Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Blog Post - What to do over Winter Break to find an internship with a startup

Hi everyone,

I wrote the following blog post, in the hopes that some of the things I've seen over the years might be of value to you over Winter Break.
Safe travels to all.


What to do over Winter Break to get an internship with a startup

I often get asked by students what they need to do to get an internship with a startup.  I've listed many of the resources I suggest on the internships page on the DukeGEN website.

I have also seen students work their way into internships over the last few years, and want to share some general strategies that I've seen work.  This is targeted at students who are conducting an "off campus" search and want to land in a startup (though it may work just as well for larger companies).

1) Figure out where you want to live.

Brad Feld (Foundry Group, TechStars) gives the advice of first choosing where you want to live, and that advice resonates with me.  A lot of students I work with can answer this question pretty well, but some can't. 

- For a few of you, it will be plainly obvious.  Maybe you want to live near family, or maybe you are enamored with a city. 

- For many of you, there will be a few choices.  Maybe you could see yourself in San Francisco or New York City.  In that case, take the exercises below, and do them for each city.

- For some of you, you have no preference.  You could live anywhere.  I would then challenge you to do your best to prioritize.  Clearly "living anywhere" is probably not true, there are almost definitely locations you woudln't want to live.  Try to select your "top 5" and then do the exercises below for each of them.  I will warn you, spreading yourself across 5 cities will be really difficult.  If possible, whittle it down to 1-2 while you are doing the following exercises.

If you are undecided and you want to max out your startup experience, I would highly recommend spending time in Silicon Valley. As I look back on my experiences, this is something I wish I had done.  And having spent some time there (a week in 2007) and hosting events there (DukeGEN Angel Pitch events in 2010 and 2011), the vibe and startup culture are amazing.  This is in comparison with my time in Boston (four years), New York City (1 year), and Washington DC (3 years).  Those are all great places for starting a company, but I don't think the entrepreneurship think is so prevalent and celebrated there as it is in Silicon Valley.

Of course, there are many other locations to get startup experience.  It's probably equally important, if not more important that:

- You are working with someone who will teach you things. Who you are working with? (they should be willing to teach you).  Are you going to see important decisions get made or are you just another body to help out? Will you have access to observe important things happen in the startup? 

- You are working at a startup you believe in. What is the startup doing? (choose a startup that you think is doing something really interesting).

- You choose a startup that you can reference later in your career.  Is it something that builds your experience in an industry you are interested in?  Or builds a skillset you are interested in?  There is "reputational equity" that you get by working at a startup - try to pick startups that will have a good reputation later.  For example, if you interned at Twitter when it was starting, that would have been a good investment.  If you interned at a startup that has failed, that may be harder for you to sell.

Regardless, if you have a target location in mind, I would start now to develop your network and experience in that location.

2) Within that location, figure out which startups are on your Bullseye lists.

A Bullseye company list (also may be called an ABC list) is a great piece of advice that the Fuqua Career Management Center (thanks Meg Flournoy) gave to me back when I was an MBA student.  It's kinda similar to how a lot of students applying to school will create their "Reach, Match, and Safety" schools that they will apply to. 

The goal is to create three sets of companies that you would want to work at, from the most desirable to the least desirable (but still acceptable).

A - Center of the bullseye. These are your ideal companies.  Pick 5-10.  These are the ones you would love to work at. Basically the idea is, "If you could just choose any company and get the job, what company would it be?".
B - 2nd ring of the bullseye. These are your companies that would be good to work at.  Again pick 5-10.
C - Outer ring of the bullseye. These are your "safety" companies.  You would be ok working there for a few years, but you aren't thrilled about it.

Are you having trouble figuring out what kind of startup interests you?  Then you might do what Duke alumLiz Reaves Walker did.  She read the Wall Street Journal each day and noted the things that were personally interesting to her. 

3) How do you find these startup companies?  

First of all, check out our list of internship resources on the DukeGEN website.

More generally, I think your best bets are:

1) Portfolio companies of venture capital firms that are local to that community.  You can also look at Angel Groups/Funds in that community.

2) Local venture conferences where startup companies demo (look at the listings from the last few years, as some of the companies that pitched a few years ago are now ready to hire if they've raised money).

3) Porftolio companies of local incubators (TechStars, Y Combinator, etc...). 

Here is a good listing of incubators.

Duke has alumni at MuckerLabs (LA), TechStars NYC, DreamIt Ventures (Philadelphia), Shotput Ventures (Atlanta), Joystick Labs (RTP, NC) and Dogpatch Labs (Palo Alto, CA). 

Duke has also had some alumni that have recently gone through:
  • TechStars Boulder (Yoav Lurie, Justin Segall of SimpleEnergy)
  • Y Combinator (Howie Liu of Etacts, Jason Freedman of FlightCaster, with Kathryn Minshew of The Daily Muse, and Chris Morton about to start)
  • TechStars NYC (David Goldberg, Contently)

4) Start looking at the tech journals and business journals from that local region. 
- For example, in North Carolina, there is the WRAL Local TechWire, and TechJournal South. 
- More generally you might start to read TechCrunch and Mashable are the big names in the larger techsphere.  GigaOM is also great (sign up for their daily newsletter).

