Phosphorus and Rentigo Inc. Chat

The interns from Phosphorus and Rentigo Inc. had a great time chatting with us this week. Phosphorus, where Ben Schiffer '20 and Shirley Zhang '20 work as engineering interns, is a computational genomics company with the vision to create a world where every healthcare decision is optimized with genomics. Rentigo Inc. helps property managers & landlords tackle daily maintenance requests, monthly rent collection and ongoing property management tasks—Christian Berry '21 is working with them as a content writer this summer. 

 

WHAT PROJECT ARE YOU CURRENTLY WORKING ON AT YOUR STARTUP?

At Phosphorus, Ben and Shirley are working on an algorithm to determine the number of copies of a gene that is necessary for human motor function. Christian is working on revising a content calendar to optimize the way Rentigo Inc. reaches its target audience. That includes creating newsletters, writing ads, and recording informational videos all centered around the same theme — connecting tenants and property managers.

IF YOU COULD CHOOSE ONE WORD TO DESCRIBE THE LAST WEEK, WHAT WOULD IT BE?

Shirley said "relaxing", because she's mostly been processing data to test her algorithm, which wasn't overly mentally straining. Christian said "rewarding". Last week his company published a project that he had been working on over the first few weeks — it was good to see the work come to fruition. Ben used "culmination", because the past week he has been working on writing up a detailed summary of all of his results so far this summer.

WHAT DO YOU AND YOUR TEAM DO FOR LUNCH?

At Phosphorus lunch is flexible and people leave and come back whenever they want, usually between 12 and 1:30. Shirley and Ben usually go grab a bagel form a nearby shop. Christian runs to the Whole Foods next door — it's close and convenient.

WHAT INSIGHT ARE YOU HOPING TO GAIN THE MOST THIS SUMMER?

Shirley's hoping to get a sense of what it's like having a 9-5 job and appreciate not having extra work to do on the evenings/weekends. Christian's main goal is to garner as much information about entrepreneurship and careers associated with this path. Ben wants to learn what working in a startup environment is like, as well as determine if he is interested in the field of algorithmic biology.

WHAT ABOUT YOUR EXPERIENCE HAS SURPRISED YOU THE MOST THIS SUMMER SO FAR?

Shirley's been surprised by how much knowledge of other industries she has been exposed to through PSIP and Christian is constantly reminded of how much freedom and room for growth there is at a startup. Ben added a little humor—he's surprised by how slow the elevators are. 

HAVE YOU FOUND A FAVORITE SPOT IN NEW YORK YET?

Shirley really likes taking walks and sitting on the Brooklyn Heights Promenade because the view of the Brooklyn Bridge and Manhattan is amazing at night. Ben greatly enjoys Madison Square Park, where he eats his lunch every day he can. Lastly, Christian has been searching the city for the best coffee shop (he's a big coffee guy) Round K has been the best one he's found so far.

Elena Anamos