Venture Initiation Program – Fellows

Applications for Spring 2019 are now OPEN. Applications are DUE on February 2 (11:59 pm EDT).

Please take a look at projects listed below before you apply.

Questions? Email Valentina Goutorova.

VIP Fellows are 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. VIP-Fellowship is an opportunity for these 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 Penn Wharton Entrepreneurship’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.

The program is open to all Penn and Wharton students.

Antares Diamonds logo

Antares Diamonds

Antares Diamonds is the first company to commercialize artisanal diamonds with social impact for the ethical consumer.

  • 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?

Antares Diamonds is the first company to commercialize artisanal diamonds with social impact for the ethical consumer. In the ethical jewelry & responsible luxury space, we are building all aspects of our business in real time and truly innovating traceable supply chains and social impact with diamonds. As an early stage, pre-revenue company looking to become cash flow positive this year, a VIP fellow will be able to have immediate impact on our success with their work, and learn valuable insights about the diamond industry, operations, marketing & building brand awareness, help derive online insights from data scraping, international and domestic logistics (blockchain* may be involved), and sales.

  • 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 feasibility stage. Our next milestone is to export our 1st parcel of diamonds (target date March 2020), and sell to preferred jeweller partners or the diamond exchange in New York (or Dubai).

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

I am looking for a scrappy, passionate VIP fellow who likes luxury businesses as well as for profit social enterprises. This person must be flexible, and willing to work in any silo of the company, not just their strengths. I value a team player and deep thinker willing to play in any role. However, more specifically, we would really like someone with strong marketing and data gathering skills.

atlas logo

Atlas

Atlas is a digitally native brand that provides arch support to modern 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?

Atlas is a brand that is modernizing arch support, and is starting by developing an orthopedic insole that is comfortable, supportive, and sustainable.

Atlas represents a shift from current players, such as Dr. Scholls, who focus on medical problems and do not relate to modern digitally-native consumers. Rather, Atlas aims to build a relatable brand that connects with consumers and educates them on the relationship between arch support and overall wellness (it’s true – it works!). Atlas will focus on social impact by using sustainable materials to ensure that we support not only our consumers, but also our world. Eventually, we plan to build a support-first footwear brand that caters the needs of the Millennials and all modern consumers.

We are a fun founding team that wants to work closely with a VIP fellow to build a mission-driven brand in a space that is ripe for disruption. We have identified a problem worth solving and are spending our time reaching out to experts across the insole/footwear/DTC space, developing a unique product, strategizing, and executing – we would love to bring on a fellow to get a true sense of what goes into solving a problem by launching a startup.

  • 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’ve already sourced a manufacturer, aligned on the product we are going to build, and have created molds for our first batch of insoles. Early on in the semester, we are planning to launch a pilot around campus to get other students wearing our insoles and understand their behaviors and experiences using our product for extended periods of time. We will have a broader launch at SXSW and will use that momentum to carry us through the end of the year.

We have several ideas for projects a VIP Fellow can lead, but are also open to others depending on your interest and skill set. Projects include:
1. Help to run our campus-wide pilot: gather feedback from real customers, conduct interviews and surveys, serve as a brand ambassador, execute creative marketing strategies.
2. Support the development of our website: we are planning to fully launch our e-commerce site in late March. We are looking for a VIP Fellow to help us refine messaging and test UI and UX.
3. Social media and marketing strategy: run marketing experiments to track the market success of different tactics, messages, and creative.
4. Inventory forecasting / financial modeling: build models based on data from initial sales

These roles are just suggestions as we think about our next six months – in the end, we’re an early stage startup, so if you like our concept please reach out! We’re happy to talk about how we can work together to craft your ideal role.

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

We are looking for someone smart, curious, and fun who is willing to get their hands dirty and wear many hats. We have a lot of different projects we are working on, and would like to find someone who is adaptable and open to new experiences.
The ideal candidate will be excited about our brand and the DTC space and eager to share his or her perspective and ideas (especially if they are different from ours!). Additionally, graphic design, social media savviness, experience in medical technology, or ecommerce would all be a plus.

Buoyant logo

Buoyant

Buoyant is a subscription telemedicine app for migraine headache sufferers to connect with doctors for convenient and caring treatment.

  • 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?

Migraine is a debilitating and unpredictable headache that prevents sufferers from working or going about their day for hours at a time. This common condition affects 1 in 5 women and 1 in 11 men in the United States, primarily of working age.

