Venture Initiation Program – Fellows

Applications are now OPEN. Application Deadline: SEPTEMBER 30 (11:59 pm ET)

Projects listed below are from founders in Venture Initiation Program. We will continue adding new projects until a week before the deadline, visit this page for updates.

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. Students also can participate in VIP workshops, bootcamps and advising sessions alongside founders.

The program is open to all Penn and Wharton students.

better

1% Better

1% Better is a consumer app that improves peoples’ holistic wellbeing by helping them develop good habits, break bad ones, and get 1% better every day.

  • 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?

Changing behavior is really hard. Without systems or support, building new habits or breaking old ones is next to impossible. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Years of research in behavioral psychology and behavior change have identified a variety of techniques that can improve the chances a new routine sticks. 1% Better leverages these techniques – things like gamification, social accountability, and habit stacking – to unlock our users’ full potential. Whether you want to workout more regularly, keep in touch with friends and family, or floss every day, 1% Better can help.
If you are interested in behavioral health, wellness, behavior change, or consumer technology, 1% Better could be a good fit for you. Fellows will have ownership over their projects which will be meaty, impactful, and interesting.

  • 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 conducting market/user research and validating our product market fit. It is early days! Our next goal is to create a design prototype of our app which we will use to conduct user testing before beginning development. We are looking for fellows to help us with this process!

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

There’s a lot of work to be done, and we are looking for fellows with skills or interest in:
-Design (e.g., Figma): to design and prototype our consumer app
-User research: to conduct surveys and user interviews that will uncover needs, refine our featureset, and inform MVP requirements
-Web development: to build our first website
-Social media marketing: to build our presence across social platforms and conduct digital ad tests

bdozer

Bdozer

Bdozer is a stock investment platform which helps retail investors understand the business and valuation of the company before buying the stock.

  • 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 online brokerages do a good job to make buying a stock as easy as buying a computer from Amazon. But, there is no easy way to understand the company for the investors before buying the stock. Turns out, people treat investing into stock as gambling, especially, for all the Gamestop craziness that has happened recently. Due to the gambling behavior, we heard so many sad stories that people lost all their money or even commit suicide.
That is why we decided to launch our project, bulldozer, which helps investors understand the company’s business in plain language before buying any stock. We want to help investors to know what they are buying for and understand the only way to make money consistently from the stock market is by owning a great company which makes money.
If you are interested in investment and eager to help more people make money through investments, Bdozer is the right project for you. By working at Bdozer, you have the opportunity to apply business insights, mathematics and engineering to stock markets.

  • 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 bootstrapping the project and validating the product market fit. After achieving product market fit, we are planning for seed funding from VCs. For our product, we have built a robust engineering architecture, nice websites and valuation models for more than 500 stocks listed on NYSE and Nasdaq.

Our team is currently lacking marketing experience. We are looking for fellows who can help us set up marketing campaigns and conduct user interviews to gather more user insights and feedback.

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

We are looking for fellows who love investments in stocks (not day trading) or would like to learn and gain more insights on stock investments (especially valuation).
We are looking for skills in

  • Marketing campaigns/social media
  • Product management (product testing/user interviews)
  • Engineering ( cloud based backend engineer/graphic designers)
  • Data Scientist/Quant Researcher
  • Fundamental Analysis/Investment insights

We would love to talk to anyone who has a strong passion in investments (not day trading) and is eager to help more people invest intelligently.

calicosol

Calico Sol

Calico Sol makes furniture from sustainable materials and provides it to consumers using a service-based business model.

  • 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 circular business model that we’re implementing will be the first of it’s kind in the furniture sector and will most likely become the standard in the next decade. The Company will provide a good experience by facilitating a perfect combination of structure, process, creativity and autonomy.

  • 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’re currently at the validation stage of venture implementation. Our next milestone is the design of the sustainable couch and the execution of our social media campaign. We’ve hired a design company to create our hallmark product: a modular couch whose frame, cushions and fabric are designed to be replaced independently of one another. While the design process is underway, the fellow will be responsible for accomplishing the objectives outlined in our social media campaign.

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

Marketing experience, intellectual curiosity, comfort with autonomy and urgency. Those are the qualities that I’m looking for in a VIP Fellow.

Candr

Candr

Candr (previously MBA Blind Love) is a mission-driven consumer technology dating startup focused on changing the way we currently date.

  • 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?

Modern dating has become too focused on the superficialities and our mission is to strip away any visual biases and have users get to know each other on a deeper, more emotional level first. On Candr, users are matched anonymously and explore each other’s values through guided questions and email exchanges before they choose to reveal their identities to each other. At Candr, we’ve intentionally maintained the blind/anonymity aspect of our platform in order for members to get to know each other without any preconceived biases or judgments. We take pride in creating a safe space where members can freely express themselves and celebrate their diversity and individuality.

