Skandalaris Center

The background image for the website. It is a multi colored mosaic.

The Most Innovating Internship

Julian Wu (EN '23)
July 28, 2021

My name is Julian Wu and I’m a rising junior studying Mechanical Engineering. This summer I had the privilege of working at Capital Innovators (CI), a company dedicated to funding and accelerating startups and ideas. Capital Innovators has helped raise over $400 million in follow-on investment and has run an accelerator to speed the growth of over 100 companies. Recently, Capital Innovators has opened a second accelerator with the National Geospatial Agency (NGA) dedicated to accelerating the growth of next-generation geospatial-intelligence technologies. To learn more about Capital Innovators and all the investments and accelerators click here.

I initially met Frank (the previous program director) when he was speaking during our class for the Entrepreneurial Fellowship, what drew me to the company was how different they were from the other companies. Instead of trying to grow and scale themselves and sell a physical product to a consumer, they offered to help companies find funding and optimize themselves for growth. To determine if a company is worth pouring time and effort in, they did a lot of due diligence on the industry, making sure the company is profitable and scalable in the long run. I have a strong interest in learning about how to evaluate companies so this was a perfect fit for me.

Throughout the internship, I’ve been pulled in multiple directions and asked to learn multiple things. I originally started off searching for prospective companies for the accelerators and then reaching out to the founders about CI and inviting them to apply. The CI program director (Brett Luing) taught us about what kind of companies they were looking for and how to determine if a company could be profitable in the long run. In addition to that, I would look at certain companies that CI was curious about and write a short report about them analyzing whether or not the company would be a smart investment. Specifically, I learned about TAM (total accessible market) and how to determine if there is money to be made for the product or service the company is offering. I also worked on designing an interface on Notion for companies in the accelerator, but I had never used notion before so I was learning how to use the program while making the landing page. I felt like all the tasks in the past were for a reason, and helped me with later projects that I’m working on.

As of right now, I’m working on an investment thesis, essentially talking about a certain industry and highlighting specific companies that I think would be great companies to invest in. With all these fun experiences at Capital Innovators, my colleagues and I created a podcast called “The Eager Entrepreneur” where we talk about what we did in the past week and just talk about entrepreneurship in general. Really excited to showcase all I learned at CI and hope that I get to work and learn more from them in the future. I’m also really thankful for the Entrepreneurial Fellowship for helping me find this company.