Sarabjeet Singh, CEO, Let me KnowTeam YS
Let me Know, as the name suggests, lets you know about the latest internships, events, workshops, festivals, and many other opportunities. This portal was founded in 2007 and has grown to be one of India's leading youth portal for opportunities. Many students owe their internships and participation in events and competitions to Let Me Know. YourStory caught up with Sarableet Singh, CEO of Let Me Know to learn more about the organization and their future plans
Tell us more about yourself.
My name is Sarabjeet Singh and I am an alumnus of IIT Kharagpur. I am passionate about technology and social entrepreneurship and my current interests lie at the intersection of venture funding and social enterprise. I am currently working with a few social enterprises, Let Me Know, being the venture that I lead.. Starting from my experiences at the TATA Jagriti Yatra two years ago, where we interacted with India’s leading social and business entrepreneurs, my love for enterprise-led-development has grown significantly.
What made you take up the offer of leading LMK?
I had been following Let Me Know for a short while when I heard from Nitin, the founder, and now a great friend. Let Me Know was looking for someone to lead and grow the portal and the organization. Having missed a lot of opportunities myself during college days, I knew the potential Let Me Know carried and the impact it could have on the lives of thousands of students, fresh graduates, and young professionals. I applied and soon joined the organization. What attracted me towards Let Me Know is the mission of breaking the information barrier - the idea of empowering the youth with information about opportunities which can help them explore new possibilities to become successful.
How has LMK grown so far? What has driven this growth?When I joined, Let Me Know was a small organization with weak systems and processes and no revenue model. I worked with the team to create systems and established departments, and brought stability to our core work of publishing opportunities. Since last year, we have more than tripled the number of published opportunities, and our subscribers have grown by 500%. Recently, we crossed the mark of 2.5 million page-views on the portal.
We have a successful email subscription channel, an SMS channel, and active pages on Facebook and Twitter. We have impacted over 4 lac people till date. A few months ago, we recruited a hundred campus ambassadors and we are planning to leverage partnerships with all these colleges. The best part about our growth is that it has been completely organic - we have achieved these numbers with almost no marketing efforts. Fifty percent of our traffic still comes from search engines.
What are your plans with LMK?
In the next one year, we want to focus on technology, campus partnerships, and possible business models. We plan to improve portal features and user experience, leverage on our presence in campuses and partner with festivals and events, and work with companies, associations and other organizers to help them publicize opportunities, and increase reach amongst students and young professionals.
There are also plans to explore new areas like start-up jobs, part-time opportunities etc. - segments where the market is fragmented and there is no single leader. We want to help students with more useful information and probably other services too. Not to forget that we want to be the one-stop portal for opportunities in India, and grow our subscribers to a million within the next 3 years.
How do you raise funds? How do you keep this sustainable?
Last year, we tried using Google Ads to generate revenues but eventually realized that the small amount of money, that we were making, was not worth the effort. Moreover, we did not want to compromise on user experience. Earlier this year, I worked on a business plan, and applied for funding with Unltd India, a Mumbai based social venture incubator. Internally, we have had this debate on whether we want to be typical for-profit web start-up or focus on enabling social change, and we have decided that we want to do both and hence the decision to run Let Me Know as a social enterprise.
Unltd has given us some financial support and connection to a lot of mentors and industry experts. Since we have almost no human resource costs and we have been able to keep our IT costs minimal, we have managed with Unltd’s support and bootstrapping. Having said that, we are working aggressivley on making our current revenue model work. We are talking to companies and other organizers who want to reach colleges across India, and publicize internships, competitions, events, and any other opportunities. Anyone can reach us email@example.com and we will work with you to address your specific need
Apart from this you are part of other ventures, how do you balance your roles?
Since Let Me Know is something all of us do part-time, it was and has been challenging to maintain sustained growth and momentum. But I think the feedback of our users, some of whom simply love our work, have kept us going. I am proud of and thankful to our team members, be it the managers, content associates or our campus ambassadors, who have led our growth.
I have a full-time job at Samhita Social Ventures, where we are building an online philanthropy marketplace, and I also work for Acara Institute, a US-India based social enterprise which engages universities to help students start social businesses. I believe that my experiences with Samhita and Acara have only improved my understanding of the social enterprise and technology space, and that has helped me with my work at Let Me Know a lot.
Any interesting story/insight you would share about LMK?
When comes to interesting stories, I cannot but mention Malepate Venkatesh, a Let Me Know user, who was the first ever student in his college in Hyderabad to get an internship, that he found on our portal. The internship helped him get a good work experience and explore newer opportunities. Venkatesh now works with Google. It’s stories like these that keep us going.