If you are passionate about the lifestyle/dating space and want to create a dating culture that encourages users to celebrate their individuality and diversity of thought, Candr is the place for you. With over 3,000 users who’ve signed up for our platform since launch, you will get hands-on experience working directly with user data and creating a direct impact in their lives.

  • 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 initial launch in March 2020, we had over 3,000 MBAs sign up across the top business schools and created 15,000+ unique connections. We’re currently testing version 2.0 of our product, which is a web application that allows users to send emails anonymously to their matches. We will be designing and building paid features as well as specific features to improve the product to drive user engagement.

Our next milestones include the following:

1) design and build paid features to finalize monetization and pricing strategy
2) launch our podcast – “MBA Bachelor” in February, and build a strong community following through social media and community engagement
3) expand beyond MBA students to Med and Law schools

Fellows can make an impact by participating in any of these workstreams and being proactive about being involved in driving the completion of these milestones.

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

We are looking for help with:

  • Engineering and product management
  • Digital marketing / community building
  • Podcast producing and management
  • Product pricing strategy
  • Business development

Looking for anyone with the following skill sets: fullstack engineering knowledge, social media marketing, graphic and web design, Canva, product design and management, customer interviews and surveys, A/B testing experience, web and API development using Python, SQL, Tableau, conjoint and pricing analysis, podcast distribution and sponsorships.

For more information about the individual roles, please visit this link.

CardCurator

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 Lakeville, CT. We have successfully raised $475k in pre-seed funding in Dec 2020, and officially soft-launched on both the App Store and Play Store in March 2021. We will be launching the public beta 2.0 by Sept 15th, 2021 and officially starting our $4 million Seed raise!

Our business is constantly evolving as COVID changes 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 had 3 wonderful VIP Fellows in fall 2020, 2 of whom stayed on with us, and we had 3 more join us in spring 2021! 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 2.0 version publicly by Sept 15th! We are now pushing marketing to acquire more quality users, while still focusing on the data analytics and feedback they provide.

Our next milestone is to grow to 10,000 active users by year end!

We will achieve this milestone by spending our capital as efficiently as possible to minimize the acquisition costs of users through an organic word of mouth campaign, as well as highly targeted advertising on Google, Instagram, and Twitter. 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, customer acquisition, and customer retention strategies. We have the professional level of HubSpot to help automate and simplify as many processes as possible. We also have a variety of growth tools working for us on Twitter and Instagram. We are heavily focused on data analytics and want it to drive our marketing decisions. We also have a variety of other tools and services we are using to help on the marketing 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!

coblossom

coBlossom

coBlossom is an app that turns exercises derived from couple’s therapy and scientific studies into fun activities that couples can enjoy at their own pace while building the core skills for a healthy relationship.

  • 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?

Relationships play an important role in our personal wellbeing, and while a lot of time and money is spent on wellness areas such as fitness and nutrition, we dedicate less resources to building our relationships. coBlossom’s mission is to help couples build strong relationships through an assortment of fun, science-backed activities designed to provide couples with core relationship skills.

As the founding team, we will enable the VIP Fellows to take ownership over their workstreams while providing mentorship to ensure the Fellows are supported and are building the skills they want to work on. The founders have a combined 10+ years of experience in strategy consulting and development/product experience in big tech and can share details about their experiences. Fellows have the opportunity to shape the brand and identity of coBlossom.

  • 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 completed a user study with couples at the end of 2020, and after strong reception, we’re ready to start developing a beta and grow our brand. Our next milestone is to launch the app by fall 2021. Fellows can make an impact by playing active roles in:
● Defining our marketing plan, leveraging our existing survey and user study insights, and building brand awareness via original content
● Designing our brand kit and UI/UX for the beta
● Assisting in building a cross-platform mobile experience, which will likely include a mix of a standard app backend and a game server backend

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

We are looking for Fellows who are excited about making an impact in the wellness space and are willing to learn and grow. Potential roles include, but are not limited to:
● Development: Depending on prior experience, could build minigames with Unity Game Engine, work on Azure cloud services, or work on mobile app development in Flutter
● Design: Spearhead the UI/UX for our beta launch, includes creating a brand kit for coBlossom, conducting research on competitor design strengths/weaknesses, and providing actionable insights
● Marketing/Digital: Social media content creation (including blog posts), paid advertising strategy

Coverforce

Coverforce

Coverforce is a platform to help insurance agents/brokers receive insurance quotes from multiple top carriers for their commercial customers. To achieve this, we have partnered with a very large US insurance agents group and managed to get API integration with several of the top 10 major insurance carriers. For some of these major carriers, we are setting the best practice API development standards. We have a strong products and partnerships roadmap and insurance industry experts on our advisory board.

