The Bowery Capital Team explores diversity in entrepreneurship as a 4 part blog series. Throughout this series, we will discuss with Founder/CEOs in our portfolio the impact diversity has had on their startups and careers. This week, Belsasar Lepe, Co-Founder & CEO of Cerby joins us to share more about his experience.
It’s our 4th year running of the Bowery Capital Fellowship Program and we’re in the midst of preparing for a big summer! We’re excited to share that several of our 2019 host companies are returning in 2020 and we’ll also be introducing a few new startups this year.
Looking back on 2019, we took some time to sit down with three of our recent grads, Yash Gurditta, Eliza Loftus, and Sammy Stern and get their thoughts on the Bowery Capital Fellowship Program. But before we dive in, here are some highlights from the Class of 2019:
-75% of recent grads received full-time offers to join their host company post fellowship
-25% of recent grads received full-time offers outside of the program to start immediately post fellowship
-2 of our mentor/mentee matches are still going strong
-Fun fact: 1 fellowship mentor was hired as a full-time employee at Bowery
As a recent grad, what made you decide to pursue the Fellowship instead of a full-time position?
Y: It was definitely tough deciding between going into a full-time role and participating in a summer fellowship with no guaranteed next steps. Ultimately, it came down to the exposure I knew I’d get through my involvement in the fellowship. I knew meeting leadership across several different SaaS companies in NYC would be helpful in my career long term and that I would learn a lot about the tech ecosystem. I kept in mind that full-time roles are available all the time and that the same could not be said for summer fellowships like Bowery Capital’s.
S: I was also definitely a little hesitant about the Bowery Capital Fellowship Program at first since I had just graduated and was primarily looking for full-time employment. By no means was it an easy decision for me to choose the Fellowship over the security of a full-time role, especially since it required me to move to a whole new city. I believe what ultimately led me to choosing the fellowship came down to two things. The first reason was the type of companies that the fellowship had the ability to connect me with. I always wanted to work in New York City and I always envisioned myself working at a fast-growth startup. The second reason was the networking possibilities that the Fellowship offers. I believe that many people do not understand the importance of networking until much later in their careers. However, being able to make connections at Bowery and all the other host companies is an unbelievable way to begin your career.
E: I think Sales is a scary field because there are so many stereotypes. I thought it was what I wanted to do, but didn’t want to end up in a cut-throat environment, crunching to hit my numbers, always worrying about being laid off, with no passion (the typical stereotypes!). The fellowship allowed me to explore the field of sales while gaining connections and insights into how sales teams are structured. It also allowed me to see what type of sales environment I wanted to work in and what was important to me for my first full-time job.
How would you describe the Fellowship?
E: I would describe the fellowship as an amazing stepping stone for someone who thinks they want to work in sales at a tech start-up. The fellowship gives you invaluable insights that otherwise could not be gained.
S: I would say that it’s an incredibly unique and valuable way to begin your career. Although it may not be traditional, and you could even say “less safe” than a traditional job, the value that you can get out of the fellowship is limitless.
Y: The program is designed to teach aspiring professionals how SaaS companies generate and retain revenue by meeting leaders in the industry while gaining hands on experience at a host company. The combination of weekly teach-ins and a full-time internship made the experience of going through the fellowship really engaging and well rounded.
What resources should future Fellows take advantage of and focus on in the duration of their Fellowship?
S: I would say that future Fellows should make sure to take advantage of just networking as much as possible. Whether this is making connections at Bowery, or the host companies that you visit, just make sure that you take advantage of all the value that the fellowship can offer you.
E: Fully engage each week at ‘Coffee with Closers’, ask questions and soak it all in. The meetings, if you take advantage of them, can give you an insider’s perspective on what it would be like to work at each company. They also give you insights into what you like in a sales team – size, structure, goals, etc. and these can be applied to any job in the future.
Y: Don’t worry too much about finding a full-time role. Oftentimes, your host company will extend you a return offer. If you choose to go a different route and pursue different opportunities, focus on what really interests you. Give yourself options and go with what feels right for you. The fellowship is designed to help you succeed and the people involved with the program are willing to help you figure it out – just ask.
A tradition we have at Bowery is to share our peak and pit – how would you describe yours?
E: My pit was not knowing if I would have a full-time offer when the fellowship ended. At times I questioned if I should have just gone the traditional route and accepted a full-time offer, but I am so grateful that I completed the fellowship. So with that, my peak was finding a company that I love! If I had not done the fellowship I wouldn’t have discovered Ceros and found a job and company that I love! Also, it’s a plus that I have so many connections in tech now 🙂
Y: The pit and the peak of the program were the same. 8 AM Coffee with Closers. It was easily the most engaging and eye-opening part of the program as it helped me see the big picture and inspired me to pursue a full-time role in sales. But also, showing up alert and ready to learn at 8 AM every week was a struggle.
S: I would say that the peak of the program was just getting going to all the other host companies every week. Every company taught me something different and being able to see all the other offices and learning about other companies was really a great experience. I would say the pit of the program was just not having the job security that a full-time role was. However, I never really let that affect me personally, as I knew what I had signed up for.
Interested in applying for our 2020 Bowery Capital Fellowship Program? Applications will be open through to February 15th and you can apply directly on our website. If you have any questions, reach out to Jess Bernido – email@example.com.
If you’re interested in listening to our podcast with Matt Hidalgo, another recent grad from the Class of 2019, now Sales Development Rep at Cockroach Labs, give it a listen here.
If you liked “Bowery Capital Fellowship Program: Q&A With Recent Grads From The Class of 2019” and want to read more content from the Bowery Capital Team, check out other relevant posts on the Bowery Capital Blog.
The Bowery Capital Team explores diversity in entrepreneurship. Throughout this blog series we will discuss with Founder/CEOs in our portfolio the impact diversity has had on their startups and careers. This week, Kate DeWald, Founder & CEO of Oncue joins us to share more about her experience.