5) If there is a local non-profit that focuses on startups, get connected to them. 
- For example, in North Carolina we have the Council for Entrepreneurial Development.
- In Silicon Valley, there is Joint Venture Silicon Valley

4) Start Networking

Personally, I used to think that "networking" was a bad word. Just before starting my MBA in 2002, I heard someone talk about networking, and I had a strong negative reaction to it. 

Networking is important.  And for many in the business world, it is common and accepted.  As a student, you may not have networked before, but you should take the time now to try it out.  Even if you make some mistakes, it's important to understand how networking works.

Why is networking important?  There is a highly cited concept that Mark Granovetter published on called the "Strength of Weak Ties".  Basically it says that there's a lot of value in "weak ties", or the friends of friends.  Many people believe that you get a job, not through a good friend (a "strong tie"), but through the friend of friends ("weak ties").  The takeaway?  You need to identify, build, and reach out to these weak ties, or else they won't know that you exist.

I think the key to networking is to find those people that are willing to help you, develop a real relationship with them (one that you could see continuing for years) as opposed to thinking of it as a transaction (just help me get a job right now), and do your best to provide some value to them.

Why network? I would argue that there is a strong correlation between the amount of networking you do, and the number of job opportunities you will see.  How many startups are out there?  Thousands.  How many will come to recruit on campus?  Maybe a few dozen.  Unless you are out there looking around, networking with folks, how will you find the thousands that are out there but not visible to you?  You need to talk to people.

As an example, one of my students recently used on-campus recruiting to get an interview with at Top 5 consulting firm.  He didn't get it. 

He really wanted to get into a consulting firm (not a terrible choice for an undergraduate that wants to build a skillset to eventually jump into a startup). 

So, I asked him how many consultants he had spoken to (aka How much networking have you done?).  It was a small number, maybe 2-3. 

I told him that he needs to really grow that number, to 10-20, and that the more consultants he speaks to, the more opportunities he will find.

It's his senior year.  He only has about five months until he graduates.  This winter break it will be important for him to reach out to people, to lay the groundwork for finding opportunities and developing relationships with people.  Unfortunately, with the time pressure, it will be difficult. 

The takeaway: Don't find yourself in the same situation.  Start to network before you need it.  It's much easier to network when you aren't stressed about "needing to find a job". 

5) How do you get the meeting?

So the next question is "How do you get the meeting"?

There's a few parts to this.

First, think of it like a key in a keyhole.  There are several tumblers, and you need to set each of the tumblers correctly to unlock the door. (Thanks to Peter Johnson for this analogy).

I think this analogy works for thinking of networking.  The people you are reaching out to are generally very busy.  They want to find a reason to say no to you.  They have their own priorities, and helping a student is usually not high on their list.  Or even if they want to help a student, they've been contacted by a few students already, so why should they help you?

Ways to get the meeting:

a) Warm intro: This is most important and hardest to get.  Do you know someone that knows them? Can they vouch for you?  Will they write an email intro for you?  If so, that may be the "master key" that unlocks the door all by itself.

Example of a warm intro email:

I want to introduce you to Jodie Smithson, a fellow Dukie '05.  She just started at Company X as manager for their technology programs.  She is trying to get an idea of what resources are already available, and what their company could do better for Duke students. It would be great if you guys could connect over the phone or a cup of coffee.

Hope to see you soon, and in the meantime I leave you two connected.

This warm intro makes it difficult to say no to this request.  It also turns out that the topic is one I am interested in, so the "key tripped all of the tumblers" and the door opened.  Meeting request accepted.

b) Same school: People from your alma mater or from the school you are at are generally more receptive.

c) Informational interview: You want to learn more about the industry (as opposed to just wanting a job).  You are "seeking advice".  These are things that people feel they can help with, without overcommitting themselves.

d) In person is better (see below): They "may" take you up on a phone call, but it's better if you can come to their office.  This makes it easiest for them.  I wouldn't suggest you invite them to coffee or lunch (but if they offer, then you can accept), because that takes more time out of their day.

e) Be "politely persistent".  I can't remember who coined this phrase, but it's a great one.  If you send one email and give up, then you almost shouldn't have tried.  I would suggest you send at least a few emails, maybe spaced about two weeks apart.  You might try a service like Boomerang to remind you of when you need to send an email.

f) Say something about yourself that is interesting enough/impressive enough that they will want to meet with you.  Perhaps you won an award at some competition?  Perhaps you are a fellow of some sort?  Perhaps you already did a summer internship at a startup?

g) Be working on a school project that could use their input.  Maybe it's a survey of all startups in the mobile sharing space?  Maybe it's a startup you have conceived of in the travel technology space?

Here's an example email:

My name is Fred Sampson.  My teammate, Melissa Proctor and I are currently enrolled in Duke's Program for Entrepreneur's class at Fuqua and are testing a new media business idea we call JetSetter.  JetSetter is a travel startup that seeks to make vacation booking simple for families looking for family friendly locations and deals.