  • 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 looking for a Venture Fellow to assist with the Branding and Marketing of Coverforce, ahead of our Q1 2021 Launch and mass media campaign.

  • 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?

• Provide a critique of Platform design and user experience, currently in development by the Engineering team
• Develop the website design and work with developers to implement the design, ahead of Platform launch
• Create a list of major publications (general and industry-specific) and writers to target for media pieces. We have a major national Communications/PR company that will connect us to whomever we need.
• Develop the script for all communications of our brand and founder

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

• Strong written and verbal communications skills
• Communications and PR experience
• Interest in Design and Branding / Marketing
• Highly creative and proactive
• Strong time management

Fulton

Fulton

Fulton is a modern brand of arch support, starting with the world’s most comfortable, supportive, and sustainable shoe insole.

  • 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?

Fulton is shaking up the insole category – a category previously thought of as geriatric and gimmicky, but now starting to be perceived as an essential aspect of wellness. Fulton insoles are the most comfortable, supportive, and sustainable insoles on the planet, molding to the shape of your foot to properly align your feet, knees, hips, and back. Our brand is resonating with people from all walks of life, making topics like arch support easy to understand and embrace.

The VIP fellow would be plugging into a high-impact team that is no longer trying to get from 0–>1, but 1→N. Our team is focused full-time on growing the brand, and are excited to keep the momentum going as we head into the holiday season.

  • 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’re scaling! We launched the brand about 5 months ago and have been growing ever since. Currently, we’re testing different ads to best understand what resonates with customers and exploring new channels to do so.
We’d like to empower our VIP fellow to take action and test and learn, analyzing insights and extrapolating takeaways that will be actionable for our business. They will be working closely with us to determine new partnership routes and novel channels and actually execute on them.

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

We want someone who is genuinely interested in solving difficult problems and building new skill sets, trying things they haven’t done before and learning how to master them along the way.
An interest in and/or experience with DTC brands
Areas we are looking for help with:
Partnerships and community building:
There are tons of opportunities for Fulton to partner with niche communities (waiters who stand on their feet, walking clubs, nurses, sustainability groups), physical therapists and tons of ways to reach them (Instagram influencers, Reddit, Facebook groups, email, etc)
There are also many brands that have strong synergies with Fulton – e.g. activewear, sustainable fashion, travel, footwear, fitness accessories. We want to find ways to partner with them and need a VIP fellow who is creative to identify and execute on these brand partnerships.
We are looking for a scrappy, creative and entrepreneurial VIP fellow to identify partners and communities with strong synergies and engage with them to build relationships.
Social Media Marketing (Tiktok):
We realize Tiktok is the wild west of social media, and it represents a huge opportunity for our brand. In August, we created a TikTok that went viral and generated 20% of our monthly sales (@walkfulton), we want to keep doing this!
We want someone to help us create 2-3 Tiktoks/week, and also partner with Tiktok influencers.
Market sizing/GTM:
We are considering entering two segments, and would like help understanding the market size and opportunity at hand with each:
Employers (i.e. companies buying for their employees)
Professional practices (i.e. podiatrists and chiropractors)
Beyond understanding the opportunity, sourcing relevant case studies and compiling a go-to-market strategy would be the ideal output for this workstream

hera

Hera

Hera is a platform that makes travel safer and more accessible for all women by curating destination-specific safety information and fostering a community of travelers.

  • 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?

Hera is unique because it is one of the only travel companies in the market that focuses on women’s safety. We strongly believe that women’s safety can and should be everyone’s priority. If you’re passionate about women empowerment and travel, 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?

We are bootstrapped and currently in the MVP stage and are testing out the market with our initial safety guides. Our next milestone is to onboard vetted-hotel partners and build out the community element of our website.

There are ample opportunities for a fellow to get involved!

1) Destination safety guide creator: Create the safety dashboards for individual cities
2) Hotel partnership curator: Help identify and onboard hotels
3) Engineering and Product Developer: Help us build out the social aspects of our website
4) Social media expert / Digital Marketing / Community Building: Increase engagement and community

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

In search of a creative, motivated individual who is passionate about the cause and has the time to help us grow quickly. Tech skills and/or experience in travel and hospitality are a plus.

That being said, we are happy to chat with anyone with an interest in travel tech!

kelido

Kelido

Kelido is looking to disturb the healthcare system by developing algorithms that will revolutionize the way care is delivered from patient admission to discharge and during their recovery.

  • 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 as founders of Kelido is to develop automated tools that will reduce waste in the healthcare system. If you are highly creative, passionate about healthcare/machine learning and want to disturb the current system, then this is the perfect project for you. By working with us, you will be collaborating with Physicians from Penn Med and may have the opportunity to present your work at conferences and publish articles on the topic.