Many patients are frustrated with the treatment they are receiving today – feeling like their condition is brushed aside as “just a headache” and waiting for months to see a doctor or neurologist in person. With the Buoyant app, patients can access virtual messaging with doctors, prescription medications, and treatment plans personalized to their lifestyle and symptoms.

As a fellow, you’ll have the chance to think strategically and operationally about how to best leverage technology to solve this untapped problem in healthcare. You’ll be able to shape both the MVP and future direction of the company to help millions of people improve their quality of life.

  • 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 setting up an MVP to pilot the solution. We have validated the market demand through customer interviews/surveys; the clinical treatment approach has been developed, advised by the head of the migraine practice at Penn Medicine; a mobile app is currently being prototyped for demo purposes.

Our fellows can help make an impact in a variety of areas – please reach out and we can craft a role based on interest and experience. Examples:
• Physician lead generation and outreach
• DTC marketing strategy, e.g. social media strategy, branding
• A/B testing of website or marketing channels
• Customer segmentation analysis and willingness to pay research

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

We are looking for fellows who would like to build a company together, with the potential to continue as a team member or co-founder after the semester
• Collaborative: interested in spending 3+ hours per week in person
• Mission-driven: committed to understanding the patient’s perspective and putting their needs first
• Experience with growth or marketing is a plus

Cannection

Cannection

We use data analytics to find the best cannabis products and send them to individuals in LA on a subscription basis.

  • 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?

Cannection (cannection.us) is the first cannabis startup to launch out of the Wharton ecosystem. We solve the paradox of choice that 90% of customers feel when they walk into a dispensary – the overwhelming number of opaquely named strains of cannabis and unfamiliar brands.

We will provide a good experience for a VIP Fellow by allowing you the space to solve a problem in your own way. Brendan, our CEO, was a Marine officer and has years of experience building up subordinate leaders, helping them find their voice, and empowering them to reach their full potential. We view any potential VIP Fellow as a full part of the team with a unique perspective and we want applicants who have the courage to speak their mind and take ownership of a problem. Moreover, this is a mission-driven organization that will donate a portion of all profits to social-equity non-profits to benefit communities that have been disproportionately affected by the war on drugs.

  • 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 preparing to go to market. We are negotiating with several dispensaries in Southern California to launch our MVP this spring. We expect to begin selling product in February, and any VIP Fellow applicant could make a significant impact in our customer acquisition strategy, A/B testing of the website, pricing, and purchasing options, and user interface.

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

We’re looking for initiative-driven individuals who are interested in any of the following roles/functions: designing and bringing to life our user-interface, data collection/management platform, operations, strategy, and graphic design.

Cohesion

Cohesion

We’re a mobile-first app aimed at bringing people from different circles together in small group settings. While our initial users would be students, our customers are administrators and HR equivalents in organizations.

  • 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?

A recent Harvard study that took place over 80 years identified that the key to happiness is in healthy social relationships.
A big portion of the appeal of the MBA experience is in finding and developing a strong network of relationships for both personal and professional reasons. However, this process still happens on a haphazard basis.

Cohesion is a mobile app that allows members of private communities (e.g. Wharton MBAs) to drive their community engagement. Cohesion allows users to join/host events and uses AI/ML to suggest people that you should meet within the community. On the other hand, Cohesion also provides club leaders with the analytics tools and insights to help them better understand and manage the community. We are building Cohesion to be user-centric and mobile-first.

As VIP Fellow(s), you will have the opportunity to help build a company from its nascent stages, to take ownership of your project (see below) and drive with it.

  • 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 developing an MVP web-app and doing a limited roll-out and testing on events at school. We hope to do club wide rollout midway through the semester and are aiming to raise our first funding by the end of it. Given the stage, the VIP Fellow(s) will have significant influence on the development of Cohesion.

There are multiple areas that we can use the support of the VIP fellow(s), some of which are the following:

1. Market Research & Competitive Analysis: Developing market analysis and surveys to better understand usage at other universities (across B-schools, other graduate programs, undergraduate programs)
2. App Development: iOS and Android app development
3. Product Roadmap: We have a significant vision for Cohesion. Help us address what we build first and how we build it!
4. Cohesion Score Index Creation: Help us think of a social index score – How social are you? How connected are you? How diverse are your connections? How do you quantify the strength of those social interactions?