Given your experience in the travel industry, Howie thought you would have some particularly valuable insight into our project.

Would you be available for a brief phone call to discuss the following questions?
  1. What is your personal opinion of the travel industry and it's future?
  2. What are the vacation destination companies thinking/planning?  How are they dealing with the "crisis"?
  3. What are their strategies for dealing with the apparent decline in vacation travel? How are they managing the transition to digital?
  4. What revenue models are they considering? How do the structural changes affect vacation travel?
  5. What new partnerships/joint ventures are they entertaining?
  6. What potential issues to do you see with our current business model?
If email is more convenient for you, that works for us too.

We appreciate any help and perspective you can offer!

h) Ultimately, I think you need to do your research.  Especially for your first few attempts, spend more time trying to figure out why they should talk to you. 

6) Create your own "recruiting trip" in the city you want to live in.

This is something I think most students under-perform on.

It's easy to think of Fall Break, Winter Break and Spring Break, and even Summer Break as "down time".  But I have seen some students effectively utilize these as opportunities to create a "recruiting trip" to their target city.

For example: J. was a student who was really intent on landing in San Francisco. He took the lead on organizing the "official" student trips (called "Week-in-Cities" trips at Fuqua) to San Francisco, which also meant he got to email all of the companies he wanted to visit, and also got to set the agenda for which companies to visit. 

In addition, he made additional trips back to San Francisco over Spring Break, Fall Break, and the summer, to reach out to more people. 

By the time he was looking for a full-time position, he knew the landscape pretty well.  When he got an interview for a position, not only did he know the industry, but he also knew some of the players.  He credits his ability to land the job to the groundwork he laid with his trips.

7) How do you stay connected with your network?

This is hard to do. You want to be adding value without taking up too much time.

First of all, and unlikely, is that you find some way to work with the person.  Perhaps you are volunteering on some project that they need help with.  With some of my own students, the ones I work with the most (and therefore develop the strongest relationships with) are the ones that volunteer for the Duke Start-Up Challenge, for DukeGEN, or for the Program for Entrepreneurs. 

There's a high opportunity cost for volunteering for someone, so make sure you are truly passionate about what you are doing, or that you really want to help this person.

Second, assuming you aren't volunteering for them, I think it's reasonable to write a once or twice a year update.  I love to get these. Something that says where you are, what you've been doing, what you're learning.  It's so easy to lose track of people that I want to keep in touch with.  When a student writes back with an update, it is really a wonderful thing.

Third, I find that some students do a good job of sending articles.  I do this myself, I will be on Twitter, find an article, and forward it to someone that I think it is relevant to.  I maybe do this once a week.  I just write a note at the beginning like "thought this would be of interest to you".  I try to only send stuff if I think it really would be valuable (as opposed to just sending marginally interesting articles).  I also try to send them directly to the person (not send the article to a whole bunch of people).

Fourth, and this is obvious, connect on LinkedIn, Twitter, and even Facebook (some people will welcome this, some prefer to keep Facebook more for personal contacts).

Ultimately, I think for you to stay connected to your network it needs to be a mutually beneficial connection. I've heard others describe it as a "authentic" or "real" relationship.  This has been true in my experience.  I won't feel connected to someone "just because" they're sending me articles once in a while, but I will feel connected if we have shared some good experiences (shared successes like running a great Duke Start-Up Challenge or DukeGEN Angel Pitch Event or great analysis in Program for Entrepeneurs).

A lot of networking relationships tend to fade away over time, but the ones where you are helping each other out and "in it together", those seem to stick around. 

Back in 2005 I wrote down a list of my "top 250" contacts.  (I had read an article that suggested this).  As of now, about 6 years later, I'd say that
- 80% are people I'd feel comfortable reaching out to now (have kept good relationships, or built enough of a relationship at the time that they would remember me)
- 20% are people that I can only barely remember (I met them once, but haven't had significant follow up since then).  Some have moved away, or aren't in this space/industry any more.

Of the 80%, I'd say that:
- 20-50% I work with on a fairly regular basis (quarterly)
- maybe 20% I work with very regularly.

The takeaway:  Find real reasons to be in a relationship with this person.  And find ways to add value for that person.

8) How do you tap into your network?

As a student, I didn't quite understand how to utilize the network I had.  I remember as a first year MBA student, I reached out to someone I had met once before and I basically asked "Do you have an internship spot available for this summer?".  That's really forward of me (too forward).  Try not to do that.

Instead, I think the way to work with your network is to subtly put out there what you are doing.  It might be an update like.

"I have had a great time at Duke, and am about to complete my Fall Semester.  I recently interned with a startup in Silicon Valley called XYXYXY and had an excellent experience.  I got to see the ZUZUZU IPO first hand and how it affected our industry.

I'm currently looking at opportunities in the startup scene in Silicon Valley and wondered if you have 15-30 minutes to help give me some advice."

They will be able to read between the lines and understand that you are available for positions.  They can then tell you if something is available.

Occasionally, I think you can, in fact, ask for the job. I think this should probably be with someone who you have a good relationship, and I would be somewhat gentle about it.  "Hey, I realize this may put you in an awkward spot, but I really like what your company is doing and it'd be great if I could work with you more. Are there any job opportunities that you think might be available for someone like me?"

