Announcing Soma Capital’s Summer 2020 Fellows

Session with Soma Capital founder and managing partner, Aneel Ranadive

In June, we launched our inaugural cohort of Startup Shadows through Soma Capital’s Startup Shadowing program. We shared more on the program structure, why we launched, and how we selected the cohort members.

Today, we are incredibly excited and proud to announce our Summer 2020 Startup Shadows. Our fellows have founded global nonprofits, started venture backed companies, launched international communities, performed cutting edge research, created products used by thousands of people worldwide, and much, much more.

We are delighted to have them be a part of our debut cohort as they shadow our early stage companies, build their own startups, and support aspiring founders in their local communities.

Beyond the internship with our early stage portfolio companies, we have a great curriculum for our Startup Shadows this summer.


We are hosting virtual meet and greets internally and with other fellowship programs, including Alix Ventures, Kapor Capital, Remus Capital, Harvard Builders Incubation Program, GSV, and Rough Draft Ventures.

Fireside Chats

We are hosting interactive fireside chats with investors across stages, sectors, and geographies; early stage and late stage founders in Soma Capital’s portfolio (including the founder of Forager, Gecko Robotics, and Ironclad); and operators at large companies and rapidly growing startups (including Superhuman’s lead designer, Glossier’s former chief of staff, and Fingerprint for Success’s head of Asia).

Office Hours

We are hosting office hours with all members of the Soma Capital team, Harvard researchers on diversity in venture capital and startups, a Forbes writer, a former Economist writer, and the woman who named PayPal.

Interested in staying up to date on our future cohorts? Fill out the quick form here, and we will be in touch!

Partner Companies

Our participating portfolio companies share more on working with us on this journey and working with our Startup Shadows:

“We’re so grateful to Soma Capital for curating such an all-star group of young talent; having their pre-vetted list of fellows streamlined and expedited our usual search for summer interns and gave us an amazing database of super-smart aspiring founders that we wouldn’t have found on our own. We’re excited to work with our first remote Soma Capital fellow this summer who is helping us organize and implement a new diversity and mentorship program as part of the Allies Creating Equity initiative we launched within the Y Combinator startup community.”

  • David Hua, CEO & co-founder of Meadow

“We’re super excited to hire two outstanding Fellows for much-needed help on growth experiments and campaigns. Thank you to Jessica and her team for sourcing, interviewing, and connecting us with such a high level of talent — this is definitely one of the most valuable things an investor has ever helped us with!”

  • James Li, CEO & co-founder of Mighty Health

“The caliber of students in the Soma fellowship is unparalleled. We’ve looked at a lot of programs with university students, but have yet to find another with such engagement, dedication, and excitement. We’re quite excited to be working with two fellows this summer!”

  • Yasyf Mohamedali, CEO & co-founder of Sym

We are delighted to share more about our incredible Startup Shadows Summer 2020!


Jenny Huang

Hi! My name is Jenny, and I recently graduated from Harvard University with an S.M. in Applied Math / A.B. in Computer Science. While most of my background has been in machine learning engineering (Pricing Modeling at Airbnb, Geo Data Infrastructure at Google), I will start as an Associate Product Manager at Google this Fall. Through this fellowship and in my future career, I hope to learn as much as I can about making products that people love. I grew up in Leawood, Kansas, and in my free time, I love to make visual art, play poker, and weight lift!

Josh Ip

I am the ex-founder/CTO of Kiki Air, Junior CS @ Yale. I give tours at art galleries, teach, play water polo, and finished an Ironman (training for another one soon hmu if you want to join). Fun fact: my left foot is like one size bigger than my right one which makes it really hard to buy running/cycling shoes.

Surya Dantuluri

I recently graduated HS and am an engineer working on scalable infra at a stealth startup, previously working with self-driving cars and ML research. I love working in tight-knit, highly functional teams that building something people want. Outside tech/VC, I love running/strolling, drinking boba, and writing about technical/interesting things I’ve learned while building and experiencing things. Fun fact: I didn’t like my HS robotics team, so I single-handedly beat Georgia Tech at an international self-driving car competition I entered on my own.

