I know my favorite day of the year should be our USV CEO Summit. But it’s not. It’s actually USV Intern Day.
On this day, which we now host once a year in both NYC and SF, we bring together interns from dozens of portfolio companies and invite them to learn about all of the companies in our portfolio. For me and Lauren, this day feels a little bit like summer camp — we sport swag from our portfolio companies and shuttle interns around the city all day.
Like all of our best programming at USV, this idea didn’t originate at USV, but it came from our network. In 2016, the talent and people team at Meetup sent this email, asking:
“Are there any USV events geared towards interns? Has USV thought about doing some type of event/crawl for interns to visit different offices in the portfolio? We thought it’d be great to give our interns an opportunity to interact with interns at other portfolio companies.”
We jumped on it immediately and rallied participation from more than a dozen NYC companies. For participating interns, we organized a multi-stop event with two tracks (technical and business) featuring short talks, office tours, and job advice from the incredible leaders in the network. Some companies handed out free swag to all attendees. Meetup concluded the day with a pizza party on their incredible roof deck.
But I don’t like Intern Day because of the pizza and the swag. I like it because of the deep collaboration and sense of community that it represents among our portfolio.
This year, we had about 75 interns between our San Francisco Bay Area companies and our NYC companies. Product and operations leaders from Skillshare and Code Climate each took an hour to introduce these students to the complexities of their business models and careers in tech. Shippo in San Francisco facilitated an entire panel discussion with robust Q&A. Clarifai taught a group of 40 students how they think about AI and machine learning. Matt Blumberg, CEO of Return Path, spent the last hour of his busy workday sharing candid advice he wished someone had taught him before entering the workforce.
When kicking off the day, we shared two stories with the intern class this year. The first was the story of how Andrew Sutherland, at age 15, started a flashcard app for himself while studying for a high school French test that eventually became the company and brand we all know today at Quizlet. The second is how, in their first first job after school, Meetup CEO Scott Heiferman met his now-co-founder Brendan McGovern when they sat next to each other on the very first orientation day at Sony.
One of the things we are so privileged to see at USV are the origin stories of entrepreneurs all over the world. We hope that, even by bringing together interns for one day out of the year during their summer, we’ll spark some inspiration or ideas that will come back our way several years down the road.