In contrast, I've had some people call me, with whom I don't have much of a relationship and, without small talk, just said "I need referrals to people in the industry that are hiring.  Who do you know?"  I begrudgingly helped them (it had come in through a warm intro, and I was already on the phone with them), but I don't plan to help them again in the future.   Interestingly, he also said "I'm really interested in helping you out with what you are doing, maybe in a future call", but he hasn't reached out to me to help.

In summary
In summary, networking is important in your job search, and takes time and effort to cultivate. As a student, you may not have much experience with networking.  Now is a good time to try it out. People will give you more leeway as a student, so it's ok to fall.  As someone recently tweeted "School is a nice place to try new things because it's like a sandbox.  Even if you make a mistake, the fall doesn't hurt that much".

Thanks and good luck!

Howie Rhee (Duke/Fuqua '04, MIT '97) is the Managing Director for the Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at Fuqua.  He is working on helping Duke be one of the best environments for students interested in entrepreneurship.  More at  And you can follow him on Twitter @howierhee.

Howie Rhee, MBA
Managing Director, Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation
Fuqua School of Business, Duke University
Office A236
919-923-7113 Mobile
919-660-1929 Office

Learn more about Entrepreneurship at Duke -
and read our Duke Entrepreneurship Manual -

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Fwd: Student Internship Opportunity-San Francisco Start Up

Interesting opportunity to be an on campus rep for a startup in San Francisco. 

Sent from my iPhone

Begin forwarded message:

From: Johnny Affourtit <>
Date: December 8, 2011 7:28:40 PM EST
To: <>
Subject: Student Internship Opportunity-San Francisco Start Up

Hello Duke Entrepreneurship,

My name is John Affourtit, the marketing coordinator for Giftiki. Giftiki is a well funded start up company based in San Francisco/Silicon Valley that is transforming the act of giving by providing a fun and social way to gift. As a leader in collaborative commerce, Giftiki pools monetary gifts together into one fund allowing users to contribute to more substantial and meaningful gifts. 

We are looking for a student intern at Duke within the entrepreneurship program. I thought you would be the perfect person to contact. It is a 12 week spring marketing internship (remote) that will provide this particular individual with a wealth of knowledge and experience. 

If you know of anyone interested then you can have them contact me directly and fill out an application at

I have also attached a flyer that promotes the internship. If you could email it to your entrepreneurship program listserv and post it on a job board or two it would be much appreciated. 

Feel free to email me back or call with any questions. 


John Affourtit
Giftiki Marketing Coordinator

Monday, August 22, 2011

Fwd: Internship Posting for The Cookery

For those of you interested in food-related startups.  Please contact them directly if interested.


---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Rochelle Johnson <>
Date: Mon, Aug 22, 2011 at 10:05 AM
Subject: Internship Posting for The Cookery

Hi Howie,

The Cookery is interested in working with an intern from Duke - could you please post this to your listing?  Please feel free to let me know if this needs to be reworded - I am not sure how it is distributed.

The Cookery
1101 West Chapel Hill Street, Durham
(only a few blocks from Duke's East Campus)

Duties will vary according to the interests and experience of the intern.  Projects may include: 
-  developing new business lines, programs or facets of The Cookery
-  creating financial and logistical plans for the facility's expansion
-  developing and researching market strategies
-  researching and making connections with organizations and individuals offering collaborative opportunities within the culinary community  

Interested students working with The Cookery will be working closely with Rochelle Johnson and Nick Hawthorne-Johnson, who own this culinary incubator.  The Cookery is a commercial kitchen facility that members rent by the hour, but it also offers a business development program that assists members in evaluating their business costs, operations, marketing and local connections in order to create a successful and sustainable food business.

The ideal candidate has a passion for food entrepreneurship, is interested in local food production, sales and distribution, and has an interest in innovative solutions for this unique business model. 

Thanks so much, and feel free to contact me if you have and questions,

R O C H E L L E   J O H N S O N

In need of exceptional design materials?

Howie Rhee, MBA
Managing Director, Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation
Fuqua School of Business, Duke University
Office A236
919-923-7113 Mobile
919-660-1929 Office

Learn more about Entrepreneurship at Duke -
and read our Duke Entrepreneurship Manual -

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Fwd: For Immediate Release: NC IDEA to Host August 16th Web Info Session

For those of you who don't know, NC IDEA is a great organization that gives out several grants to local startups each year.

Worth pursuing this, particularly if you have a startup that is based on a technological innovation (internet, medical device, etc...)


---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Andrea Cook <>
Date: Tue, Aug 2, 2011 at 11:16 AM
Subject: For Immediate Release: NC IDEA to Host August 16th Web Info Session
To: Andrea Cook <>

Good Morning,

NC IDEA, an organization committed to supporting business innovation and economic advancement in North Carolina, announced today that it will be hosting a web information session to discuss its grants process and eligibility criteria on Tuesday, August 16th. The session is being held just one day after the official opening of the organization's twelfth grant cycle. 

