Startup Recruiting Night Establishes Connections Between Students and Innovative Pioneer Valley Startups

Startup Recruiting Night
Startup Recruiting Night - 4/19/18

On April 19, 2018, the College of Information and Computer Sciences teamed up with Valley Venture Mentors to introduce opportunity-seeking students to a range of innovative startups at their Startup Recruiting Night.

The event was held at AmherstWorks, Amherst's co-working space, where startups came to pitch their companies and converse with STEM students looking for new experiences. The night started off as guests listened to each company present their one-minute business pitch. With 15 startups in the lineup, there was a diverse array of recruiters for students to approach after the pitch session.

The recruiting roster consisted of the following startups, many of whom are graduates of Valley Venture Mentors' accelerator program or the Berthiaume Center for Entrepreneurship's Innovation Challenge: Aclarity, BSS Additive, Esperdyne Technologies, Fabber, Familot, Lumme, Micoachee, Nobel Weather Associates, Numerated, OmPractice, Piccles, TernBooking, Uptrust, Inc., and ZeroPoverty.

From Aclarity, a water technology company dedicated to bringing clean water all over the world, to ZeroPoverty, a collaboration of technologists, philanthropists, and entrepreneurs all working towards eliminating poverty with a new cryptocurrency, students heard from a range of companies all looking to solve various issues.

The live, virtual, and interactive yoga platform, OmPractice, was hoping to draw in potential interns who are looking for a chance to be creative along with exploring network orchestration, machine-learning, and other application issues.

"I think in part it enables folks to match both their commitment to creating a better world but also to creating something of their own," founder and CEO Christopher Lucas said about OmPractice. "There's a lot of self-determination involved, there's a lot of opportunity to work on something you care about."

Lucas mentioned that their developer is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and was really excited they were looking there for new talent.

Esperdyne Technologies, a company comprised of search industry veterans, was looking for interns to help grow their business of architectural, development, and design services geared towards improving search infrastructure. The headquarters is also in an ideal location for students- right off Route 9 in Hadley.

Michael McIntosh, principal and founder of Esperdyne Technologies, said that the company stands out due to their awesome office culture. "We're kind of a family. We're more interested in getting work done than assigning blame if something goes awry," McIntosh said.

McIntosh keeps the enjoyable environment in mind when scouting for potential employees. "I think interpersonal skills are almost more important than technical skills overall when I'm looking at folks that I'm considering bringing into our company because our culture is very important," McIntosh said.

Esperdyne Technologies is a great fit for students and recent graduates looking to work in a variety of cutting-edge areas, between brain-computer interface, augmented reality, natural language processing, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and conversational agents.

Student-led startups were also present at the event, including TernBooking, an affordable travel booking website that rewards customers a percentage of their travel savings. TernBooking was a finalist in the Berthiaume Center for Entrepreneurship's 2018 Innovation Challenge. Actuarial mathematics major Austin Rohlfing '18 and computer science student Paul Maurais '18 were there to scope out someone to be team player.

"We're looking for somebody who's not an expert in one thing but who is versed in everything because we need someone managing our entire technology staff," Maurais said.

They both emphasized they want their employee to work alongside them as they grow and not feel like a typical intern.

"Nobody working for us is going to be going and running for coffee, they're going to be playing with a 100,000 dollar budget," Maurais said. "That's an experience you can't get anywhere else when you're 18 to 22."

Student attendees found the event beneficial to their job search and even found some potential employers to keep in mind. Kruti Chauhan, a computer science graduate student, enjoyed having the face-to-face interactions with companies. Having a conversation with the recruiters was a great way for her to find out what qualifications each company was looking for "because when you apply online you don't know the exact job responsibilities," Chauhan said.

Li Hong, another computer science graduate student, also found chatting with the employers to be beneficial to establishing relationships. "It helps me build a connection with the companies," Hong said.

Each company addressed what their needs were, if undergraduate or graduate students were desired, and what kind of positions they needed to be filled. This gave students more insight into what they could apply to and more flexibility in their choices. "I was looking to get my foot in the door and maybe do a part-time job," graduate computer science student Katie House said.

Students seemed to enjoy the college putting on events like this with recruiters, with a range of organizations and a chance to mingle, show resumes, and create connections.

"I thought it was a really cool event," Carlos Daniel Chappa, a graduate computer science student, said. "They should do it all the time."

Written by Jill Webb (Journalism '18)