A startup sales company called Bandalier, located in Binghamton, may provide an opportunity for Binghamton University students looking to get involved in entrepreneurship.
Bandalier began and still operates as an in-house startup at the Koffman Southern Tier Incubator (KSTI) in Downtown Binghamton. It is a business-to-business (B2B) sales company that connects sales workers with remote opportunities. According to the company’s website, “Bandalier’s teams help technology and professional services companies connect with their customers.”
The company was launched in 2017 with funding from the KSTI, and the first four team members hired were BU students. Since then, the company’s link to the University has expanded, and roughly half of the company’s 70-member workforce is made up of BU students.
Jeremy Ruch, CEO and founder of Bandalier, wrote in an email that one of the main inspirations for the company was his interest in creating jobs for people.
“I was looking, at the time, for a solution like the one we offer now, that is, a company that provided on-demand, U.S.-based inside sales teams to growing tech[nology] companies,” Ruch wrote. “Talking to other folks who’d been in a similar situation, I became convinced there was an opportunity to solve this problem for startups while creating hundreds of jobs in different communities across the country.”
Ruch wrote that Bandalier’s hiring process differs from many other companies.
“We’ve found that a lot of sales organizations rely on old-school heuristics to make their hires,” Ruch wrote. “Because our process is data driven, and we evaluate our rubric every few months to ensure that it is, in fact, predictive, we believe in the long run we’ll have more success identifying folks who are, in fact, a good fit for these roles. Generally, we’ve found the characteristics most predictive of success to be grit, strong communication skills and coachability, and I’d say our group of BU students by and large exhibit all three of these.”
Per Stromhaug, assistant vice president for entrepreneurship and economic development at the KSTI, wrote in an email that Ruch has always been interested in using students to launch Bandalier. Stromhaug also encouraged BU students to continue to increase their involvement with the startups at the KSTI.
“We host, facilitate and support a wide range of events that are open to students and facilitate internship opportunities in companies,” Stromhaug wrote. “We would very much like to see more entrepreneurship education and activities.”
Work and internship opportunities like the ones at Bandalier and other startups in the KSTI can be hard for students to find, according to Jonah Maryles, a sophomore majoring in art and design. Maryles said he would be interested in gaining experiences like this one.
“Even though I am not a business [administration] major, I think working at a startup like this one or something similar would provide me with great experience, as I would get to see what it takes to start and build a business,” Maryles said. “I also think local companies like this can make it really convenient for BU students to gain real-world job skills.”
Daniel Pressman, ‘18, associate sales manager of Bandalier, said the company hopes to continue its connection with students.
“A lot of times at companies, college students are viewed as being useless, but at Bandalier you’re treated like everyone else at the company and you’re going to have just as many opportunities as anyone else,” Pressman said. “We have a big initiative to reach out to clubs and organizations on [BU’s] campus to recruit students and we are working on turning more part-time BU students into full-time employees.”
Pressman added that working at Bandalier can be a good way to gain experience for any career.
“Bandalier is good to grow your career with because it’s not open to only one kind of person,” Pressman said. “It is good for giving entrepreneurs a lot of experience with what goes right and wrong with businesses, and we also help a lot of people who aren’t as interested in business build up transferable skills that can help with any path they want to go on. Working at Bandalier can even set some people up for jobs and we encourage our clients to hire our representatives, who often then go on to work in major cities.”