  • 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 is still quite new, and we are currently looking to build an MVP. We are looking for students with two profiles:

1 – Someone with experience building machine learning model to fine tune our MVP. In this position you will be working on areas related to deep learning and Bayesian networks, with the aim of developing accurate risk prediction models using real-world surgical data.
Additional responsibilities and duties include developing research objectives and proposals; presentations and publications; networking with colleagues and students. The roles will combine strong theoretical and analytical skills with programming experience.

2 – A UX/UI designer to help us develop a social medical presence (website, linkedin, etc). This role will require you to think outside the box to present the product in a way that will attract both customers and investors. You will also help with presentation of available data for publication at conferences and in journal articles.

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

Successful applicants will have or be near completing an undergraduate or graduate-level degree in an area related to the positions mentioned above. Those include but are not limited to CS, statistics, Design, etc. Experience in the following is useful: probabilistic modeling and scalable approximate inference; deep learning Bayesian optimization; graphic models. Familiarity with electronic medical records is also useful but we’re happy to teach you what you need in that regard.

lyvely

Lyvely Drinks, Inc.

Lyvely Drinks, Inc. creates delicious, elevated and complex cocktails that are virtually unavailable on shelves today. Come join us and be part of the team making curated cocktails for all our uncurated moments.

  • 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?

Canned alcoholic beverages grew 86% in 2020 and is on track to grow 20%+ annually in the next 5 years. More importantly, malt-based seltzers like White Claw are starting to plateau out in growth as consumers begin trading up for higher ABV, liquor-based, ready-made cocktails. Moreover, the competitive space for canned cocktails remains highly fragmented, with no clear category winner. The majority of the cocktail drinks on the market are basic cocktails like vodka/tequila sodas and look undifferentiated.
We think this is an exciting, fast-growing market with whitespace, and we want to tackle it with a new brand that thinks differently. Lyvely Drinks, Inc. is committed to providing delicious and elevated cocktails for every drinking occasion. Our branding emphasizes a work-hard, play-hard attitude, and uses new eye-catching designs not often used in the beverage industry, including handwritten elements, neon signs and polaroid pictures.
We are committed to providing the best experience for our VIP Fellow. They will own their workstreams end-to-end & have significant latitude in setting strategy/execution. The founders come from Bain and BCG and are dedicated to providing mentorship on brand / product development, marketing and the alcohol industry. Last but not least, the VIP Fellow will also get to see distilleries/breweries, taste test cocktail products, and join a launch party for our first product in the Spring!
We are Lyvely Drinks, Inc. and we make curated cocktails for all your uncurated moments. Come join us and be part of an amazing ride!

  • 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 validated the market need earlier in the Spring. Currently, we are finishing up the development of our first product and entering the go-to-market stage, where we will raise funds, enter contracts with our supply chain partners and kick off social media / website / press activity.
Our next big milestones are:
· Finalizing the beverage formulation and can / package design in early October (we are working with our flavor house and design agency)
· Completing fundraising by November (we have reached out to angels and friends & family regarding pitching and allocation in October / November)
Our fellow can help make a substantial impact in all areas of the business! We envision our fellow to take on a VP of Marketing role with the following areas of responsibility:
· Drive the redevelopment of the online storefront by –
• Sourcing, interviewing, contracting web developers
• Wireframing initial website architecture and drafting copy
• Working with design agency & web developers to redevelop and test website
• Building out core tracking using Google Tag Manager, Google Analytics, Facebook Analytics, and optimizing SEO

· Drive development of social media strategy by –
• Researching and designing an effective social media strategy and plan for our online and physical launch
• Determining required media assets to develop
• Sourcing, contracting and working with photographers, models, venues to develop assets
Other areas that our fellow can plug into based on their interest include:
· Fundraising – pitching to investors, refining the cashflow model, etc.
· Go-to-market – pitching to distributors, to press outlets, etc.
· Others – organizing competitive taste tests, etc.

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

We are looking for someone who is:
· Passionate about cocktails
· Excited to take ownership of multiple areas of work
· Able to commit at least 10 hrs per week to venture
· Experience in marketing, fundraising, and launching products a huge plus but not required

Maskbalsts

Mask Blasts

Mask Blasts are mask refresher sprays made up of essential oils and natural cleansing agents, designed to refresh and cleanse your mask on the go, while receiving natural health benefits and preventing maskne.

