In conversation with Mr. Rachit Jain, Founder & CEO, Youth4work.
ENTREPRENEUR OF THE MONTH
How did you get started in this business?
After completing my BTech I took a job with Mahindra & Mahindra in Mumbai. I was doing stupendously good and growing in the career graph at a rapid pace. But then I wanted to start something on my own, do something which nobody is doing and my product should help people across ages. I started JAGbros. I wanted to replicate the idea of display ads on yellow-black taxis of Mumbai like private radio taxis. But due to legal concerns, the idea could not be materialized. But while setting up the process, I realized hiring is very difficult especially the right talent. So, I ventured into this virgin market, and called it ‘Youth4work’. I started the Business from the savings that I had from my previous jobs and burning through the PF, then borrowing money from family.
Why are you in business?
The startup world and eco-system have evolved and ascended so fast that I can actually say that during my day’s startup was not a vogue thing, and building a business was key and fundraising actually very tough. It is fair to say that Indian Startup scene has witnessed its bubble phase and now back on track. Somehow the idea of building a business and proving metrics, exponential growth, engagement & revenues before actually investing big bucks on it stuck to me and my team’s mind from the early days. Also, I need to admit that we could not surf the funding wave well enough but in hindsight that proved well for the business and its foundations. We were lucky to have the right set of investors who helped us remain focus and support well but enough to make the foundations strong.
Why are you in this type of business?
The gist is that I really think the second most important decision in human life is their ‘Career Choice’ and your work actually determines and plays a huge role in your happiness. Even with all the evolution of technology in this world, the skilling and hiring process has never been personalized or moved beyond a Boolean search on a resume. With Millions of Youth in India and millions of youth across the world trying to learn and earn more, I want to make a difference and a big impact in their lives. That’s what we at Youth4work will make. Having people assess themselves and see their own strengths and weakness, improve themselves by choosing the right courses and learning (aided by our tech in suggesting) & getting noticed and employed by employers for the ‘real’ interests and skills they have is not just making an Impact but a trillion-dollar industry. The evolution and the journey of Youth4work have been exciting and filled with ups and downs. Actually, more ups than downs.
In hindsight, I think lack of funds helped us immensely and figuring out what our users actually want and building the product to serve their needs rather than to serve the investor/business plan. This helped us get deep into the users need and their journey. We experimented a lot, failed a lot. All frugally, and in the end built a product that helps youth in India and abroad in their career journey right from colleges to 6 years of work experience. The way we look at it is from a user point of view and to build insights and help the users during their professional journey being one single platform.
Eg. There are 2 Lakh people preparing for CAT each year, after the CAT results, out of this 2 Lakh there are probably 1.9 Lakh youngster who may not join an MBA but look for jobs. The need for those same users changes overnight, but as a technology-based platform, we have enough insights on the users to help them in their initial step to find jobs. From a startup & business perspective, In India and developing nations specially, I think all startups need to see on how to have a high LTV (lifetime value of the user) since most are going to be low paying. The business models need to be Indianised or made from developing countries and copy paste models from developed countries might not work.
What is your background? Education, Work Experience
I am 33-year-old now, I was raised in Delhi and did Manufacturing Engineering from NIFFT, Ranchi. It gave me a unique insight to see both sides of the world of upper-middle-class urban society and 99% of people graduating from non-IIT/IIM in India. Post-engineering I joined Mahindra and Mahindra where I was one of the best and fastest growing youngsters who worked right at the Shop floor to the top most teams under group presidents & Mahindra all in a few years. It’s a single Founder company, though I consider my team who has been with us right from the start and for many years now as equally passionate about Youth4work as me.
Can you provide me with a description of your business?
Youth4work is a Youth centric platform where assessment is a tool that helps identify the talent that each individual pursues; how talented they are amongst the others who have a similar talent.
