Arpita Soma, Co-founder of Internfever - On perfect matchmaking between interns and companies
How does Internfever work?
Internfever has been started with an idea of providing unique services to the student community, which is to be the bridge or the right channel between colleges and corporate and help students locate internship opportunities. We partner with colleges and companies, and work towards finding the right fit(internship opportunity) for the candidate as well as the company.
This market is suddenly becoming crowded, how is intern fever different from other internship portals?
Yes, in the last year several internship portals have come up. We are very different from them. We are not just limited to being a web portal where clients can come in and post their requirements and students their resumes. We walk the extra mile to make the right ‘company-candidate’ match. At Internfever, we provide an end-to end intern recruitment solution to the client. We do the first level of screening and only those candidates considered good fit are sent to meet the client.
We call ourselves ‘matchmakers’ for internships. We sit with the client, discuss what qualities they are looking for in the potential intern, and try to find the best fit for that position.
We also meet students who want to work, but don’t know or are confused what to do. We counsel them, look for certain attributes or traits that mark their personality and suggest them on what role to look out for.
How has the response been so far?
The response has been very encouraging. Though, we embarked on this journey called Internfever in November 2010, we have been thinking about the idea since Jan/Feb 2010, talking to people about it, getting feedback from students, HR personnel, and from just about anybody. People said that it would either do well or be a huge misfire. Fortunately, the awareness about internships and working while still at school is gaining popularity among students in India.
What according to you are major challenges students face while looking out for internships or what according to you are the major challenges companies face while looking out for student interns?
Until 2010-2011, there has not been a common platform where Internships have been advertised. Students were not aware of existing opportunities. In a small survey we conducted last September among 600 students from across the country, we found that more than 70% were not aware of what an internship is. Among them, 87% did not know where opportunities existed and again more than 80% found internship opportunities through family and friends. We were left wondering what happened to those huge numbers who didn’t have family support and friends network.
The major challenge companies (including Internfever) face is the lack of ‘employable’ graduates. The mindset of the students should change. An internship should be looked up as not just an opportunity to earn, but as a platform to learn. Students should realize that an internship comes with a lot of benefits.
What is your revenue model?
We charge the companies. The price varies depending on the stipend provided, and the kind of screening that is required.
How do you plan to scale?
Right now, we are concentrating on making students aware of internships and spreading the word about Internfever. We have our campus brand ambassadors in 35 Engineering and Management institutions across Hyderabad. By the end of 2011, we plan to make our presence felt in at least 100 other colleges and partner with them. We are also looking at expanding our operations to other cities and towns in Andhra Pradesh.
In the next couple of years, we want to establish a training and development wing to cater to the needs of students coming in from non-english medium institutions/backgrounds increase the percentage of ‘employable’ graduates.
We look at becoming the ‘one stop shop’ for all intern requirements.
We hope that Internfever scales to all parts of India, and they succeed in being the perfect matchmaker between interns and companies.