It is internship application season. The structured and competitive summer programs have applications that will likely close by Nov 1st. (So, if you haven’t applied — do it now)
As awesome as these structured programs are, they cannot accept everyone. However, there are still plenty of opportunities to work at a startup this summer.
Many smaller startups (< 50 employees) are open to working with interns. The biggest difference between working with a smaller startup vs a structured internship program, is just that: structure.
Smaller startups often look for interns with an entrepreneurial mindset. Someone who can operate with little to no direction. Example, you understand the companies goals and objectives, and you’re able to define and create tasks for yourself independently that align with these goals. If you’re able to operate and be successful in this role, these internships will have the greatest potential for growth opportunities.
How to find Startup Internships
Apply through structured fellowship programs. You apply once, and if accepted, these companies match or place you with startup companies. Please note that applying to structured programs is a very competitive process. Find others who have gone through the application process to help you. You can either contact the company and ask if there are any alumni that you can contact or ask through social media if there is anyone who can help you. (You can also email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will try to connect you)
- KPCB Fellows Engineering Fellowship application closes October 31st. Product and Design Fellowships will open in January 2016. Go to their site and sign up for notifications.
- hackNY Technical fellowship that pairs students with startups in NY. Students receive free housing and mentoring throughout the program. Rolling deadline until December 15th.
- True Entrepreneur Corps (TEC) by True Ventures Program for undergraduate sophomores and juniors. All majors are welcome to apply. Students are placed with portfolio companies within the San Francisco Bay Area. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis between November 1st, 2015 until January 31st, 2016.
- CODE2040 Program for Black and Latino computer science majors. The program places accepted applicants with top tech companies in the San Francisco Bay area. Applications close November 12, 2015. Want to learn more about CODE2040. HBCU to Startup is hosting a virtual info session. Click here for more details.
Another option for a startup internship is applying directly to the startup.
- Use sites such as AngelList to find startups of interest.
- Check websites of these startups to see if they offer any internships.
- If their website doesn’t show any available internships, email/contact them anyway.
- Join our weekly google hangouts with startups and ask about internships
- Contact the startups. When contacting startups, keep your initial emails short, concise, and present your value. Check this article on how to email startups for the purpose of an internship.
There are many thoughts on unpaid internships (as they apply to tech startups). My personal opinion is that you should not do unpaid internships. It is important to start now advocating for your value. This is not an excuse to be ridiculous in salary negotiations. But for you to begin to take inventory of the value you offer and be able to communicate that value to others. You can be honest about your learning goals, coupled with your strengths to ask for a dollar amount. It may be a small stipend, depending on your experience level, but you’ll find that the startup will appreciate your time/work more when you have put value on your time/work.
Start Your Own Startup
Spend the summer creating your own startup project. If you can’t afford financially to spend without pay, find a summer position (retail or something similar) and spend your off-time working on your project. Even if the project never becomes the next Instagram, its an important experience that can be added to your resume.
HBCU To Startup
HBCU To Startup