Startups tap unique tech internship program to speed, advance growth
Being proactive and thinking long term for talent needs is a crucial strategy for today’s tech leaders, and programs like TechPoint’s Xtern program are proving value by addressing talent needs for companies large and small. Recruitment is already underway for the internship program’s 10th summer. We spoke with three first-time employers from the Xtern class of 2022, who wanted to share why they took a chance on Xtern and why you should, too.
Launched in 2014, Xtern provides technical and business skilled university students with full-time internship opportunities, free housing and programming crafted to show them why Indiana is an amazing place to live, work and play as a professional in the tech world. Recruitment for the next all-star class and prospective employers begins almost immediately after TechPoint closes the books on the previous Xtern class experience.
Providing an all-in-one intern solution
“The Xtern program offered an “all in one” solution without us having to go out and recruit, screen, etc…, and they ID’d strong candidates for us to review,” said Erik Coyne, COO and co-founder of Folia, a Bloomington, Ind., based document annotation startup.
The TechPoint team provides the top intern candidates for employers to consider by screening all applicants, who then submit work sample assessments in the various fields for which they apply (ie. design, cybersecurity, marketing, data analytics, sales, engineering, etc.). Applicants who seem to be the best prospects for open positions are invited to participate in Xtern Finalist Day.
“Ultimately, what I liked most about the program was that candidates who applied had been filtered down and you are only matched with extremely qualified individuals who excel in their field,” said Eliza Ash, product designer (UI/UX) with Carmel-based Alleo. “I also liked that if you didn’t find someone who was a good fit, you weren’t obligated to hire anyone.”
The applicant vetting process, and positive testimonials from other Indiana tech companies, initially piqued the Alleo team’s interest in the Xtern program. Alleo doesn’t have an in-house internship, so its leaders were delighted to find their Xterns to be insightful and hard working.
Indianapolis-based logistics tech company ShipSigma has found multiple ways to get involved with TechPoint through having CEO and Co-Founder Chase Flashman volunteer his time to coach a team in The Pitch, as well as being nominated for two Mira Awards, which celebrates the “Best of Indiana Tech”, and working with the TechPoint team on venture capital tax credit opportunities.
Setting up Xterns for success
ShipSigma has worked with the IUPUI School of Informatics and Computing in the past to source interns, but Folia and Alleo were new to a formal internship program going into Xtern 2022. All three companies set their Xterns up for success.
“We prepared ourselves by creating multiple projects and training opportunities for our Xterns to work on and participate in throughout their internship,” said Flashman. “We were always heading toward that ‘north star.’”
Alleo team members acquainted their Xterns with the company before the official start of the program in May.
“We started our Xterns on a part-time, 10 hours a week basis around February 2022, which allowed them to dip their toes in the water and get onboarded,” said Ash. “It gave them time to learn about our product, our team and our goals. By the time summer came around, they were ready to hit the ground running at full speed and were extremely productive in week one. There was a lot of excitement built up because we were finally able to be in the office and work on the bigger projects we had been discussing earlier in the year.”
Once the program officially began, all three companies found their Xterns to be energetic and insightful, bringing unique perspectives to their various missions. “Lots of curiosity from our Xterns helped us reexamine what we were doing,” said Coyne.
Flashman said ShipSigma’s Xterns brought incredible value to his growing company. “All three of our Xterns brought a unique perspective on current business struggles,” he said. “Each of them had different skill sets and a belief in those skill sets that allowed them to collaborate with each other and business stakeholders.”
Alleo officials were so happy with their early-starting Xterns that they extended them for part-time positions through the fall 2022 semester. “They not only fit well with our company culture but helped grow it into what it is today,” said Ash. “Their energy, creativity and drive to excel made them very valuable to our team.”
“We enjoyed having them so much that if they were graduated seniors, we would have hired them full-time,” said Ash. “Unfortunately, they have one more year of school so we’ll have to wait!”
Interested in learning more about Xtern? Click here!
The Indiana Economic Development Commission is investing $300,000 to help young Indiana startup companies cover the cost of participating in the 2023 Xtern program. Learn more about the Xtern Startup Assistance Program HERE.
Ready to commit to being a 2023 Xtern employer now? Click here!