 

  • 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 venture, Mask Blasts, is innovating the way we wear our masks on a daily basis, and making mask wearing something to look forward to. Mask Blasts are mask refresher sprays made up of essential oils and natural cleansing agents, so you can refresh your mask on the go, while preventing maskne. We provide four different scents, so you blast fresh aroma of your choice in your mask. I’m the co-founder and co-CEO, and I’m a very easy going person to work with, and would love to have a fellow work side-by-side with me! Our company will provide the experience of working hands on within a startup at the revenue building stage, as we have already launched all our products. As a fellow, you will be able to experience what it is really like to work for a small company in their growth stage, and learn the mechanics of building a business.

  • 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?

Right now, we are at the early-stage growth/ market penetration stage, so we have launched all our products (on our website, Amazon, Facebook, and Etsy), and we are working on gaining more brand awareness to scale our revenue. Our next milestone is to sell our first 20k units through our sales channels, and we hope to do so with increased marketing efforts. We hope our fellow can help us create ads, hire brand ambassadors, and boost our social media platforms, so that we gain more traction to our products. We are a small company, so we could really use a helping hand in getting our brand out there!

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

We are looking for someone who is proficient in working with social media and graphic design (not required) to help make our ads. Also, someone who has good management skills, in terms of recruiting brand ambassadors for our company.

proyecto

Proyecto Verde

Proyecto Verde is a small business lending platform, primarily serving immigrant small business owners with a unique approach. We provide loan applicants with a native-language first experience and can evaluate credit-worthiness while ignoring traditional FICO scores.

  • 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?

Proyecto Verde fills a gap that traditional financial institutions, online lenders, and non-profit organizations do not for immigrant small business owners. Anyone interested in financial services or fintech, or interested in working with alternative data risk scoring or immigrant and minority communities is encouraged to apply.

We want fellows who will join us on our mission to provide small businesses with the financing capital necessary to thrive — regardless of the owner’s heritage, English-language fluency, color of skin, or income class. We want to challenge the accuracy of FICO scoring and create a better standard to calculate the risk-worthiness of a small business. Proyecto Verde aims to build products that will not only benefit business owners but also the employees and partners they hire and ultimately further grow local economies.

Fellows will be involved in the daily operations of the company and work directly with the founder in making business decisions for product development. For those interested in product and project management, this is an opportunity to strengthen those skills and learn from the founder who previously worked at American Express and Goldman Sachs.

  • 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?

In Late Spring 2021, Proyecto Verde acted as a small business loans originator and secured its first customer. We also identified Latinx small business owners in Philadelphia as our initial target market, given it is the fastest growing segment in US entrepreneurship and prioritized a Spanish-first experience. Since then, we pivoted to a software solution for community development financial institutions (CDFIs) to build a non-FICO risk model in a more cash-efficient manner.

Our next milestone is to complete the first version of our lending partner portal which we can license to CDFIs. In the fall, we will run a pilot program with 2-3 CDFIs to iterate through designs for the first iteration of our loan application portal which will involve Paid, Salesforce, and Zapier integrations.

Fellows will directly impact our progress towards our next milestone and will take on projects in the following areas:
1. Engineering: Develop the first iterations of our web-based application for our loan application portal
2. User Experience Research: Gain feedback from CDFIs and applicants on the loan application portal for our lending partner solution and propose areas for improvement and further testing
3. Data Analysis: Create a plan for how to best use transaction data to develop a risk model for scoring the health of a small business
4. Pricing & Marketing: Identify pricing strategies and initial target customers for our software vertical
5. Branding & Graphic Design: Build out our design/UI kit, develop wireframes using Invision, and choose a name for our lending partner solution
6. Investor Relations: Act as the right-hand person to the founder assisting in pitch deck updates, market research, competitor analysis, and fundraising strategy to prepare for our first round of raising capital

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

– Skills or experience in the financial sector and/or working with immigrant and minority communities
– Interest in working in a project in the following areas: Engineering, User Experience Research, Data Analysis, Pricing & Marketing, Branding & Graphic Design, Investor Relations
– Interest in learning how a startup pre-launch functions
Engineering ONLY:
– Zapier knowledge is a plus, but not required (please indicate experience is any)
– Both back-end and front-end engineers will be considered
Branding & Graphic Design ONLY: Experience with Invision is a plus, but not required (please indicate experience is any)

qrew

Qrew

Qrew is a digital social platform for service seekers who are trying to find skilled and trustworthy service professionals for their needs. The biggest problem they encounter today is that the current methods are unreliable and time consuming. If we solve this problem well, people will be able to focus their search to service professionals who are already tried and loved by their friends which will add efficiency and peace of mind to the process.