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

At heart, we’re looking for someone that is excited about bringing people together. A willingness to learn and a drive to execute are crucial. Previous working experience in social networks (e.g. FB, Twitter, Meetups, Gaming Communities etc.) and / or experience in ed-tech across, especially sales / BD.

Elivade

Elivade

Elivade is a career advancement platform for minority talent.

  • 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?

Elivade is a career advancement platform for minority talent. Our mission is to elevate diversity in the workplace. We can provide a unique VIP Fellow experience:

– We are tackling an important social issue (significant under representation of minorities and women in business).
– We went live in April 2019 and have a team of 6 people plus ~30 Campus Ambassadors (at Harvard, NYU, Columbia etc.). This will be a great opportunity for VIP Fellows to help bring an early stage startup to the next level.
– VIP Fellows will get access to unique career opportunities. We are partnering with employers from across industries (e.g., PE, VC, Tech)
– We had VIP Fellows the last 3 semesters. All of them loved it and many remained part of the team afterwards (one even turned into an equity based co-founder)!

  • 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?

Since our launch in April we had 5000+ users and signed up multiple company partners. We have partnerships with affinity clubs at top universities including Wharton, Harvard, Georgetown, and NYU. Timing is perfect to join as a VIP Fellow as we are planning to scale up the venture aggressively over the next few months. We are raising our seed round to scale up our marketing activities over the coming months.

Fellows will get a lot of mentorship and responsibility at Elivade. We can assign roles based on specific interests. Overall, these are the functions:
Marketing: Manage Campus Ambassadors, design social media campaigns, get press coverage, come up with additional strategic initiatives to scale
Partnerships: Manage current company partners, acquire new partners
Financing: Pursue investors, competitions, and other funding opportunities
Community Engagement: Come up with initiatives to increase user engagement & retention.

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

Passionate about diversity & inclusion; willingness to learn; be a team player; be flexible and creative when approaching new tasks; ability to manage various stakeholders (e.g., ambassadors, company partners, developers, investors).

Social Sharing with Carrot_logo

Fitalyst

Lifestyle Analytics for Busy Undergrads

  • 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 the first company to scan college websites for Student Life data to provide a chatbot with fast, real-time lifestyle (laundry, food, gym, etc) info while also matching students with peer-instructed exercise, nutritional, and self-care services.

Fellows will help us with user growth at Penn, operations, product development, and expansion to other schools.

  • 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?

Fitalyst launched our 2nd pilot at Penn in Fall 2019. We engaged 500 students with our first product Tag with a Weekly Active User (WAU) rate of 75%.

This semester we plan to increase our Penn student user base while simultaneously expanding to other institutions. Fellows will work closely with the founding team by joining 4 other student interns to address college student needs, iterate products, and be a part of a diverse team.

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

We are looking for fellows who want to work on BIG ideas in the wellness space. Fellows who want to sharpen their skills in operation, branding/marketing, and product design & back-end development are encouraged to apply.

Creative individuals with passion for wellness, big data, and impact will be a good fit for our team.

FLOAT_THERE

FLOAT/THERE

FLOAT/THERE is a travel platform for women. Using a combination of machine learning and human stylists, FLOAT/THERE curates and delivers personalized rental closets to travelers’ destinations so they can travel light and travel fashionably.

  • 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 operate at the intersection of technology, retail, and travel, so this could be a good experience for anyone interested in these areas.

  • 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 soft launched and continue to actively test the product on paying customers that we select off a waitlist. We’re currently focused on fundraising and launching to the wider market.
Some example projects the fellow could help with depending on his/her skills and interests:
• Managing our campus ambassador program (managing 8 ambassadors)
• Establishing pilots / partnerships with local hotels or retail fashion brands
• Researching and developing deep learning algorithms for curation
• Growing social media presence
• Fundraising / refining our financial model
• Operations (e.g. inventory management, packaging, shipping, etc.)

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

We are looking for experience in retail or hospitality partnerships, machine learning (specifically neural networks), social media marketing, graphic design, fundraising, and/or forecasting & financial modeling. With that said, we’d love to chat with anyone with a background or interest in retail / travel tech!

Frutero

Frutero Ice Cream

Frutero Ice Cream makes tropical fruit ice cream from fresh fruits grown in Colombia.

  • 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?