Mai Tran

I am a 2x entrepreneur with experience in both SE Asia and the US. I started the first fast-fashion brand that quickly became the “Zara of Vietnam”. My company after that is an artisanal home goods brand that now sells to IKEA, Container Stores and 25+ countries. After successfully exiting both and moving to NYC in 2016, I launched a consulting company that helps startups expand to new markets. I will be teaching an Entrepreneurship class at St. Francis College this Fall ’20 and joining Proven Skincare as their Chief of Staff. Bring on 2000s R&B Hip hop if you want to get me to dance.

Vishnu Srinivasan

Hey I’m Vishnu!! I’m from the Bay Area and I now go to School at UIUC where I study Computer Science. I’m pretty interested in Software Engineering — specifically edtech, legal tech and anything that has to do with systems. A fun fact is that I almost, by accident, agreed to buy a military tank in Saint Petersburg once.

Kelvin Liu

I’m a recent CS and math graduate from Rutgers University heading to the bay area to work at Confluent. Right now I’m working on small projects and on the watch for an intriguing idea to grow into something big. In my spare time I like learning new (not coding) languages — Mandarin, Spanish, Hindi, and soon maybe Korean!

Richy Chen

I am a Kiwi living in California and just graduated Claremont McKenna College with a degree in computer science and economics. I love to explore new countries and cultures — in the last few summers, I have been lucky enough to visit and make friends in Mongolia, Portugal, Hong Kong, Korea, and India. Some things I am interested in are fintech, architecture, metaphysics, and food (who isn’t interested in food?). Fun fact: my friends and I got stranded in middle of nowhere north-ish Mongolia and had to walk back and forth between our broken-down van and the nearest town.

Kaya Dorogi

I am an incoming freshman at Columbia University, majoring in Computer Science and minoring in Classics. I have always loved the intersection of STEM and Classics — it has given me the ability to think critically quantitatively and qualitatively. My previous roles include being an early employee at Battlecard (YC W20), a startup innovating sales playbooks, branding at Romulus Capital, a VC fund in Boston with ~$250M AUM, founder at Lighthouse Jewels, jewelry inspired by New England summers, and creator of the Women in Academia Project. A fun fact about me is that I am on the Columbia Alpine Ski Team!

Brandon Pourmorady

I am a passionate entrepreneur who has joined Soma to connect with like minded individuals who are looking to start a business. In the past, I have worked at Quid, selling equity backed loans to shareholders at large companies. I was also was the cofounder of Chaser, an event management app for college and nightclub parties.

Amelia Thomas

I am currently getting my masters in Integrated Design, Business and Technology at USC’s Iovine & Young Academy. My biggest passion lies in the social impact space and building purpose driven companies. I founded a clothing company called Resident which gives back to non-profits who are fighting to end homelessness in Los Angeles. I love getting involved in any ventures using human centered design to make a difference in the world. A fun fact about me is that I like to do DIY home improvement projects.

Lovdeep Singh

My story encompasses innovation, sustainability, and creativity. I took my first step into entrepreneurship when I sold the IP of a self-publishing platform, at the age of 17. Since then, I have been awarded the Schulich Leadership scholarship for my innovations in sustainability and robotics. My professional experience includes startups in Shenzhen, Tokyo, and San Francisco, leading technology in self-driving cars and realtime data. I consult for hardware startups and Fortune 500 companies on their innovation strategies. I love food as my parents are both chefs and I intentionally gained over 25 lbs over the last year.

Brian Khorshad

People and passion, these are the things I search for in everything I do. I started my career in biz ops at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory to support man’s exploration of space. On the side, I built my own healthcare business, growing the revenue to half a million dollars over the course of a year. I got an MBA from Chicago Booth and a bachelor’s degree from UCLA. I am heading to Bain and Company in the Fall of 2020 as a Consultant. I am an avid auto enthusiast, and have off-roaded in a Range Rover and cruised the PCH with an Aston Martin.

Justin Quan

I got my start with engineering 6 years ago by sorting through dumpsters and e-waste for parts to build projects with. Since then, I’ve moved on from dumpsters and am now creating products with environmental and social impact as a student at UC Berkeley studying Electrical Engineering & Computer Science and Business Administration. I’m passionate about the intersection between marketing and engineering as they relate to entrepreneurship from both sides of the pitch deck. A fun fact is that I also love filmmaking and movies, so I’m taking a Film Aesthetics class this summer for fun!

Peter Pao-Huang

Hello! I’m currently studying computer science @ UIUC and looking to start the next big thing. I previously founded, an AI startup that automates the machine learning process, and Link, a location-based social media app that prompts users to join ongoing events with their friends. My most recent work is an iOS application that’s centered around augmented reality and deep learning. Quick fun fact about myself: I’ve run 30 miles each and every week for the past year.

