An Excerpt from the Interview • What made you start your venture? When did you start it?
The seeds for the Twenty19 idea was sown sometime in 2009. I had a chance to visit several colleges to interact with students on Entrepreneurship. During these interactions, I realized that many students lack the access for practical exposure. The students had a lot of energy and interest. However, they lacked the guidance and the access to fantastic opportunities that were available.
In my own life, I benefited immensely when I did a 6 month internship at General Motors, during my under-grad degree at BITS Pilani. My college had provided this opportunity.
We wanted to extend such internship opportunity to every college student in India and provide them practical exposure. At the same time, employers have a hard time, in indentifying the relevant college talent. Twenty19 helps employers reach out and recruit relevant college talent.
• What is your business model? Our business model is simple. We help students with access to relevant internships and other opportunities. We help companies recruit relevant college student talent. Over 70% of the companies use Internships, as a method to recruit for a full-time role. We charge a fee from the companies for Internships. We also provide online courses for students and professionals, for which a nominal fee is charged.
• Have your reached break-even? What has been the key to your business’s success?
We have an operational break-even at this stage. This market has a big potential and we still have a long way to go. Our understanding of this business and our tenacity has helped us progress.
• What are the major challenges in your line of business and how did/do you overcome them?
In startups, there are always hurdles – we need to find a way around them. The biggest hurdle we faced early on was to convince companies that internships are useful. When companies saw the benefit of internships first hand, they started using Twenty19 frequently and offered opportunities to students regularly.
• Do you have a mentor who guides/advices you on matters of the business?
Yes, I do regularly seek out suggestions from mentors and peers. I have benefitted immensely from the knowledge/wisdom of my mentors and peers.
• Have you benefitted from the use of any specific technology for your regular operations?
We always look to use technology as much as we can, in our business. We use tools for marketing & sales automation, data analysis, collaboration among teams and more. For example: Trello is one tool that our office extensively uses for project management and we have found it indispensable.
• What strategy do you follow for Customer Satisfaction & Expansion?
We work towards ensuring our customers are happy with Twenty19 and work to solve their problems.
• What, according to you, are the top 3 skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?
Top 3 skills would be – never give up, never give up and never give up. Visit their Website: http://www.twenty19.com/ Like them on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/twenty19