Arek Der-Sarkissian

It's like the name Eric, but instead of the "EH" at the beginning, it's "AH"—so AH-rehk!

I'm a student at UCLA, a product builder, and a hot wings enthusiast.

Hi there! 👋

Welcome to my personal website. Determining criteria: it's definitely a website. Is it personal enough? I'll leave that up to you to decide.

My past experience generally lies in three categories: community management, software engineering, and product leadership. You can read more about my experience below.


Send me an email. Stalk me on Twitter. Read my posts on LinkedIn.



  • I'm currently pursuing an MS in Computer Science from UCLA (previously at UCLA CS undergrad).

    Below are some projects and internships I've worked on along the way.

  • 🦄 Unicorner 2020-present

    Discovering the greatest early stage startups

    Unicorner is a startup newsletter that sends an up-and-coming startup to your inbox every Monday morning. Started in 2020, our goal has always been to make learning about startups simple. Our two-minute rundowns are read by thousands of curious entrepreneurs-to-be across the globe. We also run startup events!

    Check out our Product Hunt page for an uncomfortable yet informative explainer video we shot in my friend's office.

  • 🏦 Mercury 2023

    (Not a) startup bank

    I did full-stack engineering for Mercury during the summer between my undergrad and graduate studies. Mercury is a leading banking solution for early-stage companies. Especially following the SVB fallout, Mercury found itself as a top choice for startups.

    Two major things led me to Mercury:

    During most of my time there, I led the engineering for our organization avatar functionality.

  • 💊 GoodRx 2021

    Enabling healthcare savings

    I joined GoodRx in 2021 as a product management intern. It was a special time for the company. Following its IPO in 2020, GoodRx was committed to extend its mission towards improving healthcare at large. There were a lot of new initiatives being started, and I was fortunate to be placed at the inception of one.

    Alongside the full-time PM, I co-led the launch of GoodRx Rewards. The goal: incentivize user engagement with our mobile app using daily rewawrds for "checking in" and taking your medication.

    Some of my responsibilities:

    • Brainstorming features from ground zero
    • Designing a beta "feedback panel" of over 20,000 perscription coupon holders
    • Conducting user interviews
    • Plotting engineering roadmaps and requirements
    • Building partnerships with pharmacies
    • Presenting to key stakeholders, including our President, Board, and SVP of Product
    • Selecting the playlists for our brainstorm sessions 🎧
  • 🇦🇲 SmartGateVC 2021-2023

    When culture meets tech

    When I say culture, I don't mean it in the sense of work culture. I mean it literally: SmartGateVC is an early-stage deep-tech VC firm founded in my home country of Armenia. I joined the team as a community and program manager at a critical moment in early 2021. We had just won a competition from the city of Glendale, CA to build a new accelerator program serving the area. We had $500k and a space to make it happen.

    There I was: SmartGateVC's first U.S. employee. I helped the team launch Hero House @ HyeRise, a 7,000 sq. ft. co-working space and innovation hub serving the greater SoCal area. In the year that followed, I helped organize events, develop startup programs, and build a community of thousands of tech professionals in the LA area.

    In the summer of 2022, I also launched and headed the Armenia Tech Trip, a 10-day-long exploration of Armenia's booming tech ecosystem. I managed nearly all aspects of the trip, including marketing, applications, scheduling, and sponsorships. We visited over 30 different institutions.

    Here's a video interview and podcast about my experience with the tech trip, along with thoughts surrounding Armenia's tech.

  • 👥 Covalent 2020-2021

    Building bonds in a remote era

    Covalent was built out of necessity. Picture a team of college students, two months into the pandemic, all participating in a remote accelerator program. We needed a good way to connect and learn more about each other.

    Introducing Covalent, an all-in-one virtual team-building solution. I led a team of eight students working in engineering, design, and marketing roles. I laid the groundwork for most of the engineering myself before handing it off to the rest of the team.

    Stats: 1,000+ unique players, 300+ games started

    Technologies used: Next.js (React.js), Node.js, GraphQL, AWS (Amplify, Lambda, S3, DynamoDB)

    Awards and honors: Product Hunt Feature, Best Large Team at ACM Tech Gala 2021, Best Project at DevX Demo Day 2021

    Vibes: absolutely immaculate

  • This list (and site) is a work in progress. If my experience sounds interesting to you, reach out me. Maybe we can work together!

Made with ❤️ in 2023 using Next.js + Tailwind