Zachary Hay C’18 interned at WeGardn in Philadelphia, PA

2016-17 Startup Internship Award Winner  supported by the Rosalind WG’76 and Roy WG’76 Neff Entrepreneurial Internship Fund

This summer I had the opportunity to intern at WeGardn, an early stage ecommerce startup in Philadelphia. WeGardn was ~5 months old when I came on in May 2017 as a Software Engineer. Our team was a small group of 7 which turned into 9 by the end of the summer. WeGardn delivers fresh, organic food in the Philadelphia area.

My primary role was developing WeGardn’s web application. We started the summer using a Wix.com, pre-made website. These ready-made ecommerce platforms cannot handle the bulk or variety of food that WeGardn sold on a weekly basis. Therefore, the CTO and I were tasked with creating a customized web application from scratch. I didn’t have much experience with web development in PHP, the server-side programming language we used to create the web app, but I picked up a tremendous amount of skills and knowledge throughout the internship. I enjoyed the long term nature of this project as opposed to the weekly programming assignments of computer science classes at Penn. I was really able to deep dive into different areas of web development and create something useful.

Another important aspect of my role was data analysis. I used Python to compare WeGardn’s prices with competitors as well as analyze order trends. There were many trends that I discovered with this analysis, like the fact that customers placed more orders on Monday and Thursday than all of the other days of the week combined. Again, it was really exciting using the technical skills I developed in school to execute on an important business goal.

A highlight of my internship was when I went with another employee on a road trip to a series of Pennsylvania farms. WeGardn wants to carry as many food options as a grocery store so we constantly need to find new farms. I went with WeGardn’s primary supply-chain manager to 4-5 farms to meet the farmers, sample the produce or meats, and buy large volumes of food. It was refreshing to get out of Philadelphia for the day and I learned so much about how business relationships are formed.

Overall, I had a good time at WeGardn. I learned a lot about web development, startups in Philadelphia, and the types of workplaces I thrive in. Further, my internship has convinced me to start a startup in the future. The attitude of an entrepreneur is so proactive: see a problem, then find a solution. That is a mindset that I admire.