Articles by Caroline da Cunha

Caroline manages Performance Marketing at Startup Institute.

How Olympic Luging And Networking are the Same

You may think that Olympic lugers and early-stage angel investors have nothing in common, until you meet someone who’s done both, and he tells you that Olympic luging and startup networking are basically the same thing. When I was a student at Startup Institute, Ty Danco, founder of eSecLending and BuysideFX, and former Director of Techstars Boston stopped by to explain. (more…)

Top 4 Signs a Startup is Hiring

Are you looking for a job at a startup? Most startups don’t hire in a traditional manner. In fact, most open roles will be filled before they ever make their way to a job board. Clearly this poses a challenge when you’re trying to get your foot in the door at a startup company. Savvy job seekers know that at least 70% of jobs aren’t advertised, so they can’t rely on job sites to get the lay of the landscape. Instead, they’re aware of key indicators that signal a startup may be actively searching for talent. We don’t want you to miss an opportunity for a job you’ll love, so below are a few things you should keep an eye out for in your job search to find the startups that are hiring.70% of job openings are never advertised online, says @dacunhac Click To Tweet (more…)

8 Habits of Super Successful Networkers

Networking can be terrifying. The idea of striking up an unsolicited conversation in hopes of ultimately building a professional relationship with a stranger who may be able to help advance your career… whew! It can be daunting, to say the least. But, there is another type of networking which may be much more powerful and is surely significantly less anxiety inducing than event networking. (more…)

7 Ways Being a Rebel Can Advance Your Career

Sometimes you’ve got to shake things up.

This week Lois Kelly, co-author of “Rebels at Work: A Handbook for Leading Change from Within,” joined us for an awesome alumni workshop on our Boston campus.

All of us have had great ideas that go unheard at work — not knowing how to voice them, where to start, or how to overcome the fear of rejection. Lois’ workshop (which she’s run for organizations worldwide, including the CIA) was designed to open this conversation, with tactics to advance your career by being an effective agent of change at work.

Here are Lois’ seven key tips for catalyzing change at work: (more…)

The 4 Books Every Marketer Should Read

Marketing is undergoing a seismic shift. As the world moved into the digital era, marketers had to adapt tactics to reach consumers on desktops, mobile devices, and tablets through platforms like Google, Facebook, and Twitter–to name just a few. And at the rate that our mediums of engagement evolve, it doesn’t seem there will ever be an end to this flux. Savvy marketers must continuously keep up with this changing landscape to ensure their skill sets are not made obsolete. (more…)

3 Reasons EverTrue is Awesome for Alumni Networking


Cultivating a strong network is critical when it comes to building a successful, fulfilling career. Things move quickly in the digital age, today’s most coveted skillset may be obsolete tomorrow. Even if you manage to stay relevant by continuing to develop your skills and adapting your career plans as you progress, you will fail if you lack a network. As co-founder and chairman of LinkedIn, Reid Hoffman states in his book, The Startup of You, “No matter how brilliant your mind or strategy, if you’re playing the game solo, you’ll always lose out to a team.”

For many, alumni networks can be the most valuable and underutilized networks we have. Your shared experience of attending the same the educational institution is powerful thread that ties you to thousands of professional contacts. At Startup Institute, we are building a powerful network of innovators, technologists, and startup enthusiasts— a network of individuals committed to helping one another navigate through (the sometimes turbulent waters of) their career. Making it easy for our alumni to connect and build relationships with one another is extremely important which is why we offer them EverTrue.

In addition to being one of our rockstar Partner Companies in Boston, EverTrue is a mobile app that provides access to an alumni network right on your smartphone. It’s a fast an easy way for alumni to discover people that can help and support them professionally. While many alumni communities struggle to provide value due to the outdated information they provide, EverTrue’s preferred partnership with LinkedIn allows alumni access professional data updated in real-time.

Here are 3 reasons why we think EverTrue is awesome for connecting our alumni network:

1. You can sort by industry, company, or location. EverTrue recently launched version 3.0 of their app, offering deeper LinkedIn integration, including this new feature. We’re loving this ability to sort and filter your network on these key criteria. Want to identify Startup Institute alumni that work in e-learning or do market research? Easy. Click over to the directory view and apply a filter to view alumni in those industries. Trying to find a contact at a specific startup where you’re trying to get a foot in the door? Filter by company to see who in the SI network works there. I used Vsnap as an example below; as you’ll see, we currently have 3 alumni that works there.


2. It makes connecting a cinch. If a picture is worth a thousand words, what is an email address worth? We think it’s more than that. With 182.9 billion emails sent per day worldwide, according to the Email Statistics Report by Radicati Group, having a proper email address can be the most important factor in forming an initial connection. With access to your alumni community on EverTrue, you also have access to everyone’s email address—just click on an individual’s profile it’s right there along with your common connections and their work, educational, and SI cohort history. To make connecting even easier, EverTrue gives you the ability to email directly through the app. (No, they won’t hold your hand and write they email for you, but you can check out this post for advice on how to send a cold email.)


