Practicum's curriculum makes all of your accomplished projects a part of your job-searching portfolio. But if you want even more hands-on experience, an externship is the way to go.
Previously, we’ve covered the case study of an externship at Arqlite, where a group of Practicum software engineering students worked on a new landing page for the client.
This time we will look into a data analytics externship project for Prepare4VC.
Prepare4VC assists startups in scaling. The company was founded by serial investors, venture capitalists, and entrepreneurs. Their approach is to create a community and deliver cohort-based programs to boost young companies and help them grow. A thousand entrepreneurs worldwide have signed up for their community network.
The client wanted to analyze the data that was available to them and make accurate conclusions about their members. This would help Prepare4VC find the points of growth, know their members better, and set predictions for startups about the probability of investors working with them.
For this, Practicum students had to look into two databases: startups on one side and investors on the other. Their job was to find patterns, and visually present the results with the help of Tableau.
In order to accomplish the task, the team had to undergo several steps:
- Do the research on community members, mainly startup founders
- Undergo the same steps for the investors’ portfolios
- Look at the membership trends over time, their geography, and profiles to create graphs of effectiveness and recommendations
A group of four data analytics students from Practicum teamed up to accomplish the project.
In the project's first stage, students received a dataset of 1,151 records collected between 9/10/2020 and 10/25/2022. This dataset comprised the members' names, locations, email addresses, network roles, categories, bios, joined and last active dates, activities, preferences, and other information. Students preprocessed the data, analyzed it, and visualized findings to draw conclusions and prepare suggestions for the network.
The results of this stage of work were presented to the client in an interactive Tableau dashboard.
Apart from analyzing the location of the members, students looked into their operating system, average active days, the member’s activity, and visits. Here are some insights that the team was able to come up with:
- Most members are Founders or Co-Founders.
- Group memberships are more popular than program memberships.
- Boston New Technology is the top group membership.
The dashboard also showed the top-performing referrals, while 55.7% of the members joined without a referral. At this stage, the students could identify the weakness in the login flow, as the data lacked signing in from Gmail. They also presented recommendations, which included the following cases:
- To follow up on the customer lifetime: the average active period for members was only three months.
- Revise the Welcome checklist, as only 1% of users have completed it.
- Establish a referral program, as existing members have referred 39 new ones.
The second part of the analysis circled Crunchbase data on the startups that received investments. This step aimed to help the startups working in the network find the beneficial traits they already have and what gaps they need to fill to receive an investment. The analysis also had to show which type of investors would better fit them.
For that, two databases were analyzed, which contained 110 and 76 records. The fields included the Organization Name, Organization Crunchbase URL, Industries, Headquarters Location, Description, Company's Rank, Hub Tags, Number of Founders, and other information. Practicum students prepared the data, analyzed it, visualized the findings, and created a Tableau dashboard with their conclusions.
The results included a Correlation Matrix, a list of the top five industries and companies investing in startups, and other vital insights.
The students were able to come up with valuable conclusions, like the probability of the top investors contributing to a startup and the correlation between the Crunchbase rank and the investment. For instance, the Practicum team concluded that even those startups with a low Crunchbase rank could receive an investment. Still, the higher rank increases the probability of investing from a bigger capital.
For the second part, students were asked to consider multiple factors that influenced the Crunchbase startup ranks. They had to define what impacts the likelihood of startups receiving investments, which was a challenging task requiring accurate research and professional examination.
Despite the strong belief that the Crunchbase rank is an important indicator for investors to decide whether to invest in companies, the Practicum team found another insight. Their analysis showed no correlation between the factors influencing the Crunchbase rank and the fact of receiving an investment, so the team had to present that finding to the client.
The students had a chance to work with actual company data to develop and present valuable insights. This experience has enriched their portfolio and has helped them in their data analytics career. It also gave them the opportunity to master a lot of useful tools.
For the client, working with the Practicum team gave them a chance to examine the valuable data, something they weren’t able to do with the available resources.
“I really liked all the reports [the students had] put together,” admits Jason Kraus, Prepare4VC founder and CEO. “I know many of them worked in groups, meeting each other for the first time. So yes, everybody did a great job for us.”
Practicum students’ reports also helped Prepare4VC to extract valuable business insights that they were eager to share with their clients.
“We will do a newsletter and maybe blog about the findings by Practicum. Some people assume that when Sequoia, Y Combinator, and other investors are making investments, you have to fit in a certain category, but [with Practicum’s analysis], it doesn’t seem like that. So yeah, we’ll create some content around that,” he adds.
“What I enjoyed most about this project is working in a team to clean, organize, and visualize the data in a coherent and helpful way,” shared A.C. Slamet. “I had a great time working with others.”
“I especially enjoyed working in a team and collaborating on the coding parts of the project and reviewing the work using Google Colab. Presenting the information we derived was made easy and seamless using Tableau,” said T. Gladys Nga. “What I gained most from the project was experience and interest in Tableau while working with like-minded individuals. I also enjoyed using multiple charts like the maps we created for the analysis.”
“If you are looking to [level up] and switch your current role, check out Practicum — it allows you to work with companies and add projects to your portfolio,” recommends Sindhu Sirigireddy.
Enrolling in a Practicum bootcamp means getting a top-notch tech education and becoming fully equipped to land a rewarding job after graduation. An externship is one way to obtain valuable, real-life experience that shows recruiters you’re the real deal.