For further details, please see the attached press release.

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.

Warm Regards,

Andrea Cook | Grants Program Manager

|P| 919.941.5600 x109 |F| 919.941.5630 |



NC IDEA to Discuss Grant Process and Eligibility During August 16th Web Info Session

Organization Seeking Grant Applications from NC Entrepreneurs and Startups


DURHAM, NC – August 2, 2011 - NC IDEA, an organization committed to supporting business innovation and economic advancement in North Carolina, announced today that it will be hosting a web information session to discuss its grant process and eligibility criteria on Tuesday, August 16th. The session is being held just one day after the official opening of the organization's twelfth grant cycle.


The session, which will take place from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. EST, is aimed at giving potential applicants an overview of NC IDEA's grant process and criteria. NC IDEA officials will highlight how to apply for a grant, what they look for in an application and what types of companies are eligible for funding. Interested parties can confirm their attendance by visiting and following the registration link on the homepage.


The upcoming grant opportunity for NC-based entrepreneurs and companies focused on information technology, medical devices or material sciences opens on Monday, August 15th. There are two pre-proposal deadlines for the Fall 2011 cycle: an early deadline on Friday, August 26th and a final deadline on Friday, September 9th. Due to the competitive nature of the screening process, applicants are strongly encouraged to apply by the first deadline, giving them the benefit of an extended review period and the potential opportunity to be selected to move to the proposal round under early decision. All interested companies must submit an application prior to the final pre-proposal deadline of Friday, September 9th to be considered.


NC IDEA's grants program is a catalyst for technological breakthroughs developed in North Carolina that have a significant potential to successfully transition into commercially viable high-growth enterprises. The grants, which are up to $50,000 per recipient, support business plan research and development, reduce risk of early failure and advance projects to the point of suitability for angel or venture capital investment. In addition to the funding, NC IDEA and its network of seasoned business and technology partners mentor and guide the grant recipients through the complex growth cycles that young companies encounter, while also connecting the startups with other investors, institutions and business leaders to maximize their prospects for commercial success.


To learn more and apply for an NC IDEA grant, visit Prior to applying, interested parties must complete NC IDEA's Eligibility Quiz online. In addition, applicants from the Piedmont Triad region can simultaneously apply for PTP NEXT's Business Competition in tandem with NC IDEA's application process. PTP NEXT, a region-wide organization committed to the Piedmont Triad's future economic vitality, announced their inaugural business competition in partnership with NC IDEA in July. To learn more about PTP NEXT, visit


NC IDEA recently announced the organization's latest grant recipients from its Spring 2011 cycle: Keona Health, Loyalese, NanoForge, OtherScreen and Sarda Technologies. Since its inception in 2006, NC IDEA's grants program has awarded approximately $2.1M to 57 companies across the state.



NC IDEA, a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization, targets promising technology companies that need help bridging the gap between initial product development and venture capital funding. The organization helps young, innovative companies mainly by providing early financing in the form of grants, accelerating the creation of new North Carolina companies and jobs. NC IDEA further supports its grant winning companies by leveraging the organization's solid partnerships and strategic alliances to assist companies through research phases, business challenges and growth goals. Learn more at



Andrea Cook, Grants Program Manager





Howie Rhee, MBA
Managing Director, Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation
Fuqua School of Business, Duke University
Office A236
919-923-7113 Mobile
919-660-1929 Office

Learn more about Entrepreneurship at Duke -
and read our Duke Entrepreneurship Manual -

Thursday, July 21, 2011

FW: Startup Stampede 2.0 is Off and Running!

For those of you looking for office space this Fall, in Durham.




Downtown Update                                                                                                  




The Startup Stampede 2.0 is on!!!



The first Startup Stampede was so successful, we are doing it again!  We are taking applications right now for any Startup that wants free office space for 60 days! Please let anyone you think might be interested know about the opportunity!  Applications close on August 12, so giddy-up.

Applications & information are on the Stampede website,



Get Involved

We have also started a Rippple campaign to raise $2,500 for the effort.  Sponsorships range from $25 up to $2,000 and every contributor gets to VOTE on the 20 finalists with the winner of the popular vote getting an automatic spot in the Stampede!  Go here for more info and to check out a truly amazing and spectacular video production starring myself and Adam from the Chamber!



Original Cast of the Startup Stampede

Check out a great video we did with Figure 8 films of the first Startup Stampede!





Downtown Durham Inc is now on Facebook and Twitter!


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Howie Rhee, MBA
Managing Director, Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation
Fuqua School of Business, Duke University
Office A236
919-923-7113 Mobile
919-660-1929 Office

Learn more about Entrepreneurship at Duke -
and read our Duke Entrepreneurship Manual -

Howie Rhee, MBA
Managing Director, Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation
Fuqua School of Business, Duke University
Office A236
919-923-7113 Mobile
919-660-1929 Office

Learn more about Entrepreneurship at Duke -
and read our Duke Entrepreneurship Manual -

Fwd: - $25,000 Competition

For those of you willing to support a Duke startup, check this out.