3. Users can visualize their whole alumni network. Location. Location. Location. We hear this over and over again when it comes to house hunting, but what about networking? The location of your network matters. Luckily for Startup Institute alumni, EverTrue is location-aware and their mapping feature lets you visualize the network. Search nearby or find alumni in other locations by doing a quick search based on city or zip code. Traveling or moving to another city? Use this feature to connect with SI alumni in the area. Did you know we have at least 4 alumni in Seattle?


So there you have it, access to our ever-growing network in the palm of your hand. If you haven’t already, take advantage of this free tool and download it from the app store today.

PS. This post wouldn’t be complete without a quick shout out to our three alumni currently working at EverTrue: David Ohayon, Kathryn Crimmins, and Joanna Vinick. Keep up the good work!

This post is by Caroline da Cunha, Marketing Manager at Startup Institute Boston and proud SI alumni. Connect with her on twitter @dacunhac.

4 Lessons for Future Startup Employees

Next Wednesday, Startup Institute Boston is hosting our monthly Important People Honest Conversations event. We’re excited that Sarah Hodges, the co-founder of and a well known digital marketer, blogger, and marketing strategist in Boston, will be joining us for a candid conversation.

As we gear up for next week’s event, I want to share what I learned from June’s IPHC featuring Sean Lindsay of TapJoy and Eric Newman of Simple Tuition. They had great advice for anyone joining or already a part of the fast-paced world of startups. Here are the key lessons learned:

  1. Be ruthless with your time. There is always so much to get done and you must learn to prioritize where you spend your time. Get comfortable with the fact that you will not get through your to-do list. Remember, the stuff you aren’t getting done is not as important as the stuff you are getting done.
  2. Do your homework. It’s extremely important when networking to understand both the company and the background of the person you’re meeting with. You should have an informed point of view. Try to identify areas where the company may be able to improve and make statements like, “Well have you thought about this…” It shows that you are eager, passionate, and thoughtful about how you can help their business.
  3. Optimize for learning. When it comes to accepting a job offer, the most important factor to consider is room for personal growth. You must determine if the the company hiring will make an investment back in you by encouraging and supporting continuous learning. This will better your future more than accepting an offer based on company mission or salary.
  4. Identify your outlets. In the demanding world of startups, it’s easy for your job to become all consuming. You cannot let this happen. Spend time doing the things you love, whether it’s going for weekend hikes, taking a cooking class, or practicing yoga daily. Always make time for you friends and family because that’s what matters most. They’re the ones that will be there for you if your startup turns into an epic failure!

So, now you’re that much more equipped for when you graduate Startup Institute. First you have to apply though.

Data Won the Election, EverTrue Will Win College Donations

With Nadia Leung


President Obama’s campaign famously utilized big data to collect donations and gain insight on voter turnout. If politicians can harness today’s advanced technology, why haven’t top educational institutions been able to utilize big data to connect with and fundraise from their alumni and donors?

It’s true that fundraising is as much of an art as it is a science. It relies on accurately interpreting and understanding data, and on cultivating meaningful and personal relationships. Much as a salesperson must understand his clients’ needs before formulating their pitch, a fundraiser must understand her donors’ background in order to present them with a compelling reason to make a gift.

Unfortunately, many not-for-profit organizations rely on legacy software vendors with archaic systems that do not provide accurate data on their donors. This was a problem Brent Grinna, EverTrue CEO and founder, experienced first-hand as a volunteer class officer for his 5th year reunion at Brown University.

Brent made a special visit to Startup Institute this week to talk about his experience as a first-time entrepreneur and the idea behind launching EverTrue. Brent discovered that current information on his alumni network was more reliably obtained from LinkedIn and Facebook, and he conducted his own research. This was more than a fundraising issue; it was a big data issue. What should have been a streamlined process wasted hours of time and resources.

Enter EverTrue: a mobile alumni networking platform built entirely on top of LinkedIn’s API. Developed in partnership with LinkedIn’s Higher Education team, EverTrue connects institutional databases with the generally more current data updated on LinkedIn’s platform. Over 100 prep schools and colleges can now connect their databases with real-time information in the social graph. Users can leverage their alumni networks and identify key mentors by searching for fellow graduates in their area based on industry, name, or class. The company is currently debuting a second product developed to support fundraising in education and other non-profit sectors.

It is clear that Brent and the EverTrue team are re-inventing fundraising through great technology designed for an intuitive user experience.

Here are three key takeaways from our chat with Brent:

1. The Value of Alumni: Identifying and cultivating relationships with mentors is extremely important whether you’re starting a company or looking for career guidance. Utilize your existing networks, develop new connections, and Never Eat Alone again!
2. Be the Solution: This is precisely how Brent began his entrepreneurial pursuit. He identified that tracking and engaging alumni and donors is a huge pain point for advancement and fundraising professionals, and he created a platform which enables them to leverage big data to build stronger communities.
3. Ask for Feedback: No one gets it right the first time. Along the way, Brent has always solicited feedback from everyone he talks to about EverTrue. The insight he’s garnered has largely enhanced the mobile app and helped him identify additional pain points leading to the company’s pivot towards developing a mobile fundraising platform.
We’re looking forward to downloading our EverTrue app when we officially become Startup Institute alumna in August!

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