Frutero Ice Cream (FruteroIceCream.com) is a premium quality, tropical fruit ice cream company. Frutero launched on May 21st 2019, and today our 5 flavors, including Guava, Passion Fruit, Mango, Guanabana, and Coconut are available in hundreds of stores around Philadelphia including GIANT, goPuff, and UPenn’s Gourmet Grocer.

Our objective at Frutero is simple: become the leading, national ice cream brand for the 25% of US consumers with a connection to places where tropical fruits are grown (e.g., Latin America, India, Southeast Asia).
Frutero – founded by MBA candidates Mike Weber and Vedant Saboo – offers a significant challenge and learning opportunity for someone eager to get into the market, make a statement, and compete.

  • 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 goal in 2019 was to pilot Frutero in Philly to validate that consumers love our product and would keep coming back to buy more. By year-end, we achieved impressive sales metrics, strong retailer relationships, and a wide distribution network. Propelled by our 2019 success, 2020 will be a year of expansion through new retailers and new markets (e.g., New York, Florida, Texas).

Social Media: We are looking for a VIP Fellow to lead Frutero’s Social Media Marketing. The objective of this Fellow is to develop and implement marketing strategies that build consumer awareness and drive purchase decisions.

Customer Research & Product Enhancement: As Frutero hits the shelves of more stores, it’s critical for us to ensure that we are meeting the needs of our target customer. We are looking for a VIP Fellow to conduct customer research and interviews, to identify areas where our product can be enhanced.

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

We are looking for do-ers. We are looking for someone who is creative, driven, and excited to tackle big challenges.

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Fudena

Fudena is a West African fast casual restaurant that uses authentic flavors found in traditional West African recipes to produce new and unique dishes.

  • 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?

Fudena puts a modern twist on West African dining by offering flavorful West African recipes using fresh ingredients in dishes that are familiar to Americans—fast. As a business committed to supporting the community, we plan to source all of our ingredients locally, with a portion coming from black-owned farms. We will deliver our dishes in familiar formats: customizable bowls full of grains, proteins, veggies, and stews/sauces. Finally, we will offer quick food preparation, and will be conveniently located in business & shopping districts–perfect for the on-the-go young professional or college student.

As a member of our team, you’ll get valuable experience helping to build a brand from the bottom up. Plus you’ll get lots of access to delicious food!

  • 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 spent fall semester testing across multiple focus groups. This spring, we plan to host our first pop-up before launching our delivery service.

We’re looking for someone to join our growing #FUDENAFAM and help in the following areas:
• Marketing: build our presence on social media, design online surveys and conduct field research to develop personas of our target customers, track key website and Instagram analytics to identify high-performing content
• Supply chain: identify local farms to source ingredients from, collect price lists of produce
• Sales forecasting: menu pricing, recipe costing
• Miscellaneous: identify festivals, events that align with the Fudena brand

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

This opportunity is for you if:
• You are interested in the food space – extra points if you’re passionate about bringing African/emerging cuisines into the culinary mainstream
• You are creative
• You are prepared to take ownership over a workstream and run with it!

Kidas

Kidas

Kidas is a social media monitoring app that helps parents to protect their kids from cyberbullying and online predators using advanced AI technology.

  • 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?

Kidas saves kids’ lives by protecting them from cyberbullying and online predators. We are a group of Israeli intelligence veterans who use advanced AI to detect dangerous situations online. We won the Jacobson award, The MBAfund startup competition and were part of Pennovation accelerator last summer. Working with Kidas will provide fellows experience in:
1) Working with a highly-skilled tech team
2) Manage product development using agile methodology
3) Design early-stage software service

  • 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?

Kidas is in an exciting stage – we just raised a small round and started our first pilot with parents in Philadelphia. We also began to cooperate with the international center for missing and exploited children and leading children Psychiatrists from CHOP. Our next milestone is finishing our MVP pilot with parents and starting a pilot with a charter school in the area.

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

We are looking for fellows who are passionate about delivering impact by protecting kids.
Experience and expertise desired but not required: 1) Experience in selling and marketing to schools or school districts 2) Designing of ads and graphics. We also hope to leverage this opportunity to add team members to our core team after the program ends.

MVV_Icon

My Virtual Veterinarian

My Virtual Veterinarian is making veterinary care more cost-effective and flexible by offering pet parents access to care through pop-up clinics, telemedicine services, and in-home appointments.

