and 2 Product managers working on the platform to deliver the product as per the schedule.

The VIP fellow can help in product development, marketing strategy, and development of the AI engine.

  • What skills and attributes are you looking for in a VIP Fellow?

We’re looking for self-driven individuals passionate about working in a startup environment with some experience/education background in the following areas.

• Marketing Strategy: This role will help VIP Fellow acquire marketing skills and knowledge while developing TrueValue Hub’s marketing strategy. Some knowledge of prior marketing through coursework and/or work experience is preferred.

Support in developing the marketing strategy

Prepare GO-TO market strategy

Customer segmentation by Industry vertical, size and geography.

Market research and analysis

Prepare promotional marketing materials

Customer survey and support in customer interviews

• Product Development: This role will work closely with the Product Manager and the Program manager (software development) and will gain hands-on experience in product development. This role can make a significant impact on the product features and roadmap as the product is getting developed. VIP fellows with engineering background are preferred for this role.

Support in developing the Product roadmap

Product and features Analysis and development

Business/product Analysis

UI/UX analysis and recommendations

Competitive benchmark

Data analysis

• Data science/Business Analysis: This role will work closely with the CEO and the Program manager on the AI engine development and Data Analysis. This role can make a significant impact on product roadmap as the AI engine is getting developed. VIP fellows with strong data analysis, AI/ML, statistics skills are preferred or this role.

Cost modeling and insights on 13M+ electronic component records

Cost models and insights on key model inputs and outputs
Ureka Health
Ureka Health is a social discovery platform to enable individuals to discover their healthier lifestyle in a more efficient, personalized, and trusted way.

  • What is unique about your venture and why would someone want to work with you? How will your company provide a good experience for the VIP Fellow?

Ureka Health is on a mission to make healthy living easier. This venture is optimizing our two most important assets: time and health. Currently consumers are overwhelmed by the amount of health product options and spend too much time searching for the right product for them. This leads to frustrated consumers who waste too much time getting to their healthier routine. Ureka Health is unique because it is a social platform dedicated to health and wellness (focused on skincare first) and disrupts the standard search process. The founder is a dedicated individual with experience working and leading teams and will have a hands on approach with the VIP fellow. Her background is in health tech and medical devices and she has experienced firsthand the struggles of finding a healthier lifestyle. She is very open, collaborative, and eager to work with the Fellow to get this venture to the next level.


  • What stage of venture implementation are you currently in? What is your next milestone and how will you achieve it? How can your fellow help make an impact?

The venture has been currently validated as the founder interviewed many individuals after demoing the idea and site. There has been venture capitalist interest and the required next step is to prove out user traction with a more functional MVP. The goal for the venture fellow is to build the mobile site MVP and enable the current waiting list of users to try out the beta. Ureka Health is looking for a fellow with UX and backend experience. This step in the venture is crucial as it is the gateway for future funding and to develop the MVP will make an incredible impact in the company.

  • What skills and attributes are you looking for in a VIP Fellow?

Ureka Health is looking for a mission-driven, creative, and collaborative individual who has the ability to be resourceful and work efficiently. Software development skills in backend and UX/UI is needed to create the more functional MVP. Interest and experience in health and wellness, e-commerce, and social platforms is a plus!

Joiner Events & News

HILADELPHIA, MAY 3, 2022 – The University of Pennsylvania’s Venture Lab is pleased to announce the winner of the sixth annual Startup Challenge, sponsored by Eric Aroesty, C’92: ToxiSense, co-founded by a team of four University of Pennsylvania freshmen, Aravind Krishnan, C’25, W’25; Udit Garg, ENG’25; Andrew Diep-Tran, W’25; and Aarush Sahni, C’25. The Startup Challenge was held on April 29, 2022 at Tangen Hall, the University of Pennsylvania’s hub for student entrepreneurship and innovation.
Venture Lab is pleased to announce the creation of a new Entrepreneur in Residence program, a marker of the continued growth for the newly-formed entrepreneurship center. The newly-established position is a long-term engagement with the center to provide workshops, office hours, and general advising/mentoring to support early-stage student and alumni ventures in our Venture Initiation Program. Open to all Penn alumni, the role doubles as a meaningful way for former participants of the program to return to their innovative roots and support the development of the entrepreneurial ecosystem at the university. After a strict selection process, the center is delighted to announce that Doug Baldasare, CEO and Founder of ChargeItSpot, a world leader in cell phone charging stations, will serve as the inaugural Entrepreneur in Residence. Baldasare developed the concept for ChargeItSpot during his time in the program as an MBA student at the Wharton School and continues to serve as CEO.
EMBAs are no longer the preserve of corporate high-flyers, as alumni go it alone
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