Meet the Team – Paula Quintana
This is one in a series of blog posts where we highlight members of the global yet2 team. We recently spoke with Paula Quintana, a technology scout and innovation consultant in our Boston office.
You’re originally from Bogotá, Colombia. What brought you to Boston?
I grew up in Bogotá but attended middle school in Argentina. Based on that experience, I knew I wanted to attend college in a different country, in a city, and in one that had a lot of diversity. After applying to 10 colleges and universities throughout the U.S., I decided to attend Northeastern University, because it offered tremendous support for its foreign students. While I had never been to Boston before, I’m a risk-taker, so I was excited for the opportunity – even though I had heard Boston had bad winters. Despite Boston’s winters, I decided to stay here after graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Engineering, and a minor in Business Administration.
Northeastern is known for its co-op program, which provides students with full-time work opportunities related to our studies. During my time at Northeastern, I had the opportunity to be an Innovation Product Strategist at EY and a Project and Portfolio Management Intern at State Street. I also had the opportunity to get involved with Northeastern’s venture accelerator, IDEA. Those experiences whet my appetite to continue my career in the innovation economy.
After researching yet2, I realized they offered everything I wanted in one company. I love the ability to help connect entrepreneurs and startups connect with larger companies, while solving real needs for those larger companies. I wanted to be in a consultancy, rather than work with just one company. And I wanted to be part of a global team.
You have unique experience with startups. Can you tell us more about that?
I’m a Ready Stage Venture Coach with IDEA. IDEA is a student-led venture accelerator with a unique, three-step process. Ready, set, go. My role is in the Ready stage, which focuses on customer validation. Every other week I meet with four entrepreneurs to cover the main aspects of customer validation: understanding the scope of the problem, validating it with customers, designing a solution, and conducting initial competitive analysis.
My job is to work with our entrepreneurs through this stage, and, ideally, authorize them to go on to the Set stage, where they then build their business model. In the Go stage, they execute on business milestones in preparation for going to market.
Are there any trends you are seeing in the types of new businesses and ideas coming out of IDEA?
It’s really a microcosm of entrepreneurship in the U.S. We see a number of new social platforms. Right now food delivery platforms are very hot. There’s also a lot of innovation going on in the food space in general – all types of new products. Since we’re in Boston, there are also many biotech startups. Interestingly, there’s a growing number of platforms to streamline business operations and even their growth process.
What do you like to do outside of the office?
I’m a big foodie. Since I’ve lived in different places, I’ve had the opportunity to try many different kinds of foods and cuisines. It’s given me a chance to see how food can shape a culture. Boston’s got a great restaurant scene – I don’t think I’ll ever be bored here!