  • 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?

My Virtual Veterinarian is redefining veterinary care. Instead of only giving pet parents the option of bringing their animals into physical veterinary practices, My Virtual Veterinarian offers alternative appointment options to pet parents. The goal of My Virtual Veterinarian is to make veterinary care as flexible as possible so that animals receive the care that they deserve. If you are an animal lover or are passionate about healthcare, then My Virtual Veterinarian will be a great fit for you. You will have the flexibility to work on whatever part of the business excites you most, or if you think there is something missing, then you can work on that instead. My Virtual Veterinarian is constantly evolving and I welcome insights from anyone who is passionate about helping animals and improving the healthcare available to 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?

My Virtual Veterinarian is in the beta stage. We hosted our first veterinary pop-up clinic on December 15, 2019 and generated $800 in revenue. We have 8 pet parents using our iOS application and 1 veterinarian who is available to schedule in-home, video, and chat appointments. Our next milestone is to host a second pop-up clinic, which will be on February 16, 2020. The VIP fellow could help with brainstorming and implementing marketing efforts to both pet parents and veterinarians to attend and work at the pop-up clinic. The fellow could also help with trying to establish partnerships with a groomers or pet supply stores to host either this pop-up or future pop-ups. The fellow could also help on the day of the pop-up to manage checking-in pet parents and asking them survey questions. The fellow could work on crafting the survey so that we learn how pet parents heard about the pop-up, what attracted them most to attending the pop-up, and what services do they want most from My Virtual Veterinarian. Pricing for services done at the pop-up clinic is less than what pet parents would pay at a physical practice. We have done this to try to encourage pet parents to bring their animals to the pop-up to get the care that they need. This means that the work done by the fellow will not only have an impact on My Virtual Veterinarian, but could also lead to more animals receiving care than they previously would have.

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

I am looking for someone who loves animals and who wants to help improve the healthcare that animals receive. Ideally the fellow is excited about at least one core aspect of the business, whether it is marketing, establishing partnerships, or inventory management of vaccines. From a software perspective, we need to build a web front-end that mirrors the iOS experience, so any fellow with front-end experience would also be helpful. We are also making adjustments to the backend, so any fellow with backend experience would also be great.

OrderIn

Order In

Order In reimagines flexible office space as a productivity tool, bringing the “future of work” into the built environment.

  • 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?

Order In reimagines flexible office space as a productivity tool. If you’re interested in coworking, read on. If you’re skeptical of coworking, definitely read on!
The most important proof that we can provide a good experience is the assessment of your peers. During fall semester 2019, 5 current students worked with Order In & remain involved with the venture. Based on internal surveys & 100% “strongly recommend” choosing Order In for your VIP fellowship & Fellows especially praised the clearly-structured projects, access to founder & network, and the sense that their opinions counted & projects made an impact.
So what is Order In?
We are building the “real” workspace of the future to be as seamless and lifesaving as your favorite work 2.0 software product. By incorporating behavioral economics and commodified professional services into an intentionally-designed space, we help our members optimize their most valuable resource: time.
As both a prestige consumer brand & a highly rational real estate/finance/proptech play, Order In offers an especially strong learning experience for students interested in these areas:
• Building consumer brands
• Operations/logistics of brick & mortar businesses
• Real estate investing & finance
• Fundraising
• Navigating frontier & controversial startup sectors
We are committed to providing an opportunity for VIP fellows to learn, experiment, and master the topic of their choice. We are also expanding our team, and there are future opportunities available if it’s a good fit.

  • 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 fast-growing venture entering a booming and controversial sector, and working with us is an opportunity to make a major impact at a critical juncture for this company.
The most important overarching milestone we’re working towards is opening our first location. In support of this goal, we have three priorities: brand-building, fundraising, and space operations.
Our VIP fellow could make an impact in any of these areas, based on their interests.
We have plenty of distinct projects available, and our VIP fellow could choose to focus on: brand building (digital marketing, PR, social media, brand assets etc), real estate/finance (financial modeling, real estate investments), operations/product (design & implementation of our first location), external stakeholders/opportunities (fundraising, partnerships, competitions), or being a proto-CEO (shadowing founders, a little bit of everything).
Last term, each student completed at least 2 distinct projects they owned end-to-end, with clear & significant impact.

