The Farm Team for Winners: EduLab Capital Invests in early-stage talent
by Sally Sorte
EduLab Capital launched its second internship program in June 2020, in the thick of the Covid-19 pandemic. Despite the Brady Bunch format for collaboration, it was an incredibly valuable and fun internship experience.
I was one of those summer interns, having just completed my first year at Harvard Business School. We kicked off every morning with lively discussions about the EdTech market, valuations, investing, sports, news, and anecdotes from our various ‘quarantine’ situations sprinkled across the United States, from California to Boston.
The vibrant culture that we developed through our bookended daily meetings — morning and afternoon, weekly meetings with our team members in Japan, ad hoc collaboration and learning sessions, and DoorDash supplied happy hours demonstrated the power of a team to thrive even in unusual circumstances.
It has been inspiring to see the trajectory of our interns since that summer. From securing roles in Venture Capital straight out of undergrad, to attaining positions at prestigious firms like Bain Capital and Morgan Stanley, to entering a career in private equity. The stories of Amy, August, Aron, and Jacob — detailed below — are a testament to what talent can achieve when it is paired with doorways into new industries, access to mentors, and the chance for great opportunities.
I ended up deferring my second year of business school (Covid year) to wait out online classes, and joined the EduLab team as a Principal, extending my summer into a full year of venture capital experience. I went back to finish out my second year in the fall of 2021, graduating this past May, and returned to the team full time this past summer.
At EduLab Capital, we are not only investing in early-stage companies, we are also investing in early-stage talent, and we are committed to increasing the diversity of the talent that has the opportunity to access career pathways in venture capital, private equity, and financial services at large. If you know an exceptional candidate for our next internship class, please send them my way.
Without further ado, the inspiring profiles of Amy, August, Aron, and Jacob:
Name: Amy Wang
Alma Mater + Grad Year: Northwestern University ‘21
Current Employer: Blue Cloud Ventures
Current Role: Investment Associate
One sentence description of your day-to-day: A mix of talking to founders/investors/operators and doing diligence on interesting companies!
Hobbies / interests: Since retiring from playing volleyball in college I’ve been spending most of my spare time reading, traveling, running, and exploring NYC!
What did you learn during your time with ECP? So many things, but the most important was validating my interest in VC.
How did ECP / your learnings help you achieve your current role? The level of independence and autonomy I had at ECP was unlike any other internship I had before and is very similar to what juniors at most other funds have. Learning how to work in an environment like this and having the opportunity to speak/ give my perspective in meetings was so valuable in helping me build my confidence as an investor.
Anything else you want to add? The team at ECP is great and I definitely would not be where I am in my career if I didn’t have this experience!
Name: August Riess
Alma Mater + Grad Year: Boston College Carroll School of Management Class of 2021
Current Employer: Bain Capital
Current Role: Diligence Analyst
Hobbies / Interests: Tennis, Boston Sports, Guitar, Comedy
What did you learn at your time at ECP: At ECP, I learned a great deal about the blossoming Ed Tech industry and its rich investing landscape. This space was particularly enthralling during the span of my internship in the summer of 2020, when almost all education was shifted online. We learned how COVID accelerated existing trends within the Ed Tech sub verticals of K-12, Higher Ed, Corporate Learning, etc.
I also learned how to interface with founders and glean relevant info about their product through their pitch deck, and I garnered valuable experience communicating this knowledge and overall market trends to both the managing and limited partners of the fund. Finally, I learned where and how to source important deals that might affect how the fund considers pursuing investment in the Ed Tech space.
How did ECP help you get the current role you have?
ECP allowed me to market myself as someone who had previous work experience at a fund. I was able to communicate to my prospective employer how I fully involved myself in an industry I was passionate about, and gained expertise at a time of rapid change and transformation. I had tangible experiences of interfacing with founders, fund managers, and partners through capstone presentations, and I was able to cite this as valuable experience during interviews.
Name: Aron Nuñez
Alma Mater + Grad Year: Stanford BS ’21 and MS ‘22
Current Employer: Alpine Investors
Current Role: Private Equity Analyst
One sentence description of your day-to-day: As a member of the investing team at Alpine, my role entails helping evaluate and execute investments in software and services companies.
Hobbies / interests: At Stanford, I was a member of Phi Kappa Psi fraternity and Los Hermanos de Stanford. Post-grad, I’ve spent a lot of time lifting, running, hiking, and traveling Europe!
What did you learn during your time with ECP? I learned a ton at ECP, but most memorable was definitely learning how to source potential investments and chatting with university founders and other leaders in the EdTech space.
How did ECP / your learnings help you achieve your current role? My current role has a focus on private equity investments in the EdTech space, so learning what KPIs and other factors make a stellar EdTech company early on at ECP was instrumental in building out my toolbox for assessing investments.
Anything else you want to add? My time at ECP was a great learning experience in venture capital, but one thing that stands out is how much the team at ECP is invested in your success. Despite his busy schedule, Liam has always been there to help me navigate big decisions through college and post-grad!
Name: Jacob Bassil
Alma Mater + Grad Year: Williams College ‘22
Current Employer: Morgan Stanley
Current Role: Investment Banking Analyst
One sentence description of your day-to-day: Perform valuation and due diligence on companies in order to advise Tier 1 Sponsor Clients
Hobbies / interests: Played two sports in college (baseball and squash), love doing anything sports in my free time whether that is watching or playing! I also love visiting museums and looking at architecture (I always say my fantasy is to be kidnapped by time travelers in Paris and take me back to the 1920's.. arguably the greatest age for the arts there ever was…)
What did you learn during your time with ECP? ECP was my first real introduction into looking at and evaluating companies! Being able to get on the phone and hear calls with CEO’s of companies and debriefing those calls with the full ECP team was pivotal to my development in the sector. It taught me how to ask the right questions and learn the importance of developing relationships. It was truly learning in the greatest sense.
How did ECP / your learnings help you achieve your current role? ECP gave me the perfect foundation to springboard into my current Investment Banking role. Throughout my job so far, learning how to ask the right questions about what constitutes a good business, as well as what the key drivers are to run a business, are key. Being on sourcing calls with key strategic partners at ECP gave me this foundation and it has been a skill that has stuck with me until this day.
Anything else you want to add? My time at ECP was nothing more than memorable. Though it was on Zoom (thanks COVID), it was an experience I rave about to everyone till this day! I met such amazing, smart, hardworking people. I also developed great relationships and met a person who I would happily call my mentor. My internship with ECP is an experience I encourage every student to seek.
If you are interested in learning more about or recommending a candidate for our 2023 Ambassador program, reach out to me at Sally@edulabcapital.com