Daniel McDade

I am currently an MBA student with 8+ years of experience at technology firms including Accenture, PayPal, and software analytics startup, InsightSquared. At these firms, I served in a variety of roles including consulting, data science, and product management. My entrepreneurial interests lie in utilizing analytics and machine learning to increase productivity and improve people’s lives. I am currently co-founder of Hackademic, an on-demand data science platform. During my free time, I enjoy kayaking, hiking, and being an amateur comedian. Feel free to reach out if you want to talk about startups, entrepreneurship or just to have a laugh.

Jack McClelland

Hey — my name’s Jack and I’m a Boston College student studying Computer Science and Finance. I feel lucky to have worked at startups, VC firms, an investment bank, and a public company. This summer I’m interning at Accel Partners, helping with product at ed-tech startup Cariina, and working on projects for Amity Ventures, Contrary Capital, and (marketing startup). I love all things outdoors (camping, skiing, scuba) and music (festivals, DJ’ing, producing). As a Bay Area native you’ll find me rooting for our local teams as well as Formula 1, Nascar, and UFC! Shoot me an email at

Sowmya Patapati

I am a rising junior at Stanford University studying mathematics and computer science. I am passionate about mission driven computing and diversity/inclusion in the tech industry. Previously I have worked in engineering at Microsoft Research, Bloomberg and the U.S. State Department. My hobbies include rewatching Bollywood movies, curating r&b playlists and baking.

Iyala Alai

I’m a rising junior from Yale majoring in Global Affairs. Although I’m originally from Kenya, I’ve moved around a lot and have lived in the UK, the Netherlands, Egypt and the US to date. I have organised and led mentorship programs for early-stage startups in my hometown of Nairobi, and am currently president of Yale Launch, an incubator on campus. I am also working on a early-stage social venture aimed at digitising the tracking of attendance and grades in overpopulated & underfunded schools in Kenya.

Max Alway-Townsend

I work on Growth at and run an AngelList syndicate investing in early stage startups. I am studying business and economics at George Washington University. Previously, I founded my own HR tech startup and lived in Ho Chi Minh City!

Dheera Vuppala

Hey! I’m a rising junior at the University of Michigan studying Computer Science and Cognitive Science! I’m currently building a community for students taking a gap year (@hiatuswork) and in the past have interned at Fidelity Investments as a software engineer! In my free time I’m always looking to learn more about the edtech or social e-commerce space.

Fun Fact: I’ve recently been taking up interior design as a hobby!

Ryan Chang

Hey! I’m Ryan. I’m originally from Taipei, and am currently studying CS/Econ at Duke. I’ve started & ran websites with over 20 million+ lifetime pageviews, helped Coil launch a new micropayments-based business model for the web, and invest in university stage entrepreneurs at Contrary Capital. I’ve also co-founded a gamification app that won Top 6 in the Hult Prize Regional Finals, and built a blockchain-based ad blocker. Currently, I’m excited (among other things) about the abstraction of technology (nocode, lowcode, APIs, etc.) and democratizing the ability for people to build!

Asong Nkemzi

My name is Asong Nkemzi. I was born and raised in Cameroon, West Africa, and I spent a lot of my early days in the United Kingdom but I’m currently based in Charlotte, North Carolina. I’m a creative problem solver who is passionate about technological innovation and entrepreneurship. I enjoy taking on the abilities of a leader and working on startups — both my own projects and others. Currently, I’m a third-year Computer Science student pursuing a double concentration in Software Engineering and Human-Computer Interaction at The University of North Carolina at Charlotte. In my spare time, I enjoy outdoor activities, listening to podcasts, reading interesting business articles, and learning more about ground-breaking startups in the emerging markets of Africa, Latin America, and Asia.

Aja Sparks

I’m a rising junior and BLAST Scholar at Tufts University, studying Physics and Economics. While at Tufts, I have researched high-energy physics and interned at tech corporations and startups. In addition to my internships this summer, I have blended my interests in tech and business to launch my start-up, Think Nova, designed to support and nurture the talents of black students in tech. I am also planning to launch an app this fall to help students effectively prepare for college and graduate-level entrance exams. After college, I plan to pursue a JD-MBA and eventually practice IP and corporate law.



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