I have tried two other startup ideas in 2020, one was killed by the virus(it was a physical, real-world business) and the other failed to get early validation. It was about time for a new one!
I have always felt for the bad quality internships in India. I got this idea when I was walking to get coffee. It just came to me, I hope I could articulate that idea-inception process better.
But I think it was some combnination of reading a LinkedIn post about Internshala following by walking to get coffee. There's something magical about walking that triggers great ideas.
Coming to the point...
There are two reasons why Startup Intern exists. The Startup Side and the Intern side. Let's get to each one by one.
The Startup Story
I was working on hiring interns at a startup I used to work at. The obvious name that pops up when you want to hire interns in India is Internshala. The next is Angelist. These are the two main channels where Indian startups hire interns.
We posted a job on Internshala. It was up after a review. A few days later, we checked in to see the applications. There were a lot of them. Here lies the problem(for startups). There are a lot of people who get to apply for your internship post.
We spend the next 60 minutes or so just hitting the "Reject" button. We shortlisted and interviewed about 8 candidates. None were selected for the role.
So we wasted multiple hours of time posting a job, reviewing applications, resumes, reading copy-pasted notes on why they wanted this job, rejecting, shortlisting, chatting, interviewing... and ended up getting nowhere ☹️
This is the case with most startups that post jobs on platforms like Internshala. A lot of time wasted for non-targeted applicants and no return.
So I decided to change it with Startup Intern.
How it works
Every #StartupIntern goes through a vetting process before they even get to apply for your job. We send the job poster the details of applicants, so they don't have to log in and check who has applied.
As a startup it's always good to have just 8 applicants of whom you hire 3 vs. having to sort through 100s of shitty applications, of which you hire none.
It's not just startups though, the interns who really, genuinely want to work for good companies also face issues.
The Intern Story
As an intern, it's not very easy to navigate around internshala to get what you want.
The stipends are also too low. There are literally companies posting low or no stipend jobs on Internshala, some even asking the interns to pay to work for them.
How crazy is that? Most internships focus on getting work extracted from interns without delivering any value to them.
For the top 10% skilled students, all this was a problem. The good people would rather apply for good internships that compensate well instead of having to spray and pray.
Startup Intern solves for them too, by delivering the best internships, according to their preferences like preferred industry, role, and skillsets.
I have been operating Startup Intern for about 45 days at this point. The students seem very excited by it, but the founders are not eager to pay. I spoke to potential customers on LinkedIn and some on the phone. Everyone likes the idea of hiring great interns, but there is no user behavior of paying for posting a job.
I think recruiters and founders in India are just not used to paying for posting jobs, and we will have to change this by proving that we provide value equal or greater than the cost they pay us.
And hey, it's pay-what-you-want, so they have that flexibility!
I think it would have been ideal to enter a market where people are used to paying for the service I'm delivering. People don't like to pay for stuff they've gotten for free, imagine paying for air or tap water. Problem is, they're paying for intern hiring with all the time they waste. This needs to be conveyed to them via our copy.
It is what it is, gotta solve for it.
Also, spinning up an MVP with #NoCode tools like Webflow and Airtable has been super time-saving. It's always good to get something out the door quickly without having to code it.
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