Playground Global is a venture capital firm located in Palo Alto that invests in early stage, deep tech companies with the potential to create a lasting impact on our world and community. These companies are doing big things – they are innovating 3D printing techniques to build rockets, leveraging robotics and AI to improve farming operations, delivering a clinically-proven treatment to reverse Type 2 diabetes, and more. Playground Global provides a unique set of resources and personnel to help these growing organizations achieve their goals, including a state-of-the-art facility and machine shop, dedicated lab space, and access to a team of proven leaders, recruiters, researchers, designers, and engineers.
The software team at Playground Global helps companies tackle challenges at every level of the technical stack – from hardware and firmware to cloud infrastructure, machine learning, and user interfaces. They work to shed light on potential unknowns and help teams develop strategies to address them. They build and design prototypes, research new tools, optimize models, analyze and visualize data, and while doing so are constantly learning new things. They delight in both contributing to the big picture and tinkering with small ideas, especially those that involve robots, miniature jet engines, and science experiments.
This summer, we are seeking an intern to work within the software team on one of several potential projects. Past interns at Playground Global have worked as an independent team to collaboratively tackle a proof-of-concept robotics task. During this internship, you will work closely with one or more members of the software team to identify and scope a project directly related to your interests and the needs of one of the portfolio companies. You will meet with a mentor at regular intervals and share a final presentation of your work with the broader company. Due to the variety of applicable skills, we are interested in applicants who are looking to build experience with software development and/or user interface design and encourage candidates from a variety of backgrounds to apply. In your application, we’d love to hear about what you’ve built in the past, what skills you want to learn or practice, and what excites you about the companies in the portfolio.
To learn more about the companies in Playground Global’s portfolio, please visit our website, https://playground.global/portfolio.
Q: What can I expect from interning with the Playground team?
A: Due to the open-ended nature of this internship opportunity, the experience will be unique to the selected candidate(s). Based on prior skills and experience, they will work closely with one or more members of the software team to identify and scope their project, and will meet with a mentor at regular intervals to discuss progress and troubleshoot issues. The work may or may not include collaboration with an external stakeholder at one of the portfolio companies. The internship will conclude with a final presentation.
A previous intern described her experience as follows: “My internship was amazing! I dove deep into a project I was excited about yet completely unfamiliar with, but had fun tackling it with guidance from the software team. In addition to developing technical skills from my project, I got to learn about and discuss interesting technical problems that others on the team were working on and also learn about the world of VC. My favorite part was that I was constantly surrounded by and meeting people I was inspired by :)”
Q: What are some sample intern projects?
A: In previous years we have hosted a small team of interns to collaboratively tackle a proof-of-concept robotics task, such as coffee delivery, autonomous navigation of the parking lot, and scrambling eggs. This year we are hosting an intern within the software team to work on a project directly related to one of our portfolio companies. Some potential projects include designing user interfaces for automation tasks, developing an AR application, working with a bipedal robot simulator, integrating 3rd party automation hardware, working with docker containers in a robotics system, among several others.
Q: What is the duration of this internship?
A: The internship will begin anytime during the summer of 2021 and last 3-6 months.
Q: Is this a remote internship position?
A: Although we’d love to have you work in-person with us at our office in Palo Alto, CA, it will depend on the COVID-19 situation when you join. We will be able to accommodate a remote work situation if necessary.
Q: I’m a high school student – may I apply for an internship?
A: As much as we’d love to host a high school student, we will only be able to host university students pursuing their bachelor’s, master’s, or doctorate degree for this coming summer.
Q: How big is the intern program at Playground Global?
A: There will be 1-2 interns working within the software team in addition to a few others within the venture team. Interns will largely work within their host team, but will meet (virtually) as a group for a few intern events to socialize, meet with our leadership team, and learn more about Playground Global.
If interested, please apply here.