While it’s always exciting when True Entrepreneur Corps alumni/ae find jobs here in the Bay Area, it’s equally as exciting when we see them flourishing at companies abroad or in cities with emerging tech scenes. Here, we check in with the TEC class of 2013 to see what they’re up to now, including where they’re making an impact.
What did you work on during your TEC Fellowship and what are you doing now?
Yash Kothari: I was a marketing intern at Sifteo, a True Ventures-backed gaming startup that was acquired by 3DR in 2014. I spent a lot of my time improving how users interacted with the App Store. Working at Sifteo was my first startup experience, and it was fascinating to see how co-founders Jeevan and Dave ran the company and built its culture.
I started a retail analytics company shortly after TEC and ended up working on it through my remaining years in school. We got into Y Combinator and decided to work on the startup full time. It was a tremendous experience. We ended up shutting the company down a few months ago, and now I’m working at a nonprofit called GiveDirectly! I find myself thinking back to Jeevan, Dave and the culture they built at Sifteo, and how we can bring some of those principles to GiveDirectly.
Dennis Zhao: I worked on data cleaning and analysis for about.me to improve the interest tagging product. At the time, all interest, education and location tags were user entered and not subject to a standard, so doing any sort of matching (i.e., “meet others in my city”) was difficult. I used a combination of data cleaning, NLP and clustering to identify groups of tags that would be relevant in a search. It helped users find other profiles they might like based on shared interests.
I’m currently working on self-driving cars as a product manager for Uber in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. My TEC experience gave me insight into how data science and design play into product development and decisions.
Cathy Huang: I worked on performance marketing at Flint Mobile, lots of ad optimization and overall learning of how a startup functions. The 2013 class of TEC Fellows blew me away! They’re all incredibly brilliant, thoughtful, tenacious and humble. We became quick friends and a handful of us have become entrepreneurs.
I’m currently finishing up a Bonderman fellowship where I’ve been working for non-profits and supporting entrepreneurs across the non-western world. I’m moving to NYC at the end of December to work at a travel startup. Overall, TEC solidified my commitment to impact-driven entrepreneurship.
Angad Singh: As a product manager for Fitbit, I worked on a variety of projects including personalizing goals to each user, creating shareable moments, redesigning Fitbit’s food-logging experience and updating the app to flat design for iOS 7.
I’m now working on Cassette, the best way to record important conversations. The first incarnation of this company came directly out of conversations with my manager at Fitbit about how creative people such as PMs are hired and measured in the workplace. The people I met through TEC have been an immense support system for my company.
What was your biggest takeaway from the TEC experience and what’s your advice to future Fellows?
Yash: TEC helped me realize that people are at the center of everything. They are the most critical element to our happiness and success. I have True, Sifteo and my TEC Fellows to thank for helping me come to that realization early on in my career.
When you’re a part of TEC, you’ll have all the opportunities you could ever dream of. But you have to be proactive about it. Get outside of your comfort zone and be bold. Cold-email a CEO you’ve been wanting to talk to.
Dennis: I spent a lot of time meeting with people and asking about their companies, work experience and personal philosophies. All of these learnings fed into my early career decisions, and TEC helped me formulate what I wanted to do out of college.
Soak up as much knowledge and advice as possible; you never know how two paths might cross down the road!
Cathy: We spent every Thursday afternoon learning from a different True entrepreneur. Each person had their own version of a “life or death” moment for their startup—pivot and ignore your ego, or convince the world your original idea is a diamond in the rough. I think about these entrepreneurs’ decisions when I’m at a critical pivot point in my own life.
My advice is to plan fantastic trips with the Fellows; you’ll have tons of fun and learn a lot from each other. Also, focus on learning a tangible skill and track your progress as the summer goes on. Are you improving? Do you enjoy doing this type of work?
Angad: Being in Silicon Valley today is like having been in Florence during the Renaissance. Even though I was already studying in the Bay Area, I was planning to work on startups in India after I graduated. However, meeting so many interesting people through TEC made me change my mind over the course of a summer.
Live with as many other TEC Fellows as possible. Seeing them every day and hearing about their work is almost like getting to intern at a lot of companies at once. Plus, you always have someone to explore the city with.
College juniors and seniors with a passion for entrepreneurship and technology are strongly encouraged to apply to True Entrepreneur Corps 2017, now accepting applications through January 15th, 2017.