Interning at TellApart

My Summer this year was unique in many ways. It was the first time I ever see the Pacific, the North American West Coast, California, and the San Francisco Bay Area. It was also the coldest Summer I ever experienced, having to wear a sweater on most nights. Apparently, this is the "normal" San Francisco Summer. More importantly though, was my Summer internship at TellApart.

TellApart is the fourth company I join for an internship and, over the course of sixteen weeks, my internship at TellApart grew to become the most rewarding and memorable internship I have experienced so far.

One of my main goals in joining TellApart was to experience the startup culture in Silicon Valley. TellApart has a very open and transparent culture; every member of the team knows about everything that goes on in the company. The team, aside from being super-talented, is always willing to listen to ideas, comments and suggestions (even from the intern!) A big portion of my internship was spent working on ideas that I proposed myself, and I started working on them within a week of proposing them!

Being a small company, it was very insightful to see the company evolve over a period of 16 weeks. To highlight just a few of the events that happened during my time there:

  • TellApart closed its series B funding round of $13 million. In the process, and in occasions thereafter, I had the chance to meet and get to know top tier venture capitalists.
  • Amazon Web Services blogged about TellApart's technology and how it leverages Amazon's infrastructure. A picture of the entire team (including me in my boxing gloves) was included!
  • TellApart was selected in VentureWire's FASTech 50 most innovative startups for "paving a unique path technologically".
  • TellApart hosted a "TellAparty", where it invited techies from Silicon Valley over to the office to get to know more about the company. John Lilly, the former CEO of Mozilla, was also invited to come and speak about his experiences.

Company culture aside, TellApart works on really interesting technical challenges in machine learning, data analytics, and in scalability. Because we were such a small team, everyone got a big slice of the pie when it came to dealing with all these technicalities. As an intern, my work was no less relevant than anyone else's work and I had a major impact on the company's performance and revenue. Some of the technical challenges we faced include:

  • Responding to thousands of bid requests per second while keeping the response time for each request under 120ms.
  • Predicting how likely users are to make purchases given the data that we have about them.
  • Serving ads customized for each of TellApart's millions of users.
  • Running experiments against millions of users to measure the performance of certain features.
Looking back, I can't thank the TellApart team enough for their mentorship and support. I went to TellApart for the startup experience, and they certainly delivered the full-blown version of it.

2 thoughts on “Interning at TellApart”

    1. Likewise! It was awesome working with you over the Summer and certainly hope we get the chance to work with each other again 🙂

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