These Interns Got a Primer on Entrepreneruship from Top Startup Execs Through The RDV Academy

This summer, Rough Draft Ventures hosted the second annual RDV Academy, a summer internship program that connects top technical students with fast growing startups across Boston and New York for a three-month summer experience. Academy scholars gain valuable experience working on the engineering teams at startups and getting an inside look at how companies operate.

Through the RDV Academy, Rough Draft Ventures enables top students to explore the world of startups, giving students an inside look at next-generation companies and inspiring students to pursue careers in entrepreneurship and technology. Students experience what it is like to work as part of a highly talented, productive team, while allowing them to hone their technical skills.

Scholars join a community of peers comprised of interns from participating academy companies both in NYC and Boston. Each group is invited to a weekly speaker series where they hear from notable startup executives from across the tech community. This year, 80 students across Boston and New York participated in the program. Here are some of our favorite sessions from the summer:

Adam Broun, COO and co-founder of Kensho, outlined Kensho’s early challenges when finding the right customers, how some of their largest investors became some of their largest customers, and how they grew the business to its recent acquisition by S&P Global. Adam also outlined how he utilized his background at Credit Suisse to contribute to Kensho’s success, and the lessons he learned from selling their software to banks.

Elias Torres, CTO and co-founder of Drift, shared his story, starting with his early career at IBM to launching Performable, which was acquired by HubSpot, to the launch of Drift. Elias also offered his wisdom about what it takes to successfully launch a business — a valuable lesson for the many potential entrepreneurs in attendance.

Elisabeth Carpenter, COO of Circle, gave the group an inside look at one of the world’s leading cryptocurrency companies. She discussed how Circle has been impacted by the boom and bust cycles of bitcoin, her background as the co-founder of Brightcove, which went public in 2012, and how Circle plans to expand their business in the future.

Alan Warren, CTO of Oscar, outlined his very unique background as a self-taught coder, experiences leading teams at IBM and Google, and the eventual launch of his own software company. He also discussed how Oscar is reshaping the healthcare industry amid a shifting regulatory landscape.

Matt Polega, co-founder and VP of Operations at Mark43, shared the story of launching Mark43 out of a class at Harvard. He shared the difficulties convincing aw enforcement officers to try out your software and how the company thinks about data security when managing sensitive information.

Oisin Hanrahan, CEO and co-founder of Handy, discussed how he started his career as a real estate developer in eastern Europe while he was still in college and how his difficulty finding quality workers inspired him to launch Handy while at Harvard Business School. He also outlined Handy’s business model and how their obsession with the customer — both the workers and the consumers — reverberates throughout the organization.

If you’re a sophomore or junior majoring in computer science and excited about working at a startup next summer, stay tuned for updates to apply to The RDV Academy for Summer 2019.