Rishabh Gupta, Mayank Batheja and Pranay Swarup, Founders, Letsintern

28th Jan 2011
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One -stop-shop for Perfect InternshipsIt’s a known fact that in India gaining any sort of relevant Industry experience as a student is more or less nonexistent. Most enter their respective industries with varying expectations and the ground reality always floors them and mostly not in a positive manner. On the other hand the employers are always on a hunt for talent and never seem to find the kind they need.

Rishabh Gupta, Mayank Batheja and Pranay Swarup are three entrepreneurs who have come up with a double edged solution for both these problems. Their venture www.Letsintern.com aims at reducing talent acquisition costs for organizations; while increasing employability for students through internships & career services.

YourStory learnt from them about how www.Letsintern.com is the best solution in the market and how they began their entrepreneurial journey.

Please explain the LetsIntern.com business idea?

LetsIntern.com is organizing the student-employer marketplace in India via an Internship Portal that offers the three Talent Stakeholders – Students, Colleges and Organizations - a single platform to engage in a meaningful manner for Internships. While providing internships to students and decreasing search costs and maximizing convenience will be the prime focus, other peripheral services and offline training modules will help us offer the complete bouquet to be India’s first career services brand for graduates. We are passionate about benefiting the personal and professional development of a student, while ensuring ready talent and succession planning for companies. We are also one of the winners of the Economic Times - Power of Ideas, 2010 and received a grant from the Department of Science and Technology, GOI to build on our existing model.

How many people can you reach with your services?

There are over 15,000 colleges and 82 lac college in top 15 cities in India of which 22 lac and 2 lac students are Tech Graduates and MBA students respectively (source: HRD Ministry report).

India's youth is ambitious, technology-oriented, and confident. Indian society is being transformed by the internet, something young people are best equipped to exploit. India's youth are already having an enormous impact: on the economy, on companies hoping to sell them products, on the media, and on the culture.

This generational shift in attitudes is all the more important because this group is growing so rapidly. Already, youth are most concerned with their professional ambition – It's more ‘what you do' that determines ‘who you are’. Young people hope to achieve this goal through education and enterprise. That's a big change. For years, the most highly regarded careers were in civil service, engineering, and medicine. Now, high-paying jobs in high tech and the media are where it's at. Liberalization has created a 'new social contract, in which making money is most respectable'. Young Indians endorse it heartily.

In such a conducive environment, the scope for Letsintern.com is enormous. India, though it has the third largest higher education system in the world, next to China and the US, is not necessarily able to cater to the growing industry demands. A study by NASSCOM reveals that almost 60% of Indian graduates do not have the right employability skills. In an extremely competitive market, there is a shortage of “market ready” professionals who can hit the ground running. We aim to not only better the chances of top-talent students but also students from not so the best colleges, pushing for a culture of practical experience and exposure alongside education which is hugely lacking in our current system.

In its beta testing phase itself we already have over 3000 students signed-up from over 120 colleges and have provided internships to over 200 quality students from colleges like IIT, BIT, St. Stephens, SRCC, CBS, Xavier's, Loyola, Christ etc with 100+ premier organizations and exciting start-ups. We launch our Full-Service Platform in February 2011.

What makes your business model different from that of a placement agency?

We are bridging gaps between corporate and students/colleges at many levels. In order to maintain confidentiality of our model, all I would like to say is that we are leveraging technology to create reach and ease, we are leveraging physical touch points and service areas to add high value. We see ourselves not as a placement agency but as enablers.

How do you plan to scale-up LetsIntern.com?

Scaling up is a gradual process. Our Focus is to gain market shares and define the market city by city. Scaling up is a linear projection of business development team and marketing efforts, but we optimize on operations and middle-line as we scale up to create profitability. We aim to not just serve the current internship/interns demand but broad-base the very market but making the service accessible and valuable.

Why did all three of you choose to be entrepreneurs?

All three of us had taken leadership roles while pursuing our education, where at a young age we learnt to run and lead an organization. Having worked in our respectable jobs after that, we individually knew that we wanted more and were ready to take the plunge. Though, we all have our own personal drives and motivations we connect on the aspiration to build an empire and create real impact. We are excited by the empowerment of adding value to existing methods of conducting business, the freedom to try out ideas and the lure of financial success.

In our short yet exciting journey, one thing is clear that entrepreneurship too is a 9 to 5 job, only a 9 am to 5 am job J

What are the biggest challenges that you have overcome?

No Funds - Bootstrapping and holding on, cutting growth and growing steady. In our line of business, hiring good interns does come easy. It has helped us hold costs back and yet move forward.

New Space - Market is unorganized and hence has to establish new standards rather than following any. We are overcoming it by hard work and delivery.

Where did you find the seed capital for your company?

Seed Capital is Our Savings; we won a Rs. 5 lakhs grant from the Department of Science and Technology, GOI – as one of the winners of Economic Times – Power of Ideas

Funding (Expected in Jan-Feb 2011)

What has been the biggest achievement for LetsIntern.com?

The ability to attract 3000+ students to our portal with NO MARKETING and being able to win the trust and service reputed organizations who look at us as a partner for the services we offer. All of this with no office, manpower, etc and making revenues from the same.

What is your vision for LetsIntern.com for the coming year?

Vision has been constant - though near term goals and path has kept adjusting itself to market feedback and internal reality. We envision Letsintern to “be India's largest and best career services brand for (college) students".

YourStory wishes Rishabh Gupta, Mayank Batheja and Pranay Swarup a fruitful journey in bringing together students and prospective employers. Their work will definitely change many careers and a quick look at their site  http://www.letsintern.com/will be to your benefit…

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