Scout Wilkins interned with Ohio Innovation Fund during the summer of 2019. Scout, a mathematics major, is set to graduate from Kenyon College in May 2020.
What did a typical day look like for you as an OIF intern?
Surprisingly, every day at OIF has been different! But I can always count on learning something new and being challenged in my work. At OIF, I’ve been lucky enough to work with other interns through a set of modules that have helped me learn the ins-and-outs of the due diligence process, financial statements, term sheets, valuations, and much more. Accompanying this, I get to delve into the research on different startup companies that have the potential to join the OIF portfolio, sit in on meetings at many of the current portfolio companies, and attend various events such as pitch competitions, panels, and entrepreneurial presentations.
How has OIF differed from other companies at which you’ve worked?
In my past work experience, it was all the same once I completed my training. Here at OIF, I am constantly learning business vernacular, understanding different strategies, and being impressed by all the new solutions out there trying to make our lives easier or the world a safer place. This internship feels less like a job and more like an amazing learning experience.
What experiences have you had in classes, clubs or other internships that prepared you for this position?
At Kenyon, I’ve taken many math classes that pretty much required spending time in office hours with my professors, asking questions, and understanding the material. This has really come into play here at OIF because I feel very comfortable asking my fellow interns questions, as well as Jill and Bill. An important lesson you need to master when looking at potential investors is asking the right question. My classes at school have helped me become more confident in asking questions, which allows me to practice finding and looking for that right question.
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned since starting at OIF?
Here at OIF, I’ve learned that it is okay to be confused. When working in venture capital, you’re not always going to know the industry of a specific company that well, and it will take time to be able to understand it. Experience and really digging in deep will help in the long run. Even after googling every single word, you may not get it, but that does not mean you should stop trying to understand. Instead, you dig deeper and search more.
What is one piece of advice you would give to students hoping to land an internship in venture capital or at a startup company?
I would recommend applying for things that may be out of your comfort zone (as well as things in it, of course!). This could include the location of the internship, industry that the company works in, or even a position that may seem out of your skill set. You never know what someone is looking for, and you will have such a huge opportunity to learn new things. If you get the offer, then you can spend some time reading different blogs that talk about VC/the industry of your startup, listening to podcasts, and more. Becoming familiar with some of the terms will make it less intimidating when you start!