‘UpStart101’ Trains Students for Jobs

By Andreas Andrea Hoya Staff Writer

Students met representatives from start-up Internet companies Tuesday night in order to get a sneak peek into the fast-growing technology-based industries that have led American’s current record-setting economic expansion. The event, UpStart101, was organized by MagicBeanStalk, a company that offers services to start-up companies in order to make their growth easier and faster.

Roughly 10 start-up companies provided representatives for the first session of the evening to answer questions students had regarding employment opportunities and what exactly these companies do. At least one company’s representatives were accepting resumes on the spot, highlighting the high demand for labor in this area.

The keynote speaker was Matthew Cassin (COL ’98), who founded InfoRocket.com in 1999, a company which now employs roughly 50 people and is based in Times Square. About one week ago, Cassin closed a financing deal that will give his company $25 million with which to expand. InfoRocket.com is a Web site where you can answer other people’s questions for money or post your own.

Students who attended the event were interested in perhaps establishing their own start-up or working for one themselves. “I just wanted to find out some information from people who had gone through the experience of starting their own e-business,” said Seth Binder (SFS ’02).

“I would like to start my own Internet company one day. Its a possibility. I am just looking around, checking out the sites,” said Andrew Koneschusky (MSB ’03).

According to Jeff Quint, a MagicBeanStalk intern and junior from the University of Arizona, UpStart101 is MagicBeanStalk’s offline component. The three segments of UpStart101 are the career fair, the keynote address and panel of industry leaders with whom students have an opportunity to ask questions and get advice and finally the breakout sessions in which students get to ask panelists questions on a more intimate basis, Quint said.

UpStart101’s ultimate goal is “to educate students on the Internet economy,” Quint said. MagicBeanStalk has conducted UpStart 101 at Harvard, Yale, Northwestern and the University of ichigan.

Christine Weiss, an employment specialist for CAIS Internet, an Internet service provider and one of the companies represented said that she is at UpStart101 to increase her company’s exposure. “We are based in D.C. We want to get more involved with universities in the area, Georgetown especially. We are looking for interns and masters students. We really want to get involved with the MBA program at Georgetown,” she said.

David Tsai, manager of marketing for TimeDance.com, an online invitations service, said his goal is to “to tell people about our company and recruit.”

Cassin said that he chose to establish his own company because he wanted to be passionate about his work and did not believe he would find that working as an investment banker or consultant on Wall Street. While he thinks a Wall Street job would be a great experience, he doubts he would run to work every morning. Cassin also places much emphasis on working in a team.

“I could never find something where I could feel I could be in a team environment. I played lacrosse for Georgetown for four years and really valued the whole team experience and wanted to be a part of that after graduation. One of the places where you can find the team environment is in an Internet start-up company,” he said.

He believes that students straight out of college are in the best position to start their own companies because they are “out of the box,” lacking years of experience in the business world, which is exactly what is necessary to be successful in the field.

Cassin said his parents were supportive of his decision not to work on Wall Street and allowed him to live at home while he was starting up InfoRocket.com. “Although they didn’t know too much about the Internet, they realized what I was doing was very important,” he said.

“If you are thinking about starting your company, although it may be risky, the greatest risk is not starting your firm. Do not hesitate to join a start-up environment. It’s an environment where you can learn a great deal. The Internet is in its infancy. We are in the second inning of a long game. You can actually jump in and affect the way this revolution plays out,” he said.

Cassin said that InfoRocket.com is always hiring new employees and does hire summer interns.

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