How to Build a Startup Over the Summer - Internships at Cogo Labs

Challenging Ourselves to Have the Best Summer Ever: The Cogolympics

This summer was an extremely busy and fun time at Cogo. We sang live band karaoke on a harbor cruise, held a talent show that featured an intern playing two recorders through their nose, had a full week of health and exercise during Wellness Week (followed quickly by an ice cream social), kayaked on the Charles, and mixed the perfect daiquiri at our tiki-themed women's night outing. We some actual work done, too.

But we can't let the summer pass without walking you through the glory and majesty that was our big, summer-long event: Cogolympics.

We had a lot of new faces join us at the beginning of the summer, in addition to 13 (!) interns. We developed Cogolympics as a way to get people away from their laptops, meeting and interacting with people on other teams, and having a weird and fun and high-energy end to each week over the summer.

Cogo Labs CEO Named to Boston Business Journal's 2017 40 Under 40

Cogo Labs' President and CEO Mira Wilczek was recognized as one of the Boston Business Journal's 40 Under 40 class of 2017.

Recent News from the Incubator and Beyond

We're still recovering from our annual Boston harbor cruise last week (pics forthcoming, rest assured) so in the meantime we thought we'd catch you up on some Cogo stuff that's been happening elsewhere around the web.

Photo via

Spring Hackathon Report

One day this past winter, I was talking with my manager about some ideas for side projects I'd come up with but hadn't been able to make time to actually work on. It's often like this in engineering-there are the ideas you hope to work on, and the ideas you need to work on. In the course of this conversation we realized it had been a few months since we'd held a hackathon, and with spring approaching we thought it would be a great opportunity to devote some time to working on fun side projects.

Cogo Labs Launches Official Open Source GitHub Repository

Cogo Labs is excited to announce the launch of our official GitHub repository.

"Open source has dramatically changed the way that engineering is done, particularly for startups," says Jay Artz, Cogo's SVP of Engineering. "In the past every company would have their own software that they would build and manage and maintain. For a large percentage of those use cases you're now able to assemble open source components that will work together, enabling you to accomplish your ultimate goal. Open source allows you to move from building the blocks to using the blocks to create the application you need."

Cogo Labs CEO Mira Wilczek Profiled In VentureFizz

Life At Cogo - Instagram Highlights

Every day at Cogo is filled with weird & wonderful surprises. In order to capture the daily randomness and give people outside the incubator a better sense of what life here is like, we take turns with the Cogo Instagram, giving it to different people each week, so they can capture whatever interesting things happen to catch their eye as they do...whatever else it is they do here. You wouldn't get a strong sense of it from looking at our Insta, but actual work does get done here, we promise.

Here are a few recent Life @ Cogo updates that you're missing if haven't been following along on our Instagram.

Incubating at Cogo: Launching Your Product

Contrast, the business my team and I are incubating at Cogo, recently launched our first substantial product: SmartSavings. SmartSavings helps people new to budgeting set a weekly budget and stick to it by connecting their accounts and providing insights into their saving and spending activity throughout the week. Our user acquisition metrics are promising, we’re cash-flow positive, and we have lots of great ideas to make it even better. This is the story of how we got here, and what it takes to launch a product the Cogo way.

Mira Wilczek Named President & CEO of Cogo Labs

We are excited to announce that Mira Wilczek has been named the new President & CEO of Cogo Labs. Dave Blundin, Cogo's previous CEO, will stay on as Chairman of the Board of Directors. Wilczek will also continue her role as Senior Partner at Cogo's parent company, Link Ventures.

"Mira embodies all the traits that we seek at Cogo - smart, technical, enthusiastic, practical, organized," Dave said in his announcement to the company. "Most importantly, our ever-expanding ecosphere of constituents--our dozen CEOs and aspiring CEOs, our co-investors, our senior mangers, our friends outside the building--all trust her and believe in her. This makes Mira the perfect embodiment of our Cogo values and our ideal leader."

How Cogo Labs Supports Women In Tech

Once a month, Cogo hosts a “Women’s Dinner” in order to foster an environment where all its female employees can come together to connect about work, tech, and just life in general. We’ve had many delicious dinners at popular Cambridge restaurants – along with other activities such as kayaking on the Charles River, creating floral arrangements with the founder of woman-owned business Alice’s Table, an in-office Paint Nite, and volunteering for Rosie’s Place.

Reviewing the Data: A Year In #CogoLife

The past year was a busy one for the crew at Cogo. In the last twelve months we welcomed 13 interns and 21 new full-time hires. Amongst our newer Cogonauts we have:

  • someone who's been bitten by a lion;
  • someone who lived in a monastery; and
  • someone who received a piggyback ride from Taylor Swift.

Know the Business: Entrepreneurial Engineering Culture at Cogo Labs

Engineering at Cogo Labs is different. Our Engineers are directly involved in business decisions—working with product owners to identify, analyze and solve technical challenges that have a direct impact on the bottom line of the projects in our incubator. In this interview, our CTO Jonathan Shapiro explains our tech and describes the the entrepreneurial skills of our Engineering team.

