BBGV Interns: 5 Girls Entrusted With $10 Million
Before we knew it, we were squished into an elevator with the other sardines and whisked to the sixth floor. Forty-five minutes early on a Monday morning after Fourth of July weekend, this was our first day at AOL BBG Ventures (BBGV), a venture capital firm that invests in consumer tech start-ups that have at least one female on the founding team (very #BUILTBYGIRLS!). We filed in one by one, and received Macbooks, a tote bag, a backpack filled with swag and four new sisters. When we were led to our desks, we smiled at each other with a mix of apprehension and glee, our new badges in tow - we belonged here. This would be our office for the next four weeks, AOL Manhattan office and the first week was in short: awesome.
On day one, we had our first meeting with Nisha Dua, who is a principal at BBGV (as well as general manager at Cambio, where some of our friends are doing an internship!) and associate Samantha Lynch where they introduced us to entrepreneurship and told us all about BBGV. Every week, start-ups pitch their ideas to BBGV. If Nisha and her partner Susan Lyne think it would be wise to invest money, then they go:
The money that the start-up receives is called "funding," which the team will proceed to use to develop their start-up. There are several stages of funding in which a company can receive funding. There is the angel round, the seed or early stage, then Series A, B, C, etc. BBGV comes in during the seed stage.
They spoke about the latest trends in technology. As teenagers who have grown up alongside the Internet, we were not surprised that one trend was smartphones. Other trends included convenience (because humans are lazy), more freelance workers (like Uber drivers), exceptional user experiences and the Internet of Things. In short, everything ever will be controlled by technology. Freaky, we know. As a generation in love with online shopping and convenience, it's no surprise that e-commerce was listed as a huge trend.
It was fascinating to hear about a few of BBGV's 16 total investments. Some cool ones included GlamSquad (aka Uber for styling/makeup), Sunshine (a crowdsourced weather app that uses the sensors in your phone) and Thesis, which is re-creating the high heel to make it more comfortable so that this doesn't happen:
But you know you can't wear high heels with unpolished toes, which is why we were so excited to meet Renee Robbie, co-founder of Lookbooker. We were practically like this:
But, actually, our excitement was more limited, because we couldn't necessarily jump up and down in the office, so we hid it in more of a...
Hell yeah, we cool.
Lookbooker is a start-up that makes it easier for people to find beauty salons (hair, waxing, etc.). People can then make an online appointment. How great is that? Our hair and everything will be on point ALL the time! And not like this:
Renee also taught us a bunch of things about entrepreneurship. For one thing, we learned that to make an idea happen, just do it. You can do anything if you put your mind to it, especially in the case of a start-up. We don't have to plan out every detail of our ideas and instead we should just have a go at it. As Renee said, "Don't wait for it all to fall into place!"
And we didn't. By Tuesday, we were already presented with our first investment opportunity.
Us? Five girls who just turned 18? Spend $10 million? No problem.
At Girls Who Fund, we eat cold hard cash in our sandwiches. #JK
But seriously, attending our first pitch alongside business magnate Susan, just two days after starting as interns at BBGV, was slightly overwhelming (in a good way). The first company was an independent fashion retailer. You could tell they were the real deal. The chief executive officer and chief operating officer didn't bat an eye as they threw out names like they were made of paper. It was hard to be critical.
We felt like this:
But we pretended to be more like this:
Because if we learned anything from Renee, it's that you need to be considerate, clear-sighted and calculated when handling money.
TGIF. Suddenly it was Friday, and we were on our way to visit Uber's New York City headquarters. They were gearing up for their beach bag giveaway and had tables covered with swag, right next to a closet filled with even more swag, #freetees. More importantly was the information we gained. We got to hear from Marketing Director Ed Casabian along with Engineer Erin Yaylali and Senior Technical Recruiter Kristen Caldwell.
Wait? How do we go from graduating high school to starting our own careers? Although the process may seem nearly impossible, every small step adds up. In our first week, we learned that simply incorporating our styles to fit a work environment, contacting other successful people in a field that interests us, never being afraid to take risks and stepping outside our comfort zones will set us on track towards a bright future.
Who knows? Somewhere along the process, we just might land a job in the heart of New York City.
Or meet our favorite celebrities, or have the chance to help invest $10 million. Oh wait, we already did!