(If you are interested in finding talent for your startup, sign up for the Startup Institute Student Talent Expose on 4/19/13)
It was November 28th, 2012 and I had just finished giving a presentation on my experiences as an entrepreneur at the Microsoft NERD Center. Two guys, mid-to-late twenties, walked up to introduce themselves. We hit it off and started chatting about their interest in the Boston startup scene. It turned out their part of some organization called the Startup Institute.
The next day I looked them up on LinkedIn, the devout habit of any effective networker, and started poking around the other ‘students’ that had listed Startup Institute as part of their profile. An hour goes by and I’d pretty much stalked every single person in the organization. I was entirely astounded at the quality of people that are part of this program.
After learning that one of the primary goals for SIB students is career placement within a startup company or young organization, I realized serendipity dropped an interesting opportunity in my lap. We at Growth Spark were just kicking off our own recruiting efforts with the New Year approaching. Without hesitation, I reached out to every student I could to setup a time to grab coffee. I instantly became the ‘SIB Stalker’ overnight.
Flash forward another week or two and I’m at Harvard I-Lab, pen and paper in hand, furiously taking notes while this talented group gave their one minute exposé pitches. 25+ conversations later, and I’ve replaced all of my December Christmas shopping plans with marathon coffee meetings at Voltage Cafe.
The holidays came and went, the New Year whipped by and we moved into a new office and brought on three AMAZING former SIB students as full-time members of Growth Spark. Lauren, Molly and Tina - participants in the marketing and product and design tracks respectively who not only doubled the size of our staff but doubled our capabilities as an organization.
Naturally there was the usual ‘on-boarding process’ on how ‘we did things’, but these three amazingly talented women came fully equipped with the understanding and experience of how an organization like Growth Spark would function. Things change daily, ideas flow continually and intense collaboration serves as the foundation of our work together. Given their complete adaptability to embrace of this environment, I can only assume SIB played a role in crafting Lauren, Molly and Tina as key players in our company!
How do I feel about Startup Institute going forward? Well, we’re an official hiring partner as of the Spring session, have taught three courses across three different tracks and have already had over a dozen students through our offices during our weekly open office hours on Fridays. When it comes to SIB and the value it can create for companies, take it from the SIB Stalker - it’s there!
Ross Beyeler, a graduate of Babson College, has been an active entrepreneur in the technology space since 2005 with experience ranging in digital marketing, business development and strategic management. In 2007, Ross co-founded For Art’s Sake Media, Inc., a technology company servicing the art industry, where he led the organization through its seed funding, team building and product launch. In December 2008, Ross went on to start Growth Spark, a web strategy consultancy that helps ecommerce and B2B service companies grow their business online. Since it’s founding, Growth Spark has completed over 200 projects and led Ross to a 2010 nomination as one of BusinessWeek’s Top 25 Entrepreneurs under 25.