Real Estate Technology

This is from a series of posts by recipients of the 2018 Career Services Summer Funding Grant. We’ve asked funding recipients to reflect on their summer experiences and talk about the industries in which they’ve been spending their summer.

This entry is by Katrina Arman, WH ’20

This summer I had the opportunity to intern at a real estate technology startup called Steignet in Philadelphia. I was inspired to work there by the CEO, AJ Steigman, a man who possesses great passion, drive and belief in his business, and someone who thinks on his feet at all times. The startup describes itself as a ‘Bloomberg terminal’ for the residential real estate market, and in brief is an arbitrage program that uses machine learning to scan millions of housing units to identify real time mispricing’s in the single family residential real estate market. Steignet developed this program in order to make more effective investments in the real estate market to generate superior alpha for its investors. It plans to investment its own capital in projects using the program, as well as lease the program to private real estate firms.

When I first started the job, I was put onto the Business Development team whose main goal was to work on investment pitches, market research as well as outreach. There were about 20 interns and we each worked individually, but met with the CEO once every few days for a large group meeting.

Working so directly with the CEO of such an up and coming startup was what really stood out in this internship for me, as at larger firms you wouldn’t get to work so directly with senior management. Additionally, the amount of responsibility I was given was more than I could have asked for. The CEO made me responsible for all of the interns after a few weeks on the job, and so I had to effectively delegate tasks to the teams, track their progress and be the point of contact if they had any issues.  The learning curve was extremely steep and every time I met the CEO he would have a new task for me that expanded on the previous one, with an added amount of importance and responsibility. His insight was also very valuable to me and triggered an interest in technology and real estate I didn’t know I had.

I truly felt, within the first few weeks, that I was an integral member of the company, and every one of my actions was making a difference.

About a month in to the internship, the CEO had to leave for a business trip abroad and the team had to keep on running operations whilst he was gone. I was at the forefront of this as the intern manager, and so I laid out expectations and delegated tasks in terms of importance, created deadlines and timelines and worked productively. I had the biggest responsibility, and ended up speaking to various company directors and negotiated an important deal for the firm. The fact that the CEO trusted me so much as to leave the negotiation of this deal in my hands was very exciting and I worked very hard to do it well.

In general, the progress that our intern team had made over the course of the summer was extraordinary and the sense of teamwork in the firm was also something special that I haven’t seen anywhere else.

Overall, this internship showed me the inner workings of a startup that will help me understand how much blood, sweat and tears really goes into building a successful company from the ground up, and gave me valuable communication, negotiation, management (both team and time management) skills, as well as leadership experience that I can carry through to any endeavor I pursue next.

By Barbara Hewitt
Barbara Hewitt Executive Director Barbara Hewitt