Simon Davies from Manchester, UK, is interning at Valueshine.
Finding the Internship
Having grown up in a society which ridicules interns, branding them as glorified photocopiers, coffee-makers and Facebook professionals, I was anxious to find a position which didn’t fall into this stereotype. Equally, I was also determined to avoid a job where I would be made to feel like a free laborer, regurgitating mind-numbing administrative task after administrative task for hours on end, eventually transforming me from keen young professional to depressed clerical zombie all in the space of four months. Ultimately, I was looking for responsibility, varied tasks, and a good, reciprocal relationship with my bosses, in a field which appealed to my interests in start-ups, business strategy and marketing.
Finally, I came across the internship at Valueshine, a startup portfolio company (i.e. Valueshine is an umbrella company which has a portfolio of startups which it has major investments in and helps to develop) with four or five startups on its books, two of which operate out of the company headquarters in the center of Tel Aviv on Rothschild Blvd (Unomy and Chekkt). They were looking for an intern to join a team of 4 or 5 people at Unomy, a new competitive business intelligence software company looking to officially launch in May 2014, right in the middle of the Career Israel 16 session. The intern would work directly under the company’s CEO and would specialize in marketing and business development, but would also gain exposure to other tasks, for example in product development, seeking investment and sales. Although I had little to no experience in the field of business intelligence, the position presented the ideal internship opportunity to learn about starting and developing a business. This, combined with the fact that Unomy is part of a wider portfolio added another element to the internship which I felt would be difficult to find elsewhere. I interviewed with Valueshine, along with another larger company based in Netanya with 10-15 interns, and decided that I would gain a broader experience with greater levels of responsibility and exposure in the smaller, younger company.
After a few weeks of trips with the programme and habituating to life in Israel, my internship with Valueshine finally got under way. I was introduced to everybody in the office and Gal, the CEO of Unomy (who I had already been in contact with) gave me a presentation on the booming intelligence industry, the company, and how it (Unomy) can benefit its future users. He had prepared a substantial amount of reading, audiobooks, and videos for me on online marketing, sales, the competitive intelligence industry, and other related topics to help give me a foundation of knowledge and information before I really started to contribute. I spent the first week or two making my way through the materials, feeling like I was going to learn more from this four-month, hands-on experience than I ever could at school or university.
The office and the people are great, as I mention below, but it is the give-and-take dynamic of the internship here which really stands out for me. It is definitely a misconception that just because interns don’t earn a salary, that they don’t receive anything in return for their services. We all need incentivizing, and Gal (the CEO) made it clear from the start that this internship would be as much about training for me, as it is me working for the company. I have heard enough ‘horror’ stories from other interns who spend all day stuck in a dark room, staring at Facebook, Instagram and Twitter homepages, eagerly anticipating speculative optimum posting times (e.g. 10am, 2pm, 4pm…10 different time-zones), to know that I have a good internship here and am lucky to have found it. The “here are the usernames and passwords and off you go” approach, definitely isn’t common but it does happen. If it does, the Career Israel coordinators are very helpful resources to go to for advice and assistance. (P.S. Social media marketing is actually really important and it requires a lot of training from the company, creativity and practice to get it right!).