---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: John Ullman <>
Date: Thu, Jul 21, 2011 at 12:04 PM
Subject: - $25,000 Competition
To: Howie Rhee <>
Cc: Jon Fjeld <>,


I have some exciting news about my social enterprise. is participating in Pepsi's Refresh Everything competition during the month of July. As of this morning, we were ranked # 15 (out of 158) for the $25,000 category, and the top 15 finalists can EACH win $25,000, therefore, if we can just hold onto this position through July 31, we will win. However, the competition is fierce (we were #14 last night), so we need every vote we can get. Please vote for us and if you can get anyone else in your entrepreneurship circles to help out too, that would be great. Specially marked Pepsi caps are also a huge source of votes so keep an eye out for those too. Anyway, as you have a pretty good understanding of the nature of my business, I'm sure you know how much of a difference this much money would make.

Voting Info:
1. You can vote everyday during the month of July, including up to 10 Power Votes per day (see below for more information about Power Votes).

2. There are three main ways to vote:
  • Text Message - text the number 107400 to Pepsi (73774). (Standard text messaging rates may apply, depends on what cell plan you have).
  • Visit and login in via Facebook when prompted to vote
  • You can also vote through the Pepsi website without Facebook, which is required when using Power Votes.
3. Bonus votes can also be earned. On specially-marked Pepsi, Diet Pepsi, and PepsiMAX products (labeled "Refresh Your World" and/or "Power Vote") there are codes under the bottle caps and printed on the inside of multi-pack boxes. Entering a code online can result in up to 100 votes instantly, so these are big ways to generate votes. Also, if you have a Pepsi code but don't feel like going online to submit it, you can just email the code to me and I can use it.


John Ullman | Durham, North Carolina
Duke University | Durham, North Carolina
work 410.878.6485 | email:

Howie Rhee, MBA
Managing Director, Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation
Fuqua School of Business, Duke University
Office A236
919-923-7113 Mobile
919-660-1929 Office

Learn more about Entrepreneurship at Duke -
and read our Duke Entrepreneurship Manual -

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Fwd: Just one week until the Student Ambassador application deadline

Could be of interest to some of you.


---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: National Collegiate Inventors & Innovators Alliance (NCIIA) <>
Date: Tue, May 24, 2011 at 7:58 AM
Subject: Just one week until the Student Ambassador application deadline

Competitions logo
student ambassadors

NCIIA's Student Ambassadors



Great student innovators to represent NCIIA on your campus!  

Application deadline May 31! 

NCIIA's Student Ambassadors Program is a network of students that develop and deliver local events for university entrepreneurs, encouraging them to become involved in NCIIA programs and activities, and supporting them to create inventions and innovations that have a social benefit. 


We're looking for go-getter students on key NCIIA-member campuses to form our 2011-12 cohort. Our geographic areas of interest include, but are not limited to:

  • Bay area and southern California
  • Seattle and Pullman, WA
  • Portland, Corvallis and Eugene, OR
  • Salt Lake City, UT
  • Madison, WI
  • Chicago, IL
  • Austin, Houston and Dallas, TX
  • Boston and Cambridge, MA
  • New York, NY
  • Research Triangle Park region, NC
  • Florida
  • Georgia 

Students will gain valuable experience in marketing, program planning, networking and managing projects, and be recognized as experts on what's happening entrepreneurship-wise on your campus.


They'll be trained, receive a stipend, have goals to meet and be rewarded at the end of their one-year "term" if they fulfill the objectives. 


Read the full position description.  


Do you know a student who might be right for this position?  Encourage them to apply today!

Student image For more information or to apply, visit the the Student Ambassador web page.
Questions? Contact us at:
100 Venture Way
Hadley, Massachusetts 01035
Reminder: Deadline MAY 31
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NCIIA | 100 Venture Way | 3rd Floor | Hadley | MA | 01035

Howie Rhee, MBA
Managing Director, Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation
Fuqua School of Business, Duke University
Office A236
919-923-7113 Mobile
919-660-1929 Office

Learn more about Entrepreneurship at Duke -
and read our Duke Entrepreneurship Manual -

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Fwd: Cherokee Challenge, up to $20k in awards for environmental entrepreneurs

If you are looking for an interesting opportunity, here is one.


---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Chris Wedding <>
Date: Thu, May 19, 2011 at 2:24 PM
Subject: Cherokee Challenge, up to $20k in awards for environmental entrepreneurs
To:, Katie Kross <>, "John Vaughn (CIP)" <>

Katie (and Howie),

Per our conversation this morning, I'm connecting you, Howie and JT Vaughn at Cherokee. JT is managing the Cherokee Challenge. More info is copied below are it. The due date is around the corner (next Friday), but at the least, we'd love your thoughts on how to get the word out, who to target, how to improve it, etc. Thanks!

- Chris


Cherokee is an investment company focused on brownfield development and growing environmentally conscious businesses. We value creative, high impact solutions to environmental challenges. 


Currently, we have a number of ideas we are excited about, but we need passionate entrepreneurs to champion these ideas. The CherokeeChallenge is an invitation for entrepreneurs to build teams and rapidly develop our ideas. We are also open to entrepreneurs submitting their own ideas, as long as the ideas are creative, viable and closely aligned with our strategy and values. Moreover, we hope and expect their ideas will be much better than ours. 