  • 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 biggest problem customers encounter today is that the current search methods are unreliable and time consuming. If we solve this problem well, people will be able to focus their search to service professionals who are already tried and loved by their friends which will add efficiency and peace of mind to the process. Qrew is young and agile, offering 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 share 20+ years management, strategy, and operations consulting and digital consumer experience design, a Wharton executive MBA, and a lot of energy and excitement. By joining Qrew, VIP Fellows will gain practical skills in customer acquisition and product strategy, and not from the sidelines. We want our VIP Fellows to have a “seat at the table” and participate in management and business strategy discussions. This is a very exciting time for us as our product will come out to Apple store this fall and will be a great experience for the candidate to witness fruition of a brand new product first hand. We see this fellowship as 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 $125K Pre-seed funding for the initial launch of the product. The app is almost completed and we are currently performing tests and fixing bugs before our October launch. We are working with X-Wharton consultants to shape marketing, branding and strategy. We are also in the process of acquiring our first customers. We expect VIP Fellows to wear multiple hats and help us with the several activities, including but not limited to customer acquisition strategy, product management, digital marketing and social branding.

  • 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 digital marketing and social media. In this role, you will help us refine our branding, build a digital marketing strategy, and broaden our online and social media presence. We also want the intern to be responsible with our social media accounts and audience partner relationship management.
• An MBA or undergrad students 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.
• An engineering student with mobile application development experience who will work with our technical team to get hands on experience on product development. Qrew leverages Amazon AWS services as an infrastructure, uses micro-services as back-end and react-native as front-end. We expect the VIP Fellow to understand the infrastructure, review enhancements recommended by customers, perform root cause analysis, revise code as necessary, perform testing.

sentinel

Sentinel Cloud

Sentinel Cloud is a simple, user-friendly cloud-based EMR system designed for putting patients back in patient care.

  • 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?

One of the most common complaints from both healthcare practitioners and their patients is the difficulty of dealing with health care insurance. This has led a growing movement of medical providers to abandon the traditional insurance-based model and start cash-only and direct primary care clinics. However, current electronic medical record (EMR) systems that store patient data are currently built around optimizing insurance billing instead of patient care. As a result, current clinicians are spending more time in front of computers than treating their patients.

Sentinel Cloud Inc. is a start-up that aims to provide a solution for these issues. We are building a cloud-based EMR system that can be deployed anywhere with a stable internet connection. By focusing on simplicity and user-friendliness, our goal is to develop a medical tool optimized for facilitating healthy, long-term patient-physician relationships.

We are an early-stage startup at the intersection of healthcare and technology. We hope to work with VIP Fellows that share our passion to develop technology for social good. As part of a small (but growing) team, VIP Fellows will have the opportunity to spearhead crucial projects and develop their unique skills and interests to guide the direction of the company. We hope you will consider joining us at Sentinel Cloud!

  • 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 venture is an early-stage, pre-MVP startup that is currently focusing on completing our MVP and beginning user experience testing with Penn Medicine-affiliated physicians and patients. Our short-term goal is to deploy our software at least one local clinic in Philadelphia by the end of 2021. VIP Fellows can contribute to this goal in a variety of ways, including (but not limited to): (1) marketing strategy and media advertisements, (2) leading user testing efforts, and (3) improving our EMR software.

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

We are looking for VIP Fellows that are independent, self-motivated, and passionate about building innovative technologies to improve healthcare delivery. Specific roles are listed below, but please note that preferences are *truly* preferences, not requirements. If you don’t see a position below that fits but are passionate about working with us, we want to hear from you!
1. Cloud Security and Management. Experience with GCP and SQL is preferred. Experience with HIPAA regulations with regards to cloud software is also strongly preferred.
2. Mobile Development. Strong experience with Swift and/or Java/Kotlin is preferred. Experience with Firebase is also preferred.
3. Full Stack Development. Both front-end and back-end engineers can contribute. React experience is preferred for front-end development, and SQL/Python Flask experience is preferred for back-end development.
4. User Experience Researcher. Experience with human subjects research is preferred.
5. Media and Marketing Strategy. Prior experience in healthcare marketing is preferred. Experience with advertisements and data analytics is preferred.
Please visit https://sentinelcloud.io/join_us for additional information!

Shinkei Systems

Shinkei Systems

Shinkei Systems builds robotics that minimize fish waste and multiply shelf-life.

  • 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?

Have you ever had omakase and wondered why the fish tastes SO much better? Our founders are engineers with a ton of practical experience. Shinkei is backed by DRF and multiple other industrial bodies. Founder’s past projects have been exhibited in the MoMA. As avid fishermen, we take many trips around the East Coast (incl. Martha’s Vineyard!) that fellows will join us on. Other travel includes visiting industrial boats.
Fellows will be immersed in the process of taking a business from science-project to full-time venture and all the growing pains that come with it. You will work directly with everyone from ocean engineers, operations and supply-chain managers, to industrial fishermen.

