On Monday night, in the Heights Room, the Boston College Venture Competition (BCVC) held its second annual Startup Career Fair. Over 30 firms were represented, ranging from small mobile application firms to large e-commerce companies.
According to Paul Hillen, chairman of the executive board of BCVC and CSOM ’15, last year’s event was widely praised by BC students who keep close tabs on the technology scene both on and off campus.
“When I reached out to companies who came last year, I asked them, ‘Hey, did you hire anyone?'” Hillen said. “And all them said they hired at least one person. Some hired up to three. That’s really cool, that’s success for us.”
This year’s companies were recruiting for positions that included everything from full-time software jobs to social media internships. While most of the attendees were business and computer science students, many other majors were also in attendance.
“BC talent is becoming more diverse,” said Justin Robinson, BC ’11, chief marketing officer and co-founder of Drizly Inc., an alcohol delivery service based in Boston and New York. “There are English majors and Spanish majors and math majors who are all interested in joining tech startups. And also lots of people who want to learn how, or are working toward, becoming an engineer. It’s part of this booming job market.”
The career fair is part of BCVC’s mission to strengthen the entrepreneurial spirit on campus.
“So much in [the Carroll School of Management] is finance, accounting, or consulting,” said Hillen. “We want to say, ‘Okay, there’s a whole different field you can work in, which is tech and startups.’ And what’s cool is that a lot of these [firms] are very mission driven, they have good cultures, they give you a lot of responsibility and sometimes better experiences. So the whole point is to show a whole different area to work in compared to the traditional routes.”
Alexander Smith, CSOM ’15 and a tech enthusiast, was one of more than 200 students in attendance.
“The business cards that are exchanged here have a lot more impact than potential contacts made at larger companies,” Smith said. “We also have more in common with the representatives here. Many are recent BC grads-they’re more in touch with the student body.”
Like last year, companies expressed a deep interest in the start-up movement at BC.
Harvey Simmons, BC ’11, works for Evertrue, an alumni networking platform that helps academic institutions do a better job at tracking and engaging alumni.
“The success of BC entrepreneurs over the last few years has been absolutely remarkable,” Simmons said. “And it’s more than just raising—they’re making an impact on the ecosystem here.”
John Gallaugher, associate professor of information systems, is a BCVC advisor and has mentored many of the entrepreneurs that have come out of BC.
“I look around this room and I see at least three startups that cut their teeth in entrepreneurship at BC, that raised more than $1 million, and are now here recruiting,” Gallaugher said. “Achvr was started by an MBA student of mine… they raised over a million bucks.
“Drizly just raised $2.25 million, started by BC students … So the kind of entrepreneurial activity that you’re seeing at BC-this isn’t simply an abstract intellectual exercise. Boston College students are fundamentally building bedrock businesses that are raising capital, that have real customers, and are now here hiring. So I’m just thrilled.”
Tech firms were focused on hiring computer programmers, as were other firms at the fair, who are trying to keep up with digital innovations in their industries. Many of the recent BC grads said they believed that technical talent at BC was becoming stronger and more numerous.
Alex Pedicini, BC ’11, is a Community Manager for Ubersense, a mobile and web application that helps athletes and coaches improve their skills through video and collaboration.
“The kids here have been impressive,” Pedicini said regarding talent within the computer science community. “[The numbers are] small but they’re growing fast. When I was here I didn’t even know anyone else who was going down this track. But it seems like there’s more kids who are doing it now.”
BCVC’s Venture Capital Competition will take place later this semester. The submission deadline for student firms is Monday, March 3 at 5 p.m.