Learn how to hustle (and avoid fetching coffee) as a virtual intern at a startup
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A poor employee stuffed with paper work being supervised / Photo Credit: Shutterstock

The remote working trend has seen huge momentum over the past few years

Tech in Asia

Internships at reputable corporations are always highly sought after, but what if you could intern at a startup from the comfort of your own home? If it sounds too good to be true, that’s because it is – until now, that is.

The founder of startup-focused product company Founders Grid, Chris Osbourne, has launched a platform called Remote Internships that offers one- to three-month-long internships at startups from around the world.

The benefits of this platform are twofold. On one hand, as remote working becomes more mainstream by the day, being able to work with a distributed team gives applicants a considerable advantage when applying to a remote startup or starting their own in the future.

On the other, startups will no longer be restricted by geography when looking for promising talent to hire. “It’s actually crazy to do so with so many startups competing for talent,” says Osbourne, who himself oversees a fully distributed team at Founders Grid.

While there are prominent startups – such as Automattic, 37Signals, and Buffer – who are actively looking out for remote workers, Osbourne says that he wants to “fill the gap at the other end [by] helping startups and interns connect with each other.”

He believes strongly in the value of internship programs, especially for budding entrepreneurs: “If you haven’t got an idea, go and work with someone smart running a startup, and learn as many skills as you can. The skills you will learn will stay with you forever, and you’ll be able to use these later on in life with your own startup.”

Not surprisingly, Osbourne is also a strong proponent of telecommuting. His observation from running Founders Grid is that those who do work remotely are often happier and more productive working where and when they want.

“The remote working trend has seen huge momentum over the past few years, and the trend is picking up full-steam and will only continue to grow,” he says. “We now have the tools to collaborate in a way that is non-intrusive […] No commutes. No colleagues coming over to their desk every 10 minutes for a chit-chat. Lots more family/personal time.”

Remote internships far outweigh the losses, Osbourne believes

Remote work does hold great appeal. Of course, not being situated in an office and meeting your mentor face-to-face during the term of an internship might mean losing out on certain in-office-only experiences, such as serendipitous meetings and being able to communicate closely with colleagues and superiors.

However, Osbourne believes that the upside of a virtual internship far outweighs these losses.

“If they [the interns] are based in a startup hub, it’s easy – they have the choice. On the other end, there are millions of talented professionals who live hundreds of miles away from a startup hub,” he points out, and uses some hypothetical scenarios to illustrate this: “Who knows, there may be a mathematical genius in India with family ties who wants to put his skills to good use at a startup specializing in algorithms. Maybe there’s a world-class typography designer who also happens to be a single mum, and can’t work the standard 9-5 most startups require.”

Interestingly, Remote Internships itself will be run by a group of interns that Osbourne will be hiring (on Remote Internships, no less) specifically for the task – in content marketing, product development, and sales – and he believes it will exemplify the many benefits that virtual internships potentially have to offer.

Remote Internships will start off as a biweekly newsletter that will list available internships. According to Osbourne, the first newsletter will feature “no fewer than seven paid internships.” The next step from here: to build a backend system that will help startups organize the applicants who respond.

This post was originally published on Tech in Asia.

Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock.

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Daniel Tay

About Daniel Tay

Daniel is a writer based in the sunny island of Singapore. He mainly covers the tech scene in Singapore for Tech in Asia, but his byline can be found in a variety of publications and blogs, including Social Media Today, Business2Community, Canva and Unbounce. He is madly passionate about entrepreneurship, marketing, and productivity.

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