2018 Kickoff!

With Monday right around the corner, the Princeton Startup Immersion Program NYC Interns have just successfully completed their first week! All summer, this blog will serve as a space to get to know the interns, ask them about their experiences, and talk about the great summer that we are all having. Each week, interns from two startups will go out to ice cream or coffee to chat with one another. Living in Brooklyn Heights and working (mostly) in Manhattan, there will be plenty of experiences and stories to share!

To start off the 2018 program, this week we chatted with the interns from Andela and batteryPOP. Instead of talking to each startup individually, we decided to have a group conversation to add to the community we have already built here this week. Andela's goal is to help develop the next generation of software developers in Afria, home of seven of the ten fastest growing internet populations in the world. The Andela interns are Elena Anamos '19, Oliver Hsu '19, Franklin Maloney '20, and Sekajipo Taplah '20. Working at batteryPOP, a startup focused on providing a safe digital network to kids, is Michael Hu '21. Here are the questions we discussed.

What project are you currently working on after your first week in the city?

With a wide variety of interns, the answers to this question were not surprisingly varied. Michael, as the creative solutions intern at batteryPOP, is working on the central piece of his startup's mission. He is working on developing a user-friendly website that offers curated games for kids. He expressed a lot of interest and excitement for the challenge ahead of him, as well as the opportunity to engage with a project at the core of the business. On the Andela side of the conversation, projects ranged from working on the central repository to working with the Sales Enablement team to help streamline the onboarding and mentorship processes for new Account Executives. 

What insights are you hoping to gain the most this summer?

Working at a startup means hands-on experience with whatever team you are working with. Each of the interns expressed and interest to learn something tangible this summer. Michael hopes to earn some marketing insights; he would like to better understand how successful digital ad campaigns are run. Franklin wishes to fully understand Andela's unique model which blends aspects of standard technology startups with more traditional outsourcing plays. And Sekajipo hopes to connect and engage with the African tech ecosystem, an area full of potential for growth. 

What about your experience has surprised you the most this summer so far?

When asked this question, one theme was central to the interns. With the first week already completed, they are all stunned (in a positive way) by the scope and breadth of the work they had already engaged with and the scope and breadth of the problems they were solving. From Andela's vast infrastructure to the behind-the-scenes work of monetizing online videos, the interns are engaging with some complex, fast-moving, and most importantly, interesting problems.

Have you found a favorite spot in New York yet?

To close out our conversation, we had to ask something about the great city that we get to live in this summer. Michael says his office has a great view of the Empire State building. This has become his favorite place to work and contribute to the batteryPOP team. Two of the other interns have fallen in love with Washington Square Park in Greenwich Village. With endless street performers and a lot of food options, that seemed like a no-brainer. Finally, as PSIP interns this year, we have been fortunate enough to live in Brooklyn Heights near the East River. The promenade and the piers along the river facing Manhattan also topped these intern's favorite places in the Big Apple. 

Jarred Felix