During his senior year at Georgetown, Galen Foote (COL ’14) began to feel like he wanted to do something different than the consulting and finance jobs he saw his friends accepting.
“I felt like I wanted to do something that was more creative and that would open up a lot of opportunities that I might not encounter otherwise,” said Foote, who studied Government and English. “I thought working at a startup would be a great balance of a business experience and also getting to be creative.”
Foote decided to apply to Venture for America, a program that teaches graduating college seniors the basics of entrepreneurship and places them in jobs at startups around the country.
“We [Venture for America Fellows] do a five week training program at Brown, that cover[s] everything you might encounter in a startup: a lot of team activities, coding and finance, among many topics,” Foote said. After completing his training, Foote had opportunities to meet and network with representatives from a wide range of startup companies, and eventually chose to work at LeadiD.
“I really liked the culture and the kind of mission that LeadiD had,” Foote said. The company helps online advertisers verify that the consumer information they purchase from third parties is accurate.
“Our technology records the lead event, and that way when a buyer buys it can audit the leads,” Foote said. “It makes it a lot easier for companies.” In fact, Foote and the company’s website have both compared the service to “Carfax,” the service that can help a consumer verify the history of a used car. While LeadiD itself does not record the personal information of consumers, it makes a record of the information being entered to verify its authenticity. It can even provide a visual playback of the information being entered as keystrokes, if a buyer requests that service.
“That sounds pretty simple, but in the big picture it can tell you a lot. If that form was filled out in one second, it was probably by a robot. It’s a kind of record that wasn’t really provided until we got there,” Foote said. “Historically it’s been kind of a messed up industry. Companies buy ten thousand leads and a large portion turn out to be recycled, old, or a variety of other attributes that make them unlikely to convert to sales. There’s a huge lack of transparency.”
Foote says he’s greatly enjoyed the experience of working for LeadiD and being a VFA fellow. “It’s rewarding to have an impact on a business, which is something that’s easier done in a small business or a startup,” he said.
“I haven’t done the same thing twice very often,” Foote said. “It’s been fun. I’ll probably start to specialize more as I go on.”
Even while he is working at LeadiD, Foote said that VFA continues to act as a support network and provide networking opportunities. Three of his fellow employees at LeadiD are also VFA Fellows, an unusually high number for one company.
“I don’t really think of myself as ‘an entrepreneur’ right now. I think of myself as part of an entrepreneurial business and mission,” Foote said. “VFA is a truly amazing organization. I’m happy that I’m doing it even if I end up not be an entrepreneur, say, being a lawyer.”