Here’s the story of iDreamCareer – Helping Indian students achieve career planning by providing mentoring, self career assessments & career awareness
Catch them on – www.iDreamCareer.com
In conversation with Ayush Bansal, Co- Founder of iDreamCareer
Tell us about the story of your startup – Why did you start this, how did you start, when did you start?
I completed my MBA and was working as an equity research analyst covering UK Small Mid Cap sector till Apr, 2012. From my 2nd year of graduation (2008), I have worked with couple of non-profits (YFS, Prayatna) where I conducted career seminars in schools.
I got to understand that the major reason behind 52% drop out rate post std. 10th in India is due to lack of career planning and awareness. Before starting iDreamCareer.com, we did 2 pilot run where we worked with two government schools in the rural regions in Jharkand to understand the behavior of students when it comes to their career queries and career planning. We counselled them on various options available to pursue.
We did another pilot project where we tried out career counselling on mobile. We launched a pan India toll free career counselling helpline number for students and received close to 3000 calls from 7 states in India. Post the 2 pilot run we were convinced with our approach and I left my job in April 2012 and got full time. Pravesh left his job after 3 months, to get full time on iDC. But we were clear with the vision of creating a profitable and self sustainable venture rather than a non-profit and the missing link in career planning is with both low income and higher income family students. Hence, our focus has been to create a credible PAN India career platform covering all the strata of school students.
How did the co founders come together?
Pravesh & Ayush have been family friends and belong to same native place Dhanbad. Ayush worked more on the non-profit education space and Pravesh worked on the for-profit education space, and both have been highly passionate about creating a credible career planning platform and have been in touch while they were working in different company in Delhi. And one fine day, they decided to start iDreamCareer.com.
What challenges did you face and how did you deal with them?
Human Resource acquisition has been a big challenge for us. We have tried various models of providing sweat equity, freedom to our team members to keep them motivated considering that being a startup we couldn’t pay high perks. Also, we relied on freelancers which worked well for us.
What is your aspiration for the venture?
To mentor 10 million students in the next 5 years, hit a top-line of INR 100 Cr, and sell approx half a million career planning kits in the next 5 years. More than anything, we want to focus on adding value to the product range which speaks for itself in the market.
Also, we aspire and aim to expand to SAARC countries in the coming days as there is a huge potential for a career planning product. And if we do it well, who knows we may become that $1 billion education venture based in India 🙂
What did you learn from the journey so far?
- To work in challenging phases, it’s not a straight path to the top.
- To work under very limited resources in all the capital segments -human or cash.
- To manage different stakeholders – Schools, Students, your team members, government officials etc.
- To tweak the business model at the initial stage, based on market understanding and that’s how we were able to come up with a product based business model in an area which has always worked as a service based model.
If you had to start all over again, what would you do differently?
- Start as a for-profit venture rather than a non-profit one
- This has been a great learning for us as entrepreneurs when we started as a not-for-profit company (as Medhavi Foundation) on our false assumption that our product delivers social value and so it has to be under a non-profit organization. Soon we realized we can’t raise funds, and even government can give such projects to for-profit. We have learned and we are now moving the product into a for profit venture (Medhavi Professional services Pvt. Ltd), which has got name approval and we are expecting to get the company incorporation certificate soon
- Definitely to utilize cash more efficiently, spend more on sales & marketing rather than the product