Cogo's First Internal Hackathon

Hackathons are a great way to foster collaboration among your teammates and give people the chance to learn something new. Recently, my team at Minerva Analytics—an early stage vertical at Cogo—decided to hold a hackathon to achieve just that.

There’s a wide range of coding ability on our team. Some of us studied Computer Science in school, some picked up coding skills on their own, and some started learning as part of their on-boarding process when they arrived at Cogo. One of our team’s core values is to try to learn something new every day, so we wanted learning to be the primary focus for this event.

CareDash, a Health & Wellness Startup from the Cogo Labs Incubator, Profiled By VentureFizz

With an impactful mission, an exceptionally capable team, and powerful leadership, CareDash continues to blaze a trail within the health & wellness world.

5 Things To Do Before You Attend A Career Fair

It’s that time of year again…school is back in session. The oppressive heat of summer has been replaced with…the oppressive heat of fall.  #PSL is in the air, the lattes, and literally everything else you can possibly ingest. That means it’s time for FALL CAREER FAIR SEASON! We thought we’d share a few simple things you can do to prepare and make the most of your experience when we visit you on campus this fall.

What Our Interns Did On Their Summer Vacation

With September fast approaching, the interns have recently completed their time here at Cogo. They've finished up their projects and said their goodbyes. We've cleaned out their desks, but we're still mopping up our tears. 😭

As we explained previously, our summer internship program is a unique experience - we organize our interns into two self-managing teams and engage them in a friendly competition to build an online business over the summer.

Now that they're transitioning out of our orbits (we hope only temporarily!) we thought we'd conclude this summer chapter by having them tell you in their own words what their summer at Cogo was really like. 

How To Improve Culture By "Assassinating" Coworkers

Games are a huge part of life at Cogo. Wander around the office any afternoon and you’ll likely find people playing Codenames, Karma, Hacky Four Square, Set, or even One Night Ultimate Werewolf.

Beyond Benefits & Perks: Cogo’s Creative Culture

Kelly McDonald, Cogo's HR Manager, recently sat down with Aspire to discuss how Cogo’s culture became what it is today and how other companies can start building a collaborative culture of their own. Their conversation originally appeared on Aspire's blog

Summer Internships at Cogo Labs

Cogo Labs Community & Office Tour

In the same way that we sit through spring in New England dreaming of summer (perhaps to validate why we trekked so hard to make it through the winter...), those of us at Cogo Labs have been long awaiting more than just the sunshine and warm weather. Things have finally come into full bloom in our orbit and we want to share the buzz with the rest of the world. We recently completed an expansion of our offices, doubling our footprint in One Kendall Square. Now that it’s finally nice out, we thought we should open the blinds, let the sunlight in, and show you how it looks!

Data Analysis Tools at Cogo Labs

When creating the next web businesses at Cogo Labs, Analysts are often the project pioneers. When we have new ideas we want to explore, we need to get a working version up as quickly as possible so that it can be evaluated more effectively.

How to Write Better CSS for Teams

In the Cogo Labs incubator, there are always a number of different startup companies (and ideas for startup companies) at various stages of development. Almost all of those projects require a web presence of some sort. It might be a small, one-page site, or it might be a complex, JavaScript-driven web app. Either way, we use CSS a lot, and it’s vital to our fast-paced workflow that our CSS be as lean and efficient as possible, so that everyone on the team can understand at a glance what each line of code does.

EverQuote Launches EverDrive with a Safe Driving Contest

We’re happy to congratulate our friends at EverQuote on the successful launch of EverDrive™, a free safe driving app.

Incubating at Cogo: Finding the Right Fit

One question we hear a lot in interviews is “Where do the ideas for new businesses come from?” And the easy and short answer is “From our employees.” The reality is a little more complicated than that, of course. Starting a business, at Cogo or anywhere else, is a lot of hard work, and we don’t always get things right on the first try. 

Cogo Engineering Using Presto

EverQuote Named to Inc. 5000 List of Fastest-Growing Private Companies for Second Year in a Row

HUGE congrats to our friends at EverQuote - for the 2nd year in a row they've been named to the Inc. 5000 list of Fastest-Growing Private Companies. They are awesome and we are super proud of them and incredibly excited about their trajectory. 

Introducing Tenizen!

What Life Is Like At Cogo Labs

Like a lot of people who visit our website, you're probably thinking: "Wow this is all great information, but what if I want to know more about Cogo Labs?"

Welcome To The New!

Hello Internet, welcome to the new!

Mira Wilczek, Cogo Labs’ Entrepreneur In Residence

AdHarmonics Ranks No. 70 on 2014 Inc. 500/5000 with 4,669% Growth

AdHarmonics, a quantitative internet marketing firm based in Cambridge, and part of the Cogo Labs family of companies, is ranked 70th on the 2014 Inc. 5000 list.

AdHarmonics Growth Prompts Move To New Office Space

AdHarmonics, the Cambridge-based quantitative internet marketing firm and one of the fastest growing startups in Boston's history, is moving its headquarters from the Cogo Labs incubator space at One Kendall Square to a new facility at 210 Broadway in Cambridge. The move is prompted by the company's unprecedented growth and anticipated future expansion. 

Cogo Labs' Formula for Startup Success