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Rider Tuff, Co-Founder of Leva, got in contact with me and explained to me a fanstic initative that they are running in order to increase visibility of remote internships.
Tell me a bit about yourself and how you came across sarahngan.com.
We came across your website through your first article covering the rise of remote internships. The feedback you collected from students was very insightful.
What is the story behind Leva?
Eric – my co-founder – and I have always been interested in entrepreneurship. We have had great experiences working in startups and wanted to give that opportunity to students around the United States. When COVID-19 struck we decided to build a website to help University of Richmond Students (with university funding) find summer internships. We ended up successfully facilitating 35 internships at 27 startups. Looking forward, we are now building a proprietary platform to help college students find paid and unpaid remote internships throughout the academic year and summer. We are hoping this platform will help students bridge the gap between practical and theoretical knowledge by applying their academic studies to their internship in real time.
Did you face any setbacks? If yes, what were they and how did you react to them and what did you learn from it?
We had a bit of difficulty in the beginning getting our first company to sign-up. Unsurprisingly, it was hard for them to commit to a platform that had never been used before, not to mention the fact that we were reaching out at peak unpredictability with COVID-19. Eventually, we were able to get one company to sign up and as soon as we had one, it was easier to get others to join. We learned about the difficulty of convincing first-movers, but once you’ve got a couple people signed up, it gets a bit easier.
What is the vision for Leva in 5 years time?
In five years, we see Leva being a community of entrepreneurial students who make an impact in cutting-edge companies. We are also hoping that Leva spreads across a large portion of the United States and Europe, creating an incredible opportunity for knowledge sharing across borders.
What are some top tips for students considering a remote internship?
1. Geographic: Realize the incredible power that remote internships hold. You are now able to find the best opportunity for you not in your city, not in your country, but throughout the entire world. Use this to your advantage and consider working in cities/countries outside of your hometown.
2. Interest: Along the same lines as the removal of geographic restrictions, students have access to a much larger pool of opportunities with remote internships. This means that you can now work in almost any industry and position. Think hard about what you’re passionate about and seek out companies in that purview.
3. People: Admittedly, it is not as easy to network with colleagues remotely as it is in the office. This means you need to formulate networking goals and hold yourself to them. This could take the form of say 2 casual conversations with employees you already know and 1 conversation with someone you do not a week. You would be surprised at how willing people are to get to know you but also just how willing they are to help you if you’re ambitious.
4. Marketability: Since remote internships open an entire new world of opportunities you can exponentially increase your marketability to future employers. Say, for example, your dream career is to work in emerging market funding within a venture capital firm. With remote internships can now work in a Latin American startup, educate yourself on their operating model, demographic targets, and marketing strategy. When a VC firm asks you why they should hire you, you can say: “I’ve been inside an emerging market startup and I’ve seen these operational inefficiencies and I also know firsthand how the Latin American market reacts to certain technologies.” Now, you have shown value to a firm that separates you from every other candidate.
Anything else you would like to mention?
If you are interested in holding a remote internship during the school year you can sign up for Leva’s waitlist at: levawork.com ahead of our August 2020 launch. You can also reach out to email@example.com with any questions.