BFS's Jake Robbins connects his interests through the startup Gatherly


Jake Robbins (COL ‘22/23) has been connecting his seemingly unconnected interests since completing the Integrated Studies Program (ISP) freshman year. He credits the program for not only guiding him towards a major in international relations but providing him with the inter-disciplinary perspective that he brings to his work with the startup Gatherly.  

The video conferencing platform simulates in-person events by enabling attendees to move around the virtual space and interact with each other. It was founded by Chris Cherian (WHAR ’21), who Jake met in the Consult for America club at Penn. He had the sales experience from previous internships that the startup was looking for and was brought on as one of Gatherly’s first employees last summer. This year, Jake is taking a leave of absence from the College to work full-time on growing its sales.

In his role, Jake makes connections between what he learned in statistics and psychology classes to identify trends in the company's sales data and cater his selling to different audiences. He views the exposure to multiple functions of the business as an opportunity for growth, but the ambiguity of it has also proven a challenge at times. Still, Jake believes the experience is worthwhile. He would advise students who are interested in launching or working for a startup to “think about a problem that you know others are struggling with and that you're passionate about and then make solving that problem the crux of your product.” And, of course, try out Gatherly