This platform provides a one-stop solution to every student’s career guidance needs
Education isn’t limited to textbook learning – it means guidance in all aspects of life. But is this guidance readily available for everyone? Not really. Aware of this problem, Delhi-based Prateek Bhargava launchedin 2016, a unique platform that provides career guidance through exclusive counselling and mentoring services. Since inception, it has garnered a number of awards and recognitions from the Ministry of Science and Technology of the Government of India, the UAE government, the National Startup Awards 2020, Education World, Entrepreneur India and other prestigious platforms.
“When I was a high school student, I met my career mentor who helped and advised me at every crucial juncture of my academic and professional journey. I felt lucky to have access to a mentor, but I knew that millions of students around the world did not. It is to solve this pain point, that I along with my mentor for over 18 years, Prikshit Dhanda, and other founding team members including Eesha Bagga, Savinay Patlolla, Vansh Nathani and Prof. Dr NK Chadha decided to create an ecosystem for career development and mentoring to shape the career guidance landscape,” explains Prateek in a chat.
Career counselling has always been a niche subject, and hence it has been a largely fragmented industry thus far. Prateek highlights that the emergence of new career paths, changes in education systems and rapid adoption of technology, enabled his team to change the career guidance landscape. Mindler uses automated career guidance tools and solutions in conjunction with in-depth research for a scientific approach to career decision making.
Founder Prateek Bhargava
He says, “Mindler is run by alumni from Harvard, ISB, IIM, IIT and the world’s leading psychometricians, so students have the best guidance to discover their unique potential and take well-informed career decisions.”
Though headquartered in Delhi, the platform operates pan-India as well as in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, Muscat, Singapore, Japan and even Africa. Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Pune, Bhopal, Udaipur, Ludhiana, Chennai, Kochi, Raipur, Dehradun, Kolkata and Mumbai are the cities where their services are most popular.
Their career guidance services cater to students in the age group of 13-25, and their counsellor focused products are used to train educators and professionals who have experience ranging from 0-25 years.
“Over the next five years, we hope to train over 100,000 educators to become certified career coaches and empower them with a comprehensive career planning platform to provide guidance to students across the country. With our mass student acquisition channels, we will be in the best position to understand the learning and development needs for students in the K9-12 segment. In this period, we will also look at strengthening our automated career guidance solutions and enter multiple collaborations on the product front,” explains Prateek.
What’s on offer
Mindler focusses on both the demand and supply side of career guidance through its diverse product suite, which includes:
• SaaS platform for educational institutions and career coaches
Through this platform, career coaches can craft customised career trajectories for their students, and provide quality career guidance services to their clients.
• Career platform for students
The Mindler Career Platform can be used for career discovery, mapping and planning through guidance tools including career assessments, college planners, entrance exam trackers, virtual internships, profile building, resume building, personalized mentoring, alumni tracking and scholarship discovery.
• International Certified Career Coach (ICCC) program
India does not regulate the domain of career guidance and coaching, so Mindler created its own curriculum. They collaborated with the National Career Development Association (NCDA) and Career Development Alliance from the USA for this purpose. At the end of the three level program, participants earn the NCDA certification in career coaching.
“Our most popular product amongst students is the ‘Mindler Career Assessment Platform’. I believe this is popular because of the lack of awareness amongst students and parents about emerging career pathways and their pressing need to find the best-fit career path where the probability of success will be high. Our most popular product amongst educators is the ‘Mindler International Certified Career Coach Program’ (ICCC). This is popular because of the lack of trained and certified career coaches and the amazing career opportunities provided by this domain,” explains Prateek.
Interested clients usually reach out through their website, through their network of partner schools and institutions, as well as through edtech and SaaS partners which include career counsellors and educators.
The growth story
According to research published in idreamcareer.com, India still needs 1.4 million career counsellors for 315 million students to maintain a globally acceptable student-to-counsellor ratio. While the US has a nation-wide average counsellor-student ratio of 1:492 (1 counsellor per 492 students), in India there are only 500 counsellors for about 1.5 million students. Hence, Mindler’s venture is a sound one.
Initially driven by personal investment, Mindler has since received funding from the Taxmann Group and CIIE IIM Ahmedabad of Rs 10.2 crores. After this, they raised a Pre-Series A round of Rs 10.75 Crores from Inflection Point Ventures, nVentures Singapore, Chennai Angels and Ecosystem Ventures in 2021.
“So far, we have impacted over 2.5 million students and trained and certified over 23,000 educators from 1,250 institutions. Our users come from across the country including Tier II and III cities. Our pan-India school tie-ups and counsellor network ensure wide reach,” shares Prateek.
Mindler recently acquired Immrse, a platform which enables students to get Virtual Career Internships through an experiential, immersive and self-paced career discovery programme. Virtual Career Internships are a cross between an educational course, a role-playing game, a masterclass and practical work experience. These allow students to test out multiple conventional and new age careers including Engineering, Medicine, Film Making, Graphic Designing, Law, Psychology, Ethical Hacking and more.
“We had to overcome the stereotypes that existed in Tier II and III cities about career opportunities. We have been creating awareness about emerging career opportunities and how this field is changing. 99 percent of the high schools in India are bereft of a structured career guidance setup! This statistic is an alarming one since there are hundreds of millions of high school students in India. These young learners require career guidance in order for the nation to advance toward its goals. This coupled with the fact that over 93 percent students are aware of less than seven career options is a grave concern. To address this challenge in front of us, we focused on building a unique and scalable model to address the unorganized career counselling sector through various innovative solutions,” shares Prateek.
With the new National Education Policy (NEP), Prateek believes that career guidance is set to become a key focal point for schools and institutions. He also says that Mindler is strongly positioned to deliver personalised career guidance solutions aiding overall development through integrated co-curricular solutions.
Their focus going forward is to expand their network of schools and educators and add new features to their product portfolio. They also hope to solve the language barrier by making the Mindler Platform available in multiple languages such as Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Arabic and Spanish.