  • 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 functional prototype and a pilot, returning to Martha’s Vineyard later in the Fall for an extended pilot. We have raised a large amount of pre-seed funding from angels and VCs all the way to non-dilutive grants. We are actively raising capital to go full-time on the venture. Fellows can help with strategy, operations, product development and user research.

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

We an adventurous, high energy team and are looking for great leaders to join us and help build out our strategy and product.
Specific areas we have in mind for Fellows:
– An MBA, undergrad, or engineering student/PhD interested in operations and strategy. In this role, you will help us refine our storytelling, lend a hand building an operational and G2M strategy, and broaden our user research database with user interviews. The expertise developed over the summer will inform additional products, manufacturing communication, and supply chain management.
– An MBA/Undergraduate student interested in finance or sales/business development. You will source partners, connect with hospital executives, create a funding runway, and manage financial scalability. Both Fellows will be included in compensated travel on us!

Artboard 1

Smerge

Smerge is working to build the ‘ClassPass of digital services’ by offering access to existing digital subscriptions at a fraction of the cost, on demand.

  • 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?

Smerge 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. Our mission is to empower people by giving them on-demand access to technologies that improve all parts of their lives at the best possible value.

Smerge offers VIP Fellows the opportunity to get hands-on experience at an early stage 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. Fellows will work alongside our team (5) which consists of previous entrepreneurs and experienced professionals from companies such as Google, Amazon, LinkedIn, Zynga and TwoSigma.

  • 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?

Smerge is currently focused on getting to MVP and securing our first service partnerships. Our goal is to design and build an initial prototype by the end of the year and start raising funds. Fellows will shape the direction of the venture at its earliest stages and make a huge contribution by getting the company off the ground.

  • 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 four specific areas (can apply for individual roles):
• Product Engineering: Building a quality marketplace requires seamless UX and well-tested backend integrations with our various vendors. A product engineer at Smerge will work closely with our product manager and tech lead 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.
• User Research: To build a product our users will love, we need to understand what consumers are looking for and consistently collect feedback about what we are building. The User Research Fellow will collaborate with our product and tech leads to gather insights from potential Smerge users and test early concept ideas. They will support in survey design and distribution, prototype creation, and user interviews. Candidates should have strong written and verbal communication skills and be comfortable with data analysis and presentations. Prior experience in survey design, user interviews, and mockup/prototype creation is a plus.
• Strategic Partnerships: Smerge is nothing without the unique content and services partners will provide on our marketplace. The Partnerships Fellow would work closely with our strategic partnerships lead and the rest of the team to craft the content offering available on Smerge. They will engage with the broader tech community to generate insights as to what their product needs are. They will also support pitching and negotiation of partnerships that will become part of our initial offering. Fellows should be comfortable with targeted written and verbal communication, conducting outreach via various channels, and doing basic data analysis and presentations.
• Business Development & Marketing: We are looking to ramp up operations at Smerge across all departments and to achieve this we will need to fundraise and be agile strategically. The BD & Marketing Fellow will help in all aspects of fundraising including building pitch decks, helping pitch to investors, as well as help in content creation on social media and maintaining those accounts. The fellow is expected to have excellent interpersonal skills along with proficiency with creating powerpoint presentations. Alongside, creativity and good writing skills will be a plus. Master level students are welcome to apply.

StrongLean

Strong&Lean

Health and Nutrition Bar.

  • 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 going to the gym over a decade ago and have always felt the need for a spot next to or near my gym where I can sample different whey proteins (create my own protein shake) or simply get a refreshing blend (smoothies, vegetable blends) at an affordable price; I have not found many equivalents (if you have any insights we might have missed, please do share). There is where me and my team (one’s a nutritionist and another’s an athlete) sense opportunity and want to invite any like-minded fellows to help out and gain 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’re currently conducting research and developing a document we can use with investors. We have about $20k in funding thus far but given that this is intended to be retail establishment, we are seeking to raise a lot more. This is where the bulk of your work will be carried out.

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

Experience working on business plans and investor decks would be helpful but what’s a non-negotiable is a real passion for creating quality foods that help people feel better and do more. You can also propose your own project. For instance, one team member helped us with conducting on-ground taste tests while another advised on packaging and branding.

ToTaste

ToTaste

ToTaste is a platform for chefs/food creators to grow their fans and monetize their cooking content through subscriptions, a la carte classes, and brand partnerships. A Substack meets SquareSpace for chefs.

  • 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?