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

Scrappiness, a can-do mentality, and enthusiasm about startup operations are more important than any particular skillset. We are looking for someone with experience being responsible for something important, and delivering results.
Special skills in real estate, digital marketing/social media, or design would be great, but not required.

Osiris

Osiris

Osiris AI reduces shrink in retail stores with its unbiased, AI-based shoplifting detection solution.

  • 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?

Osiris AI provides a 24/7 shoplifting detection solution that integrates into existing CCTV systems within minutes. Osiris watches constantly for suspicious behavior by analyzing shoppers’ behavioral cues while abstracting away demographic information (eg. race, gender) to sidestep biases and preserve shopper privacy. When suspicious behavior is detected, Osiris immediately notifies loss prevention personnel to review the footage and, if appropriate, take action.

Osiris’ emphasis on ethical, privacy-aware AI requires solving challenging technical and legal problems. These problems require diverse skill sets, well-suited individuals interested in developing state-of-the art deep learning-based models, productionizing those models at scale, or navigating the complex, nascent legal landscape of commercial AI. Working at Osiris also gives you the opportunity to learn from our experienced mentors at Comcast, Walmart, Ballard Spahr, and Penn Engineering.

  • 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?

Having validated market demand by conducting extensive customer interviews and market research, Osiris is currently pushing towards our first sales by iterating on our product and conducting pilot testing with local Philadelphia stores.

Moving forward, our three central focuses are iterative product development with our retail partners, refining IP strategy (including provisional applications, patent review), and AWS infrastructure scaling, along with various other business development activities.

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

1. IP Strategy: we’re seeking for law students with a passion for entrepreneurship and investigating the legal nuances of machine learning, data privacy, and AI bias. Your responsibilities would include developing domestic IP strategy, drafting patent applications, and establishing data security compliance programs.

2. Product Development: we’re seeking developers with experience in front-end/back-end web development, UI/UX skills, and/or iOS mobile development. You would work closely with our customer outreach team members to best translate our customers’ needs into features for our product offerings.

3. AWS Infrastructure: we’re seeking developers with AWS CloudFormation, Kinesis Video, SageMaker, DynamoDB, and/or S3 experience, although any developer with a passion for learning new technologies is also welcome. Your responsibilities would include developing various components of our AWS stack to ensure scalable, cost-efficient, secure service.

4. Marketing & Branding: we’re seeking for someone who’s able to communicate our emphasis on ethical AI to our customers through our marketing strategies and branding.

Even if your skillset doesn’t perfectly match any of the above descriptions, don’t hesitate to reach out. We always have room for individuals with a desire to work in a high-tech entrepreneurial environment regardless of your skills or background.

Pinky Promise

Pinky Promise

Pinky Promise seeks to be every woman’s best friend. An AI-backed, highly confidential chatbot, Pinky Promise helps women to find precise answers to their questions in a highly confidential manner, so they can truly own their sexual health.

  • 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?

Pinky promise aims to connect Indian women to real-time, highly verified sexual and reproductive health information

Talking about sex or sexual health is highly stigmatized in India. To most doctors, reproductive health starts and stops with conception. Further, women lack safe spaces, even among their peers, to talk freely about sex, periods, and contraception. This problem is magnified among younger, unmarried women who face the double stigma of being unmarried, yet having questions of an intimate, sexual nature. The result is disastrous – according to national statistics, 50% women using contraceptives are unaware of it’s side effects, 20% of all pregnancies are unplanned or mistimed and 34% adolescent girls are in abusive relationships and lack the resources to negotiate it

Pinky Promise seeks to be every woman’s best friend. An AI-backed, highly confidential chatbot, Pinky Promise helps women to find precise answers to their questions in a highly confidential manner, so they can truly own their sexual health.

As a VIP fellow, you will have the opportunity to help us on an extremely impactful venture, as we scale rapidly to a quick launch timeline. If interested, you will have the chance to interact with our users, talk to global thought leaders in the sexual and reproductive health space, and help us define the potential of the technology we are developing!

  • 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 recently concluded our validation phase and have embarked upon the process of prototyping and testing our interface on our target users. We learnt quite a few fascinating details from market surveys, on how young women access sexual health information and the means of communication that they prefer. We have used this information to narrow-down our service offerings and identify the biggest pain points faced by women.

We are using an agile, design-thinking led process to test our service, and are currently in the process of rapid prototyping where we allow our users to inform the design and specifications of The chatbot, and the persona it adopts.

