Most people remember thinking about or being asked this question when they were young. And we’re no different. Like many boys that loved sports, we went through the obligatory stage of wanting to be an NFL or NBA player. But given that we’re both, we’ll say, vertically challenged (5'8" and 5'10"), we had to let those dreams fall to the wayside.
The funny thing is, as founders of an early stage company, you might think we had dreams or ambitions about entrepreneurship. But that wasn’t the case. In fact, the idea of working at an early stage company, let alone starting your own, was not even part of our collective consciousness.
Yet here we are. So the obvious question is, how did we get here? Well, Jake and I have had many conversations on this subject that never lead to a clear answer. It’s just this long non-linear path that includes learning about the stock market and IPOs, reading science fiction, learning about the history of the internet, meeting people that worked in tech, and many more random factors that contributed in some way. But there is always this one common factor. That is, we both had opportunities to ask critical questions of people that we admired, which in turn pushed us to keep digging and ask more questions.
So when we learned about WiTNY
(pronounced Whitney), we felt like we were looking in a mirror. WiTNY, which stands for Women in Technology and Entrepreneurship in New York, is a program which seeks to propel women into technology careers through education, work experience, and community building. They focus their efforts on female students within the CUNY (City University of New York) network which encompasses 250,000 students, 80% of whom are people of color. In other words, these are students who lack the experience on their resumes which would help them pass the screening stage at top technology companies. They don’t have prior work experience to talk about. They cannot afford to take on unpaid apprenticeships and do not have a built-in network of connections to help them open doors.
A couple years ago, WiTNY launched a program call “Winternships
.” It places female CUNY students in paid 3-week mini internships at technology companies in New York during the January academic recess. If work at a company that would like to participate, or know of any others that might, please reach out to us and we’ll gladly make an intro to the program director.
-Jeremy & Jake