For many of our students, working in a startup is a new experience. They’ve just been steered in other directions. Big firms seemed safer bets.
But no longer. According to a new Kauffman Foundation report, two thirds of new jobs are being created by new (not small) businesses.
We have been steering our entrepreneurial students into startups. We figure that a great way to prepare them for the new world of startups is to learn how startups work. This is not something they can learn in class. They have to watch a startup in action. There’s always a lot that needs to be done at a startup. And they are happy to hire a promising student as an intern. If they gradually work their way into their confidence, it might turn into an official job later, or better yet, teach the student how to start a startup of their own.
This week, we asked some of the thirty student interns we have placed in startups how it’s going. The responses of three of them interning at Viridity Software illustrate the role of young talent in the innovation economy.
Officially launched on November 9, 2009, Viridity is a provider of data center management software that achieves high energy efficiency, optimization, and eco-friendliness. A year ago, Viridity successfully secured financing of over $7 million from distinguished investors Battery Ventures and North Bridge Venture Partners. It continues to use this funding to accelerate product development and further strengthen its employee base.
Michael Siciliano reports: “Things are going well. We are heading for our Beta release. I’m designing an intermediate database and application layer which will be used to process and filter data intended for the final product. Overall it has been a great experience.”
Joseph Cohen reports: “They are great. The atmosphere is great, the people are great, the location is great. The challenges are great. I think everyone here wants to change the world.”
Another intern, Adrienne Cochrane, was recently hired into a full-time sales position at the company. “I enjoy the feeling of being a pioneer, helping figure out solutions together.” She says she has already been on a business trip to New York to watch her boss pitch partnerships to a room full of executives. “That meeting gave me a lot to look forward to in the coming years.”
From a regional competitiveness perspective, the greatest renewable natural resource we’ve got is the smart young people at our universities. Thousands of them graduate each year. We want them to stay and seek their fortunes here.
That’s why we are focused on encouraging them to join local startup companies and start ones of their own.
The internship program is the handiwork of our very own Dan Phillips, who knows exactly what startups are looking for having run four himself, and Anna Tsui, a recent grad who has a bead on all of the entrepreneurial students at the university.
A savvy older guy, and a sharp youngster with pink sneakers. That combination is what is driving the internship program, and the region’s innovation economy.
The Venture Development Center is Boston’s startup incubator that gets you to the point where you’ve built something impressive enough to acquire customers and raise money on a larger scale.