VIP Fellows can make a really huge impact by being a part of our core team and helping us ideate. Specifically, we would love support to:
Develop our technology
– Experience in AWS, AI/ML or a willingness to learn these skills
– Co-create our product and go-to market strategy
– Build a brand and a social media presence

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

The most important attribute we are looking for is a passion for the cause. We value idealists and problem-solvers who are comfortable with working with many moving parts and don’t mind rolling-up their sleeves to tackle a very pressing social issue!

showcase

Showcase

SHOWCASE is a market-research focused vending machine network. We serve as a platform for brands to exchange products for 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?

We leverage the physical footprint of vending machines to intercept and reach a previously unreachable consumer, to gather valuable in-moment product feedback. The first Showcase vending machine has arrived here in Philly and things are rolling – my web app is fully built, I’ve successfully run 3 beta tests, I have a few venues willing to host my machines, brands coming on, etc.! So it’s time to scale, aka order more machines, nail down a growth strategy, potentially raise from student-focused VCs, and more. We’re at a really exciting growth stage, and I’m staying in Philly post-grad to continue working on this full-time in May, so there are opportunities to continue to grow with the company longer term.

  • 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 fellow at this stage can help with business development, develop an operational (fulfillment, distribution) plan, define overall growth strategy, help evolve the technical product, gain insights into fundraising/pitching VCs, etc.

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

Most importantly I’m looking for someone passionate about the idea, with the time and interest to help us grow quickly! Market research/brand management/consumer insights experience would be awesome, but otherwise, need scrappiness to help with a host of workstreams:Business development – choosing cool brands to bring on and helping sell in the Showcase value prop; growth strategy – thinking about what venues and brands would be most interested in what we offer; product management – overseeing technical development and evolving the app and its features, ops strategy for scaling the distribution/fulfillment system.

Solin

Solin

Solin is a free mobile application that aggregates and categorizes the best workout videos from the best online coaches; with Solin, consumers know that the workout content is high quality and they can easily sort/filter for their preferences.

  • 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?

Solin is a mobile fitness application that provides motivating and engaging workout videos to consumers for free. Solin has launched with 12 top-notch trainers (combined Instagram following of over 3.5 million) who provide high quality videos. Our vision is to simplify exercise for consumers, who today are struggling to sort through the plethora of free workout content available on non-fitness specific applications like Instagram and YouTube. Compared with competitors offering free solutions, Solin has significantly more engaging, motivating, and relevant content.

Solin also has a unique social mission embedded in its platform – by making high quality workout content more accessible, we hope to reduce the prevalence of obesity in the United States (40% is obese; additional 32% overweight) and globally.

Solin would provide a good experience for a VIP Fellow as he/she would be expected to take on a high level of responsibility and use his/her creativity to make a significant impact on the near-term development of the mobile application and business. We are looking for the right Fellow(s) that are passionate about fitness and interested in attracting users to our platform through implementation of relevant product features and appropriate messaging to consumers.

  • 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 testing the beta version of our application. Our next milestone is to implement updates to our application based on beta feedback and formally launch the mobile application to the public. We will achieve this by continuing to solicit feedback from our beta testers and refining the product accordingly. Our fellow can make an impact by doing the following:
• Implement feature updates (through mobile application development and/or product management)
• Create/improve our existing positioning to the market (in terms of slogan, key phrases, website design and messaging, etc.).

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

We are looking for somebody who has software engineering, product development (including UI/UX), and/or marketing skills:
• Software engineering: we are looking for either full-stack, front-end, or back-end engineers familiar with React Native / Node
• Product development: we are looking for somebody with expertise in UI/UX optimization for mobile applications as well as the ability to think through feature creation & updates in the context of a mobile fitness application
• Marketing: we are looking for somebody who is skilled in messaging products to consumers, with a particular interest and/or skill-set related to fitness/exercise
Most importantly, we are looking for fellows who are interested in the fitness landscape and specifically interested in our mission/vision as previously stated (i.e., to simplify exercise for consumers).

Swiing

Swiing

Swiing is Tinder for Music! Find new songs based on your current mood and favorite genres, and easily create playlists for your streaming 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?

Swiing is here to revolutionize the way people find music.

With millions of songs on streaming platforms, you should be finding songs you love every day, if not multiple times a day. The reason you aren’t is that music streaming platforms are designed for listening, not discovery. Swiing was created to fix this.

