Kane Sarhan and Shaila Ittycheria, E[nstitute]
What E[nstitute] does: Co-founders Kane Sarhan (right) and Shaila Ittycheria (left) have created a two year apprenticeship program, including a boot camp and curriculum, for people who want experience working at a startup. Sarhan and Ittycheria met while working at New York tech startup Local Response. “Shaila and I are definitely about as opposite as you can get—from both our backgrounds, to how we came to E[nstitute], to the type of people who we are in the workplace,” says Sarhan. “She’s very left brain, data, numbers, genius in that side, and I’m very much right brain and the creative, more artistic side.”
E[nstitute] fellows work directly with founders and high-level executives. Participating entrepreneurs participating in the program include Ben Lerer, Thrillist and Lerer Ventures; David Kidder, Clickable; and Hilary Mason, bit.ly. The first program begins in August 2012.
How it’s changing the game: “There’s a greater movement, I would say,” says Sarhan. “It’s this idea of reinventing higher education to address the problems people are facing and the fact that university isn’t working for everyone.” E[nstitute] was founded on the principle that real world experience and direct access to successful business owners will provide a more robust and valuable education than sitting in a classroom and taking notes.
What’s next: Sarhan and Ittycheria are betting that real-world experience will make E[institute] graduates extremely valuable to potential employers and that value will be the basis of a revenue model. “The placing of apprenticeships and the curriculum that we’re doing is a 501(c)(3) non-profit. We will be building a recruiting fee on our fellows into this model to help sustain that non-profit so that we’re not constantly out there fundraising,” says Sarhan. “We believe entrepreneurs are realizing that not only are they going to have two years to groom someone to be the perfect employee, but they’re also going to get to try before they buy. Whether we end up placing the graduates into a startup or into a large organization, we get a premium for that because we know what competencies they have.” The organization is also considering a “pay it forward” model, where graduates will pay a percentage of their future salary to the program in exchange for free tuition.
Photography by Jill Lotenberg
Daria Meoli is the Executive Editor at The New York Enterprise Report. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org