Applications are due by 7PM on Friday, May 27 (ie, very soon!). Up to three teams will be selected to compete, and team members will be paid $300 per week for the duration of the competition (two months). At the conclusion of the Challenge in August, each team is eligible to win up to a $20,000 bonus, dependent upon their performance throughout the summer and the viability of their model. 


For details, visit

Christopher Wedding, PhD, LEED-AP
111 East Hargett Street, Suite 300
Raleigh, North Carolina 27601
919.743.2029 t
919.743.2501 f

Howie Rhee, MBA
Managing Director, Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation
Fuqua School of Business, Duke University
Office A236
919-923-7113 Mobile
919-660-1929 Office

Learn more about Entrepreneurship at Duke -
and read our Duke Entrepreneurship Manual -

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Jobs at Appia

Hi everyone,

For those of you still looking for something for the summer or full-time, this is a great company locally, Appia.
I should also remind everyone that there is a great site that talks about all the local startups -
And here's a re-post of my own blog post on finding a job/internship -


---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Aris Baras <>
Date: Wed, May 4, 2011 at 7:28 PM
Subject: Jobs at appia
To: "" <>

Howie, how best to distribute? Appia is Jud Bowman's company. One of WSJ's top 25 start-ups. 100M valuation, that Venrock just invested in. Current investors include Steve Nelson, Eric Schmidt, Blackberry Ventures. Awesome opportunity. Need to get Duke undergrads and Fuqua folks looking at it. Offices here in Durham.


Howie Rhee, MBA
Managing Director, Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation
Fuqua School of Business, Duke University
Office A236
919-617-1123 Google Voice / Mobile
919-660-1929 Office

Learn more about Entrepreneurship at Duke -
and read our Duke Entrepreneurship Manual -

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Triangle Startup Weekend - June 3-5, 2011

Hi everyone,

For those of you who will be here this summer, and are interested in a weekend intensive startup weekend, check out the following event, Triangle Startup Weekend:

Details below


A Million Dollars Isnt Cool. You Know What Is? Startup Weekend.

Pitch an idea on Friday. Build it on Saturday. Launch it on Sunday.

In a nutshell, thats Startup Weekend, a one-of-a-kind 54-hour event where you and a make-shift team build a web product or mobile app that could be the next billion dollar blockbuster. Entrepreneurs come in all shapes and sizes - software developers, graphic designers, business people, investors - so if you dream big like Jobs, Zuck and Brin, look for the big red Register button to attend.

Event Schedule

Friday @ Bay 7

  • 6:00pm – Registration starts
  • 6:30pm – Dinner & Networking
  • 7:15pm – Welcome & Speakers
  • 7:45pm – Pitches Start
  • 9:00pm – Attendees vote for the top ideas
  • 9:30pm – Teams start forming and discussing ideas
  • 10:00pm – Start to formalize teams and take an inventory of skills. Be honest, and direct about what resources and skills are needed for the weekend. You may stay and work as late as the venue will allow.

Saturday in the American Underground

  • 9:00am – Arrive, simple breakfast & coffee
  • 9:30am – Teams formed and setting up workspaces for the weekend
  • 12:00pm – Lunch
  • 1:00pm – Call for needs & skills
  • 2:00pm – Mentors help teams one-on-one. They are here to help!
  • 6:30pm – Dinner
  • 7:30pm – Mid weekend check-in, status reports, call for help
  • 10:00pm – Finished for the day. You may stay and work as late as the venue will allow.

Sunday @ Bay 7

  • 8:30am – Arrive, simple breakfast & coffee
  • 10:00am - Mentors arrive… ASK QUESTIONS
  • 12:00pm – Lunch
  • 3:00pm – FINAL PRESENTATIONS, Judging and Awards
  • 5:00pm – TSW Group heads over to Durham Bulls Game

Howie Rhee, MBA
Managing Director, Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation
Fuqua School of Business, Duke University
Office A236
919-617-1123 Google Voice / Mobile
919-660-1929 Office

Learn more about Entrepreneurship at Duke -
and read our Duke Entrepreneurship Manual -

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Fwd: GE OMD Summer 2011 Incubator Program

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Howie Rhee <>
Date: Mon, Apr 25, 2011 at 4:36 PM
Subject: Fwd: GE OMD Summer 2011 Incubator Program
To: Startup Matchmaker - Entrepreneurship at Duke <>

Looks like a good program.  See attachment (also copying and pasting some of the details).

Description: OMD-and-Strap-line


Take your start-up to the next level this summer!


Introducing the GE OMD Summer Incubator Program…


General Electric and Omnicom's OMD have partnered to create a 10-week incubator program bringing together the brightest student entrepreneurs to work in New York City for the Summer of 2011.  Dubbed the GE-OMD Incubator, the objective is to create a collaborative environment where student entrepreneurs can learn, thrive and bring great digital, media and marketing ideas to life. 