Swiing lets you swipe on clips of curated songs and build playlists to export to your preferred music platform. Songs are recommended based on live mood and genre filters in addition to your past likes/dislikes. Don’t want to manually create a playlist? Swiing also automatically recommends playlists based on songs that go well together. Find something a friend might like? “Swiing” the song to their feed and get notified what they think.

Join Swiing If You Want To:

– Shape the go-to-market strategy of an exciting product that has the potential to touch millions of people
– Gain a holistic product development experience from UI/UX to machine learning architecture by working with a best-in-class tech team
– Join a dynamic, multi-faceted, and extremely motivated team that has come from idea to MVP in <4 months
– Build a strong brand that connects with young music listeners across the US
– Get free concert tickets and meet up-and-coming musicians
– Get and create some sick company SWAG (T-shirts, stickers, AirPods?)
– Be part of a startup that is actively raising funds (we hope to be funded by the time you join)

  • 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 released a closed beta in December 2019. We will publicly launch Swiing on the App Store by mid-January. This launch will feature integration with both Apple Music and Spotify.

Milestones (Potential fellows should indicate where they most want to be involved):

1. Development 
– Feature Development: expand social functionality – personal messages, reactions, stories, group chats, group playlists, and activity feeds; integrate Shazam-like music identification API
– Data Science: Iterate on recommendation engine; Create filters for “party, sleep, workout, sex, etc”
2. Marketing
– Content Creation: ads, promotional images, videos, articles, posts, and designs; postings for Kickstarter, Product Hunt, etc.
– Customer Acquisition Channel Testing: running and analyzing field tests on different channels to determine which has the highest ROI
– A/B Testing: running and analyzing field tests to optimizing landing pages, messaging, calls to action, and experience design
– Artist Co-Promotion: work with artists to have them featured on Swiing
– Ambassador Program: define an ambassador program and onboard ambassadors from different high school and college campuses
– User Feedback: implement a process to continually receive and iterate upon user feedback

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

We are looking for someone who is passionate about music, is excited to create the next viral app, and has the drive to learn and take on responsibility.

For Developers: Comfort and willingness in learning a new API is a must. Experience with one of Python or Flutter (or another front-end framework) is strongly preferred.
For Marketers: A burning desire to understand our target users is a necessity. Experience in creating content is a must. Experience with running field tests/campaigns is strongly preferred.

toucan

Toucan Labs

Toucan is building a curated, tinder-like travel discovery experience for millennials and Gen Z.

  • 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 operate at the intersection of technology, travel, and social. We have been prototyping for several months and are actively building out our alpha, with plans to launch late Jan – early February 2020.

Working with us will provide the following experience:
1. Work with experienced technologists & the opportunity to get exposure to/manage agile product development processes
2. Get hands on experience with helping to think through/execute go-to-market, design, marketing, fundraising.

  • 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 actively building our product, with plans to fundraise in Q2 2020. Some example projects that the Fellow could help with include:

1. Brainstorming and managing marketing/social media strategy
2. Competitor/market research
3. Refining our pitch deck
4. Brainstorming/executing go-to-market
5. Conduct product/user testing
6. Brainstorm/execute content strategy

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

We are looking for people interested in early stage ventures, and who are doers.

Village

Village Maternal Health

Village Maternal Health is a maternal mental healthcare platform that leverages content, community, and connections to mental health professionals to better support mothers’ mental health needs post partum.

  • 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?

Village was founded by a female Wharton MBA student and former small business investor who is passionate about changing the status quo for care for new mothers. This is an early-stage startup where you could have the opportunity to help carve out your role and make a meaningful impact on the development of the company. Further, we will provide you both autonomy in managing a project as well as coaching and feedback throughout the course of the fellowship to help you develop professionally.

  • 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 process of iterating on the platform by beta-testing our MVP with new mothers and building communities of new mothers online. Our next milestones are related to scaling our mother community, and a VIP Fellow could be an integral part of our process in reaching that goal.

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

We are looking for someone who is creative, curious, and detail-oriented to help us with branding and marketing, social media, and/or healthcare partnership development. No prior startup experience or knowledge of the industry is necessary (we can get you up to speed!). We have a ton of project ideas and would love to work with you to see what might be the best fit given where you would like to develop your skills and what you are passionate about.