ToTaste fills a gap for many chefs and food creators looking to make recurring revenue outside of a kitchen. ToTaste seeks to help chefs and creators make a living outside of commercial kitchens and beyond cookbooks.
We are looking for fellows that love eating, thinking deeply about food, and are seeking to help chefs and food creators share their skills. Since, we’ll be doing a lot of eating, talking about different cuisines/food trends, and exploring the creator space. Folks interested in creating a platform that hosts thoughtful and unique food, collaborating with chefs, and developing a modern digital platform that elevates the home cooking experience should apply. Fellows will learn about product management, data analysis, user experience, social media marketing, and content creation.

  • 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?

o Food social is the next big consumer/social arena. People spend a significant amount of time eating and thinking about what they’ll eat next. There are over 80M people who cook 3x a week and 200M who use digital platforms to cook at home (NYT cooking, Serious Eats).
o However, not many of the 2.5m chefs in the US aren’t benefiting from all the instagram food photos. It’s hard to grow a following, and even harder to make money off of ads. What if you could connect with the chefs at late night Mission pupuserias or at Michelin star restaurants, who are cooking thoughtful and delicious foods that you rarely find online today?
o Today, many home cooks spend too much time searching for recipes and are filled with disappointment when the food tastes mediocre. We’re here to help provide curated, high quality, and thoughtful food straight from incredible chefs. No need to worry if the dish will be delicious, our chefs have you covered, and they’ll help you explore global cuisines without compromises.
o ToTaste is solving a huge problem facing chefs and as a VIP fellow on the team you’ll be working on critical questions like how do we source chefs, set them up for success, and how do we build a platform that’s modular, easy to use, and provides a modern cooking experience rather than an old fogy looking article (looking at you NYT)?
o Impact and benefits to fellow:
o ToTaste founders each have over 5 years of experience as a product manager and a data scientist. We will provide mentorship on building products from the ground up, making data driven decisions, utilizing data to understand our marketplace/users, and how to grow digital products. The fellows will help us solve hard problems for chefs and home cooks and deliver a beta app.
o Stage and next milestone:
o We have completed user interviews and have been speaking to chefs and founders in the creator economy/tool space.
o Our next milestone is to complete our requirements through user need finding interviews. We will use this information to prioritize and begin building our platform.

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

Engineering: We are looking to begin developing our beta web app to get chefs started on creating, hosting, and getting paid for content. Depending on your experience you could leverage javascript to begin building out the portal.
Design: Drive our UI/UX for our beta launch. This could include brand design, UI mockups, user research, and user testing.
Marketing: Identify key chefs/creators and home cooks and leverage campaigns to get them to use ToTaste. Create social media content (Instagram, TikTok, and blog posts). Develop multi-channel and paid advertising strategy.
Video/Audio Editing: Help craft high-quality video content through defining blocking, shot choices, recording, editing, and polishing video content for chefs and marketing materials.

vrb

VRB Labs

VRB Labs develops premium and natural solutions to stress, sleep, and pain.

  • 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?

Real world business problems: We’re not interested in busy work! We want to get you involved in growing the business. If you want to be a meaningful part of building a company, this internship might be for you.
Revenue Positive: Since launching in 2020 we have been revenue positive and are well on our way to recouping our initial investment. We’re building a business for the long haul!
Bootstrapped and fundraising: We are a small team of scrappy veterans with skin in the game. We are proving product market fit, have grown organically, and are poised to accelerate growth with a seed round closing in the next month.

  • 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?

VRB Labs is a growing and revenue positive venture seeking to expand sales, customer growth, and brand awareness. Our near-term milestones include revenue/consumer base growth, product line extension, and closing fundraising efforts.
Our VIP Fellows will engage in real-world digital marketing including generating email marketing campaigns & strategies as well as social media planning and execution.

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

We are looking for folks that are eager to make an impact and get their hands dirty. Experience in digital and social media marketing is a plus, but willingness to learn and execute quickly is most important. We seek self-starters that can run effectively run with tasks without needing to be micromanaged. Both Graduate and UG Fellows will be considered to fill the available roles!

y

Ypause

Ypause harnesses generational wisdom to empower women from all backgrounds with a personalized and holistic program to navigate menopause.

  • 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?

Ypause 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, Ypause provides the perfect startup experience.
Similar to my prior summer interns, 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 Ypause. 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 currently building the pilot program to launch by October 2021. The program would end by December 2021. During the pilot, the VIP Fellow will help manage program deadlines, communicate with participants, gather feedback, and make improvements to the program. Simultaneously, the VIP Fellow will help outline the beta version of the app based on the pilot program. The VIP Fellow will also help oversee the marketing and content creation for Ypause.
The VIP Fellow is joining at a critical point in the Ypause journey because the pilot program will provide real-time customer feedback and idea validation. The fellow also has an opportunity to shape the beta version of the app, which will be under production next year. I am flexible and would love to continue working with the fellow after the semester ends if mutually agreed upon.

  • 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.