GatorLab Brings Ideas to Life
Ever think about getting involved in a startup company, but didn’t have any cool business ideas of your own?
GatorLab, a “startup accelerator,” is looking for interns to work on various local startup projects. Those accepted after application will be put into groups of two or three and paired with a local entrepreneur’s business idea. Starting the first week in February, the interns will have 3 months to build the business as much as possible with the incentive of receiving equity in the company.
Quang Tran, the primary founder of GatorLab, said he created the “startup accelerator” after seeing similar models being used in large entrepreneurial cities. There is lots of undeveloped business talent in Gainesville, according to Tran, but no avenue for that talent and intelligence to be developed outside of the University of Florida.
“If you’re ambitious, we can provide the resources you need to build up a company,” he said.
This is not Tran’s first venture into the local startup community. In August, he co-founded Starter Space, a startup incubator for local entrepreneurs to develop their business ideas into companies. The bottom floor of the Starter Space building, located at 308 W. University Ave., will be the home of GatorLab.
So far, there are seven project ideas for interns to potentially build into companies. They range from Scooty, an hourly scooter rental business, to MakeSend, a three-dimensional printing company.
Karthik Shanadi, a founder of GatorLab, said that interns will be placed in an intense, fast-paced and high pressure environment during their 3 months working on their companies. The high intensity is meant to replicate the experience interns would have if they were working on their own startup idea.
Shanadi has mainly been involved with the recruitment of interns for GatorLab. By using social media, contacting UF professors, student organizations and former local entrepreneurs, he said he will be able to find unnoticed business talent in Gainesville. In addition, GatorLab will also be sponsoring an internship fair at Starter Space at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday and Wednesday to find potential applicants.
Eric Pheterson, a founder of GatorLab, said that they are looking for a broad range of skills in their potential interns. While there will be a focus on business, marketing and technology backgrounds, people with all education backgrounds are welcome to apply for internships.
Pheterson said there are two primary goals for GatorLab. The first is to be an incubator for “cool ideas,” giving people with business ideas but without a team to build them the proper resources to do so.
The second goal of GatorLab, according to Pheterson, is to cultivate business intelligence in Gainesville. By working with GatorLab, interns will get a crash course in how the business world works, what ideas work and why a business idea might fail.
Pheterson said he does not expect each GatorLab project to become a successful business. In fact, he expects some of the projects will fail, but the knowledge and experience the interns gain will be valuable in either instance.
There will be many benefits of interning in a GatorLab project, according to Shanadi. After the projects are done, there is a possibility that interns will receive equity in the companies they started, depending on their work over the 3 months. If they do not receive equity, GatorLab will still operate as a networking platform for interns, helping them find other startup opportunities in Gainesville.