There are basically 3 aspects of our product:
Prepare/Assess yourself > Improve yourself > Showcase your self
• Prepare/assess — Here we actually help the youth to prepare for exams (http://www.prep.youth4work.com/) & assess their own skills (http://www.youth4work.com/onlinetalenttest)
• Improve — here based on their skills, rank, and pursuit we suggest the right online course to people ( www.ed.Youth4work.com )
• Showcase — The Tested and Ranked profiles are showcased. They can be searched by anyone — http://www.youth4work.com/talent.
Apart from skill tests which are free for all. We monetize on freemium models on Prep, Online courses & connecting youth to companies.
What are the main issues that you faced in initial years and how did you cope up with those challenges?
The term startup sounds very fancy and pulls in a lot of attraction from those around. If one has a killing instinct to do something for the society at large, has a clear vision, persistence, passion, and belief in oneself, its sure to reap benefits in the long run. Hiring for my first two ventures was obviously a big challenge which led me to start youth4work. The even bigger challenge is making the teamwork with passion. If you are able to rope in the right talent and ability to keep their interests intact, there is obviously no stoppage. The magic happens only when you fill in the right places with the exact people and give them sufficient reasons to perform.
How did you manage the financial challenges?
We have made a great impact on the industry. There is a vibrating market of 300 million users out there. Out of these users, we have 2.3 million tested profiles. We aren’t just interested in monetary gains, but finding the right investors who share a similar vision has been our motto.
How did you manage the technology gaps and acquire new technologies?
Youth4work’s USP is wholly based on advanced technology. We have always been stood up when it comes to helping our users, like going multilingual, or a tie-up with IFFCOYuva to help the rural. We are mainly a Tech company with Product and tech being the core part of our DNA and serving the users to the best of what we can as the blood that flows on our veins.
We have built and captured each and every interaction with our users and using advanced machine learning algorithms got deep insights on every user for their skills, interests, and profiles. We even have an advance AI that helps us compare millions and come out with relevant details vs others and learn from other users to able to enhance data that we show to the other users.
With over 2.5Million unique visitors a month with 11M= pageviews, we have a technology with strong foundations that can serve and grow to Millions of new users very rapidly now.
How did you manage the human resource, training, staff retention, etc?
As the boss of a startup, there is no one responsibility on my shoulder. I have to: Give profit, to my shareholders, help my team members to grow, help our platform users with skill development and assessment.
What is the core initiative you have taken to stand out from competitors?
Youth4work lies in its offerings. We are the only platform that starts the support right from the finding of college/ institute to getting the dream job. Youth4work.com is a ‘People Platform’ which empowers youth to assess themselves, improve their talents and showcase themselves for their talents and professional achievement. We call what we are building ‘Human Tech’ which gathers intelligence and deep insights on each and every member of Youth4work.
Youth4work is a platform which helps individuals to assess their innate abilities, improve their skills and then connect them to right employers. We are concentrating on skillset whereas all the competitors working on numbers. This approach has also impacted the engagement of Tier I and Tier II candidates who are not able to cope up with the current skills required in the market. We have observed that many candidates are also actively taking up our online courses made available through our partners in order to add feathers to their professional profile.
What type of business form do you have, sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation?
What is the strength or USP of your company?
Our services offered can broadly be categorized under:
Online education: youth4work offers online certification courses
Prep tests: we offer competitive exam test for both academic and job purpose.
Talent acquisition: we help employers find the right talent.
Tell us something about your products and services.
There are mainly 2 stakeholders, you need to see the product from both their individual angles.
Stake Holder 1 — Youth
We are that 1 platform that helps them in their complete professional journey from college to first 2 jobs or ~6 years of work experience.
We help them in preparation and upskilling
1. In college
Students look for Preparation tests for competitive exams (there are over 1.5Cr competitive exam taker each year in India alone)
Youth4work is the biggest and the most popular preparation test platform in India by popularity and variety
We have https://www.prep.youth4work.com/ which has over 274 different exam prep and has over 5000 unique tests takers each day practicing for one test or the other.
For almost every test, we are on the top 3 google search.