Located in the heart of Manhattan, the GE-OMD Incubator provides a space where accepted applicants will share ideas and experience with each other, learn from industry mentors and build relationships with the venture capital community.  In addition participants will receive an accelerated education on launching their start-up and refine their personal initiatives with some the most influential decision makers in the marketing/media industry.

Selected entrepreneurs or teams of entrepreneurs will receive complimentary work space, access to GE and OMD executives and compensation throughout the Summer.


Distinctive Features

·         Get paid to work on your start-up initiative

·         Summer 2011 stipend of $4,000 per person, June 7, 2011 to August 19, 2011 (10 Weeks)

·         Opportunity to be awarded $10k scholarship grant

·         Free workspace + collaboration with other participating digital experts

·         Training/instruction on media, marketing, advertising and digital landscape from OMD

·         Learning how to fund your start-up from leading venture capitalists

·         Access to Fortune 50 brands

·         Mentorship from General Electric marketing

·         Collaboration, mentorship and relationship building with the largest Global Media Agency, OMD

·         Unique forum to pitch media opportunities and marketing ideas to senior executives at GE and OMD

·         Build relationships and your career with leaders from OMD, GE and the Venture Capital space


We are accepting applications for consideration in this year's program through Thursday, May 1, 2011.


If you are an aspiring entrepreneur in school and involved with a high-potential startup, we want to hear from you.

Students given the highest consideration will meet the following criteria:

·         Have a breakthrough digital product / business initiative that is built or in the process of being developed

·         Are developing a business model that leverages advertising dollars as a primary revenue stream

·         Are pursuing a big market opportunity with a product or service with the potential to be disruptive in its area

·         Are interested in reinventing and shaping the media, marketing, advertising and/or digital landscape


Description: OMD-and-Strap-line


GE OMD Incubator 2011 Application Form – Part 1


We are accepting applications from aspiring entrepreneurs with: (1) An existing start-up idea, (2) a start-up company or (3) great digital, med and marketing ideas. Please answer the questions below about yourself and idea as applicable.


Note: The deadline for application submissions is May 1, 2011 12:00 Noon EST.

Below are the questions asked in the online application form, so that you can compose your answers offline first, if you so choose. Please note that all applications must be submitted to:

1. Your idea OR Why you want to work at the GE OMD Incubator

• Tweetable elevator pitch (max 110 characters)

• Full elevator pitch & any relevant links (max 500 characters)

·   Optional - Video Elevator Pitch (Embed link; length limit: 3 min maximum.)



2. Your idea's problem/solution OR Concepts you'd like to tackle

• Problem - Please describe what problem you are trying to solve (max 500 characters)

• Solution – What is your solution? What is innovative about your solution? Technology, Business model, etc? (max 500 characters)

·   Is there an existing solution, and/or competitive product or service? (max 500 characters)



3. Potential of idea OR Career goal

• What impact do you hope to accomplish within the near and long-term? (max 500 characters)



4. Founding Team and Background Information

• If applicable, please share some background information on any additional team members applying for this program, and tell us what makes your team special (max 500 characters)

·   Please tell us about your major(s) in school, as well as your relevant skillset(s) (max 250 characters)



5. Other Considerations

• Any other considerations we should be aware of ? (max 500 characters)



---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Dave Altarescu <>
Date: Mon, Apr 18, 2011 at 1:53 PM
Subject: GE OMD Summer 2011 Incubator Program
To: "" <>, "" <>

Hi Jon and Howie,


I was referred to you by Duke's career services.  They said that you were the appropriate people to talk to about an incubator program for student entrepreneurs that OMD and GE have partnered to launch this Summer.


Attached is some information about the GE OMD 2011 Summer incubator.  I think it's a great opportunity for student entrepreneurs looking to accelerate their startup or great idea.


Feel free to share this document with anyone who can help spread the word and please let me know if there are any specific stand-out students who should be taken into consideration for this program.


I'd be happy to get on a phone call with any entrepreneurial club contacts to discuss any of this in greater detail.






Dave Altarescu

Ignition Factory



Tel: (212) 590-7333

Fax: (646) 278-3333

195 Broadway
New York, NY 10007


Advertising Age Media Agency of the Year, 2009

Adweek Global Media Agency of the Year, 2009


This email is intended only for the person or entity to which it is addressed and may contain information that is privileged, confidential or otherwise protected from disclosure. Dissemination, distribution or copying of this e-mail or the information herein by anyone other than the intended recipient, or an employee or agent responsible for delivering the message to the intended recipient, is prohibited. If you have received this e-mail in error, please immediately notify us by calling our Help Desk at (212)590-7600, or e-mail to

Howie Rhee, MBA
Managing Director, Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation

Fuqua School of Business, Duke University
Office A236
919-617-1123 Google Voice / Mobile
919-660-1929 Office

Learn more about Entrepreneurship at Duke -
and read our Duke Entrepreneurship Manual -

Howie Rhee, MBA
Managing Director, Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation
Fuqua School of Business, Duke University
Office A236
919-617-1123 Google Voice / Mobile
919-660-1929 Office

Learn more about Entrepreneurship at Duke -
and read our Duke Entrepreneurship Manual -