UT startup helps students find work experience

Paul Iskra

Condecca, a new UT student startup, matches undergraduates seeking work experience or internship opportunities with potential employers in a similar way to how dating apps match up potential couples. 

The startup is seeking to release its mobile app onto Apple and Android markets by January. Condecca could benefit both students and startups; college undergraduates looking to find job experience would be matched with local Austin companies looking for ambitious recruits. Students are reviewed on their quality of work, and they can use these reviews to find more prestigious jobs in the future, Condecca co-founder Hakan Telsiz said.

“What makes [Condecca] different is the employment process efficiency [and] the fact that students are willing to work for less money in exchange for experience,” Telsiz said. “We’re facilitating the process and communication of hiring.”

Don Dao, a business honors and finance sophomore who helped develop Condecca’s business model, said that Condecca’s user interface was designed to be easily accessible by students.

“We’re really giving [students] these short-term internships and short-term projects geared towards college students to bridge the gap,” Dao said. “It’s kind of a niche market within the job-creating agencies, but it’s something that we ourselves have experienced, and a lot of other students have experienced it as well.”

The website and mobile apps have gone through several versions to strike a balance between undergraduate user experience and professional feel, said Evan Kaminsky, a computer science sophomore who co-founded Condecca and developed the iOS mobile app.  To use the app, Kaminsky said students will swipe to the left when searching for job opportunities in the same way they would look for matches on Tinder. If the student finds a job they would like to apply for, they press a button that automatically submits their resume.  

“For most of the employers we see using it, it’s really just that you’ve got your resume, you see the job, and if you’re a good fit, you just go for it,” Kaminsky said. “The website has the exact same functionality.” 

Employers are found through various networks around Austin, the most prominent being the McCombs alumni network, according to Meredith Hughes, a business honors sophomore and fellow Condecca contributor.

“There are a lot of BHP [Business Honors Programs] and McCombs alumni that have started their own companies here in the Austin area,” Hughes said. “It’s honestly a really great resource.”

In addition to searching for startup employers willing to hire, Condecca also tries to attract undergraduates looking for jobs. The app and website entice undergraduate students by displaying other users’ experiences with employers. 

“I think the best way to attract students is to be able to show them, ‘Hey, here’s 50 kids who have actually had internships, and have had great experiences,’” Hughes said. 

While students tend to worry primarily about grades when engaged in the college experience, a common deficiency is an ample resume to supplement that student’s credibility, which makes the search for a job harder, according to Sean Geiger. 

“You’ve got lots of students with lots of academic experience, but not much professional experience,” said Geiger, a computer science sophomore who is also a co-founder and the chief technology officer of Condecca. “We’re thinking that Condecca will provide a way to hopefully close that experience gap.”

According to Hughes, Condecca’s goal is to help driven students find companies that are willing to provide valid opportunities.

“It’s gonna be purely targeted at meaningful work experience you can put on your resume and speak to,” Hughes said. “At the end of the day, that’s all that matters.”