Home Feature What Did Summer Interns Learn Working At Local Startups?

What Did Summer Interns Learn Working At Local Startups?

by hypepotamus

The right summer internship can be a springboard for ambitious college students. But it can also be an important jumping off point for students looking to get their foot into the competitive world of startups and venture capital. 

The startup path is anything but linear, so we wanted to understand what is drawing the next generation to the early-stage company ecosystem. We asked interns from some of the Southeast’s most interesting companies to tell us why they wanted to spend their summer in the startup world and how the internship shaped their plans moving forward.

Get to know some of the local interns here: 

Kellen Kruglewicz – Neighborhood Studios 

Why did you want to work here? 

I have been very intrigued with the incubator/accelerator/studio space since I started college and when I came across Neighborhood Studios it seemed like a dream fit. The hyperlocal angle of the studio was also very attractive because I love the city of Atlanta and want to have as much of a positive impact on it as I can throughout my career. Even though the studio had not yet had an intern or officially opened an internship opportunity, I knew that I had to find a way to weave my way into the studio because of such an incredible learning and growth opportunity.

What was a big highlight of your internship? 

A big highlight of my internship was seeing the immediate impact of my work. A large part of my role was sourcing leads for Neighborhood Studio’s first spinout company, Homegrown. My goal was to find awesome 2+ location local businesses and then surface warm connections to these locations so the co-founder could then reach out and get meetings with these prospective clients. I saw my efforts lead to the 1st revenue for both Homegrown and Neighborhood Studios which was incredibly rewarding!

What are your plans this fall? 

I am looking forward to studying abroad at the London School of Economics for my junior year starting this fall! I cannot wait to meet some amazing global entrepreneurs, learn as much as I can, and travel all across the central part of the globe!

Do you see yourself working in startups after graduation? 

I absolutely see myself working in a startup environment after I graduate! The mix of velocity, impact, never being bored, and creating a better world all drew and will likely keep me in this awesomely uncertain world of professional creative problem-solving. Early-stage startups are my passion so I am targeting a Swiss army knife-like role in a recently funded seed or series A company after I graduate.

 

Bella Christman – Atlanta Ventures

Why did you want to work here? 

I chose to work at a startup because I have always been inspired by how passionate entrepreneurs are. Atlanta Ventures was a great environment for me because everyone on the team is working hard towards the same goal, and the work we do has a big impact on the world around us!

What was a big highlight of your internship? 

The highlight of my internship this summer was the interns I worked with! They were so welcoming and supportive, and we worked very well together (though we made sure to take lots of brain breaks too).

What are your plans this fall? 

Continue studying Business Administration at Georgia Tech. Go Jackets!

Do you see yourself working in startups after graduation? 

My experience this summer has taught me that working at a startup can be hard, grueling, and not always rewarding. However, I also learned how rewarding it can be to be part of something that has a lasting impact. I’m not too sure if I want to work in a startup after I graduate, but I’m sure I’ll find my way back to Atlanta Tech Village someday…

 

Sarai Palencia – Zinnia

Why did you want to work here? 

I wanted to work with Zinnia because I was taken on to the team since January of 2023 and I quickly noticed how amazing of a company and how amazing of a team I was working with. When I got offered the position for the summer, I was so excited and of course said yes, because I wanted to continue working with a company that had such an amazing culture. There are many few companies in which their team is excited to work with one another. I was lucky enough to work for a company that I looked forward to work with the people that worked at Zinnia. Working with driven and hard-working people was very important to me and I found that at Zinnia.

What was a big highlight of your internship? 

The biggest highlight of my internship is definitely the exposure I got of the start up world. I never realized how much teamwork really matters in a start up world until I joined Zinnia. I learned the lesson of failures and victories, the many moving parts, and the importance of communication, and much more. With such an amazing CEO/Founder and team, I was able to always feel supported in anything I was doing. Lauren Marturano, CEO/Founder, is such a great leader, and I was lucky to be under her wing over the summer. Flora Muglia, Director of Sales, was such a huge support system to me throughout my whole internship, and was such a great guide through it all. Hilton thompson, Head of Events, showed me the ropes of what it takes to plan an event and boy does it take a lot. Max Irvine, Technical Lead, demonstrated all that it takes to make a product from the ground up. Jacey Cadet, from Atlanta Ventures, taught me everything there was to know about marketing behind a start up. This whole team always showed resilience and determination for Zinnia to succeed.

What are your plans this fall? 

This fall I plan to return to Clemson University as an upcoming rising senior. I will be graduating with a bachelor of science in business management, and a minor in financial management with an emphasis in entrepreneurship. I also plan to continue working with Zinnia this fall semester as their Intern again.

Do you see yourself working in startups after graduation? 

You know, I always thought about owning my own business one day and hopefully that plan comes to reality. But I never really thought of working for a start up until I joined Zinnia and realized how amazing of a culture a start up could bring. With the team on zinnia, I realized how close you can become to your coworkers because you all want the same thing which is for the company to succeed. I’ve never experienced or seen such a company with so much support in between coworkers. There really is something special in that company.

 

Evie Lutz – Atlanta Ventures 

Why did you want to work here? 

Initially, I wanted to see if I enjoyed marketing. As a finance major, I knew a little about the Venture Capital world but I wanted real word learning and application. I also knew this internship would introduce me to a multitude of tech startups and industry experts.

What was a big highlight of your internship? 

Before this internship, I had no experience in the startup world. Through Atlanta Ventures, I’ve been to create content for a massive portfolio of tech startups in the South East. Some include, Zinnia, Gusto, Atlanta Tech Village, Greenzie, Calendly, ReFrame, SingleOps, and more. This experience has taught me how entrepreneurs run successful startups and how to market across a wide range of industries.

What are your plans this fall? 

This Fall, I am a rising senior at Wofford College in Spartanburg, SC. I am going to continue working remotely for Atlanta Ventures as a Marketing Assistant.

Do you see yourself working in startups after graduation? 

Yes, I would consider it. If you like the corporate ladder, then startups aren’t for you. In my opinion, the risk is worth the reward. Even though the work can be exhausting, people notice the impact of your work and you’re surrounded by motivated self-starters.

 

Cullin Capps – Ohanafy

Why did you want to work here? 

They offered an opportunity for students of all skill levels and all backgrounds. In addition, I wanted the opportunity to learn about salesforce’s rapidly growing and easy to use platform.

What was a big highlight of your internship? 

The biggest highlight of the internship was the relationship I built with my mentors Grant Risk, Emily Shull, and Ohanafy’s CEO Ian Padrick. I have never received so much support and encouragement than I did from these three.

What are your plans this fall? 

Full-time Associate Software Engineer for Ohanafy 

Do you see yourself working in startups after graduation? 

To be honest, no. I was hoping for a standard Jr. developer position at an established company. However, this opportunity has helped improve my technical skills, work ethic, and confidence in my career. Startups can be scary, but if you stay humble and are up for the challenge, working at one could change your career in ways you never thought possible.

 

 

You may also like