This works on a freemium paid model and one of the products that we sell.
2. While searching for a job, building a career
Youth looks at Finding out their own strengths and weakness, improving it and Showcasing it.
We help people assess themselves with over 400 different Skill tests — https://www.youth4work.com/onlinetalenttest, giving a percentile score vs other test takers and coming out with your ranking for that skill and based on that suggest youth the right online course/education that they should take to improve more.
We have our tech that suggests the right course based on users and career graphs and paths that is best to them from the list of 1500+ courses we have here — https://www.ed.youth4work.com/
This is one of the monetization channels too, where we sell our partner’s courses by matching the deep insights on their courses and users taking into account the best career path and user’s own skill graphs.
Stake Holder 2 — Employers
Since we have deep intelligence on people, we help Employers & companies to find and contact the right target group for Hiring and advertising.
1. For any employer searching for the Content writer in Bangalore, the option that he/she has is going through thousands of resume on a Job site like Naukri which have a keyword writing somewhere or similarly do a keyword search on Linkedin.
We help employers find Pre-assess profiles like > https://www.youth4work.com/Talent/FilterTalent?talent=Content-Writing+English-Language+English-Literature+Communication-Skills&hasresume=0&isemailverified=0&ismobileverified=0&location=bangalore&ytested=1
Where they pay for making the contact and can engage the top rankers directly
They save on finding and screening through resumes and our stats say that if you contact the top 200 profiles matching your requirement you can schedule an interview with 3 hours from the responses you get.
2. Since employers are engaged and using us, we give various add on services like managed recruitment and custom assessment to premium companies.
“Our USP — We have figured out a way to acquire users at scale, Very Low CAC. Building a Platform with complete eco-system for youth in their professional journey”.
We basically have dwelled and built an ecosystem based on the needs of the youth, and have high engagement and superb word of mouth growth.
We never had big funds to market that’s why worked our way around users recommending, SEO & engagement to get the growth to 2M users that we have.
Communities that we have built now are powerful and growing rapidly and naturally.
How do the social, economic, environmental, technological, legal and political environments impact your business?
The everyday feedback we get from users is phenomenal. We, as a team, love the positive impact that we are able to make in people’s lives. This itself witnesses the brilliant scope of startups in India. I think with the whole Digital India campaign, millions will come online. I think if Youth4work can help some of them identify, improve their skills and aid in finding the right opportunities, then the impact will be bigger than anyone could ever imagine.
How do you market your business? How are people aware of your business?
We don’t deal in the products where routine TVC/ marketing strategy works. Our offerings focus on our users. The better our offerings & technology, the more satisfied are our users. Thus, the biggest marketing tool for Youth4work has been ‘Word of Mouth’.
‘Persistence’ is the key contributor to our Success. Next contributor is our unique services and offerings.
Where do you see your business in the next year? In the next five years? The next ten years?
We feel the opportunity and the need is bigger than only jobs. The need is to build people intelligence, which personalizes information and guides people to connect and collaborate. That is important as about 300 million people will enter India’s workforce in the next few years. We would like to be the de facto platform where every youth, who is connected to the Internet, comes on board with us to improve oneself and become part of talent communities.
How has the technology, such as computers and the internet, impacted on how you conduct business?
The advanced technology has always impacted our business as it is wholly based on it. We provide with the most reliable and easily available technology which is the mobile. Our apps for the prep test comes handy. All which is needed is a smartphone and the internet connection and you are good to go.
Does your business have a stated mission statement, the reason that this business exists?
I started with an aim to help the right talent to get the right opportunity. And I never got deviated from my mission in spite of the challenges. Our Mission Statements: Be Human Technology that proactively assists people in their professional understanding & journey in a transparent & intelligent way. Inspire Creativity and Passion & Optimism in Individuals. Help organizations tap the true potential inside youth in India, with effective talent matching.
Do you have employees? How many?
We are a small but strong team of 50 passionate and dynamic members.