2017 SVP Startup Profile: Project 99
Yulkendy Valdez ’17: Co-founder and Managing Partner
Josuel Plasencia ’17: Co-founder and Managing Partner
What’s Project 99?
Project 99 is supporting leading organizations engage, retain, and advance their diverse millennial talent.
What’s the story behind your startup?
We decided to pursue Project 99, because we have experienced the problem we are trying to solve first-hand. In the summer of 2016, Yulkendy was heartbroken upon hearing news of the killing of Alton Sterling but did not feel comfortable discussing it at her internship. Josuel, raised by a single mother while his father was in jail, was forced to endure alienating discourses at the office particularly during the presidential campaign. Thus, both of us let go of full-time corporate job offers in consulting to enable millennials of color like us to learn how to navigate identity in work cultures where we are often underrepresented.
What’s been a big milestone/accomplishment you’ve made since Summer Venture Program started?
We have been engaging in conversations with many leading organizations that have big partnership potential and could provide many business development opportunities for us.
What’s been a big obstacle/surprise that you faced?
One big obstacle for our team is balancing time between managing relationships with potential clients and working on updating our model/program content. Building an effective sales pipeline has been taking longer than we thought.
Any tips for aspiring entrepreneurs that you want to share?
- Be intentional about what you are doing.
- Be omnipresent in the space that you want to be the expert in.
- Word spreads fast but you have to move quickly and take risks.
Meet Project 99 at the Summer Venture Showcase on Thursday July 27. Register now! >>