MassTech, the nonprofit hack/reduce and the New England Venture Capital Association hosted the first “Start It Up: Company Showcase for Students” to help connect students with some of the Boston area’s hottest tech startups.
(Tribune News Service) -- Constrained by limits on time, staff and money, many Bay State startups are relying on small meet-and-greet events to find top talent from Boston-area schools — students who might otherwise be lured away by larger companies here, in New York or in Silicon Valley.
“These small enterprises are heads down, working on their startups,” said Pat Larkin, director of the Innovation Institute at the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative, or MassTech, a public agency working to support the state’s economy. “They don’t have the resources to send teams of recruiters to college campuses. So these events are a godsend to them.”
Last Thursday, MassTech, the nonprofit hack/reduce and the New England Venture Capital Association hosted the first “Start It Up: Company Showcase for Students” at hack/reduce’s Cambridge headquarters to help connect students with some of the Boston area’s hottest tech startups.
“We’re casting a wide net to find the best and the brightest, people who are high-energy, hardworking and creative,” said Adam Fuchs, chief technology officer at SQRRL, a Cambridge software company that does data analytics for cybersecurity. “Going to a headhunter is our worst possible fallback. They find good people, but they’re expensive. An event like this allows us to contact students directly, which helps you find better people.”
Venues like “Start It Up” also help get the word out about new companies that are based on new ideas.
“We ourselves have a large education gap to attack,” said Jay Greenberg, co-founder and CEO of Boston’s LexShares, which crowdfunds commercial litigation. “When I tell someone what we do, they look at me like I have three heads. An event like this increases our exposure to students and students’ exposure to us. So it’s mutually beneficial.”
LexShares, SQRRL and the other startups offered crash courses in their companies, and students have time afterward to meet the executives.
Shshank Chawathay, 25, of Waltham is a graduate student in marketing analytics at Bentley University who’s shopping for an internship.
“My ideal company is one that’s open to new ideas; you should be able to approach any manager without any restrictions,” he said, “And when you go to work, you should learn something every day.”
Chawathay prefers venues like “Start It Up” to recruiting events on campus, where company executives sometimes meet hundreds of students in one day “and are less likely to remember you.”
“In a small setting like this,” he said, “you can interact with people and make more of an impression.”
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