Since 2015, True’s Priya Haji Fellowship has helped recent college graduates land their first full-time startup jobs. The program is named for four-time entrepreneur Priya Haji, whom a friend described as “the best social entrepreneur of our generation.”
Honoring Priya’s legacy, we are proud to welcome our fourth class of Priya Haji Fellows to True as they embark on nine months of startup life. They will join five of our portfolio companies to develop skills and perspective to help them build careers in technology.
Today, the Fellows will get to know one another through our orientation activities in True’s Palo Alto office, and tomorrow they’ll get straight to work. Here, they share what drew them to startups, where they’ll be working through spring 2019, and what they hope to learn along the way.
Design and Social Innovation major from Baruch College, City University of New York
Prior to PHF, I interned with an edtech startup and loved the responsibility, as well as the unpredictability. I was a William R. Kenan scholar at CUNY, which enabled me to bring a meditative and reflective approach to my work. The tech and startup worlds sometimes fall into the mindset of “go fast and break everything,” but I hope to work with the mindset of long-term and sustainable growth.
This fall, I am joining Directly as a product designer because I believe in the company’s mission to support the fluid nature of work. I’m so excited to be under the mentorship of the new head of design. I look forward to helping the team with research, design, and user testing.
Government and Legal Studies major from Bowdoin College
Prior to becoming a Fellow, I interned at a startup accelerator and a venture capital firm, which furthered my interest in technology and entrepreneurship. I love learning about how ideas get turned into massively successful companies. I think it’s incredible how people, tools, and resources can come together to create something that can change the world.
At Bowdoin, I was the president of both the Finance Society and Bowdoin Women in Business. Through these organizations, I developed my leadership skills and passion for business. After interning at eBay and Morgan Stanley, I was eager to work at a company in its earliest stages, when it’s still trying to figure out how to scale and make its processes more efficient.
I chose MyVR because it felt like the place where I could learn the most and enjoy coming to work every day. I’m looking forward to meeting everyone and learning as much as I can about how to build and grow a startup.
Anthropology major from University of California, Berkeley
My prior experience in the startup world consisted of taking classes about entrepreneurship at UC Berkeley and some internships at startups. I am excited because by working at a startup, I can learn about the various components of a business and hopefully find which section interests me the most.
At UC Berkeley, I was a member of FEMTech Berkeley, which exposed me to the technology field and startup culture. Before FEMTech, I never considered getting involved with startups because I assumed there was some key factor that was needed to start a business — something I assumed I was lacking. However, after meeting so many women in various disciplines who have taken ideas and started companies out of them, I’ve realized that entrepreneurship is much more tangible than I initially thought.
I chose to join HelpShift because I was interested in working with a company utilizing artificial intelligence. In addition to finding which aspect of business I am really passionate about, I am looking forward to further developing my graphic design and marketing skills.
English Language and Literature major from Washington University in St. Louis
Prior to being selected for the Priya Haji Fellowship, I did not have a lot of exposure to the startup world. However, I have been surrounded by friends and family members involved in a wide variety of startups. The passion they have for their work and companies inspired me to learn more about this world.
While at school, I participated in a group that produced videos profiling creative individuals on campus. This group opened my eyes to the many ways one can be creative and the unique styles and processes individuals have in creating their work. I loved meeting all types of interesting people and working closely with a small creative team.
I am excited to join Hatch Baby so I can learn as much as I can about the startup world and explore the potential roles and opportunities within it.
Computer Science and Art major from Pace University
Before being selected for the Priya Haji Fellowship, I was only exposed to startups through events at school and throughout NYC, including NYC Uncubed. My internships to date were in large corporate tech, so I am very excited to get a completely different experience working at a startup.
At school, I co-founded and led Pace Women in Tech, a student-run organization which provided me an awesome support system and leadership opportunities. I was also part of the Design Factory at Pace, which gave me design-thinking training and made me think about problems in a user-centered way.
I really liked the vibe of the people I spoke to from MyVR and can see myself working with them easily. They are offering me an opportunity to try out my dream job and be both a designer and software engineer. I am looking forward to the fast pace of a startup and the opportunity to work in multiple areas.
Media Arts and Sciences major from Wellesley College
I’m excited by the startup experience because there is opportunity to contribute to different facets of the company rather than being stuck in one specific role. Working at a startup will allow me to collaborate on many types of projects and wear many hats.
In March, I participated in a startup weekend at my school where each team had to come up with an idea for a startup and pitch their idea over the course of two days. It was really fun and exciting to be a part of the whole process with my small team of four. Within that short time, I participated in everything from conducting user research to building a business model. It taught me how much I can learn from just doing!
I decided to join B-Stock because I was intrigued by their mission to provide an efficient liquidation solution for retailers and manufacturers through their online platform. I’ve never formally studied marketing, but I’ve always been interested in learning about it. I’m looking forward to diving into the exciting projects the marketing team has in store!
Marketing and Information Systems major from Boston College
I was fortunate to be exposed to the startup world during my sophomore year at BC when I was admitted to Professor John Gallaugher’s TechTrek West course. The class was comprised of student-run case studies of Silicon Valley startups and VC firms followed by a weeklong field study in the Bay Area. After this experience, I did whatever I could to stay connected to startups, from getting involved with the Shea Center for Entrepreneurship at BC, to attending tech events around Boston, and even tailoring my coursework to this budding passion.
Shortly after TechTrek ended, my friend and I began creating EagleEats—an iOS app that displays Boston College dining hall menus and nutrition information, conveniently allowing students to find when and where their favorite foods are being served. EagleEats gave me firsthand experience in entrepreneurship and inspired me to pursue a career in the startup realm.
I chose MyVR because it is a smaller startup where I am able to work closely with its Founders while helping the company achieve its potential of becoming the leader in the vacation rental software category. I am most looking forward to making a positive impact at MyVR and learning about entrepreneurship from a founding team.