Founded by Tonmoy Shingal and Ketan Kapoor, Mettl Inc specializes in online assessment for testing the technical, aptitude and psychometric skills of potential candidates. The solution helps companies measure, analyze and improve people skills.
A winner of the Michael Porter Strategy Award as a differentiator in the field of education, Mettl Inc has also garnered attention from The New York Times Thomas L. Friedman who described the startup as the most interesting IT project he encountered in India that year. We chat with Ketan about the venture. An excerpt from the interview:
- What made you start your venture?
After graduating from IIT Roorkee, I joined a Bangalore based product Start-Up called Talisma. I then went on to study at IIM Calcutta after which I joined a consulting company for a while, but immediately chose to jump ships and join an enterprising startup at Gurgaon. Tonmoy, the Co-founder of Mettl Inc, had left to work with Boston Consulting Group in Belgium.
He returned from there and spent a week with me. Both of us wanted to start something. Our plan was to start a training and assessment company, but we quickly realized that assessment alone is a massive opportunity. Learning and assessments are moving online and that is why we created an online platform. We kept improving the platform with inputs from clients.
We have perfected it over the last three years. We started off with a focus on the technology sector and are currently adding on modules for BPO, Banking and education sector. We now have over 200 clients including Cognizant, Capgemini, Accenture, Wipro, HCL, Inmobi, and Makemytrip.com.
- What has been the key to your business’s success?
Mettl Inc customization of cognitive and non-cognitive assessments according to key splits like industry and demographics have played a major role in our success, so far. What sets us apart from competing players in the assessment space is our deep-rooted understanding of “success factors” for a given job role in the Indian context.
Our assessments are curated after years of benchmarked data on critical competencies required for exhibition aided with understanding the unique business context for each organization and blending the two leads to an assessment that measures talent in the organization as well as industry context.
On the technology side, Mettl Inc remote proctoring feature has enabled organizations to conduct these assessments remotely, without human intervention. Our proctoring feature enables test takers to appear for the assessment from the comfort of their living rooms without compromising on the security of the test.
Webcam proctoring involves a proctor from Mettl’s end to invigilate the exam thus finding usage in high-stake examinations like university admissions and semester examinations.
Broswer proctoring involves system warnings for monkey businesses like opening a new browser tab, presence of a third person in the room and retina movement beyond the screen limit which has found usage in low-stake assessments for enterprises and start-ups alike. This marriage of content and technology places Mettl Inc in a unique intersection and has allowed us to gain traction rapidly.
- What are the major challenges in your line of business and how did/do you overcome them?
Educating the audience to move from conventional pen and paper assessments to online assessments has been a challenge. Mettl’s marketing team is driving communication on these lines by reflecting the R-o-I of online assessments.
India is a country where resume based hiring has always been a trend and convincing organizations to eliminate gut-based hiring has been the biggest challenge for us.
Having said that, Mettl has been on an upward tick with revenues growing exponentially and we aim to have the leadership position in assessments in the next 2 years.
- Do you have a mentor who guides/advices you on matters of the business?
We are fortunate to have a strong board that comprises of industry veterans in the SaaS space. The board mentors us for all strategic moves Mettl pivots too, across industries and geographies.
- Have you benefitted from the use of any specific technology for your regular operations?
Our in-house proctoring technology has lent us a competitive advantage while pitching secure online assessments to our clients. This solution is the best-in-industry and constant upgrades to proctoring enable us to be nimble.
Mettl uses a microservices-based architecture which enables us to fuse different technology stacks for each product line. This architecture does not limit us to a particular technology stack and allows us the flexibility to integrate different families for optimal product experience.
- What, according to you, are the top 3 skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?
a) Patience: As wisdom entails, it is a virtue. Assessments as an industry is fairly nascent in the country and our initial communication entailed educating the audience about the pros of using assessments for hiring. The fruits of being patient with our communication paid well for us and it reflects in the high quality of inbound leads we are generating.
b) Listening to the Customer: The team at Mettl understands the vitality of listening to the customer’s voice at regular intervals of time. Our best product features have germinated after incessant customer interactions which enabled our product team to create solutions required by the audience.
c) Product Market Fit Is Key: Mettl has always strived to hit product-market fit faster than the curve dictates. We have a robust customer intelligence unit which dives into the core of the pain points faced by our customers and collective voice leads us to our next product extension/line. This might be an extension of point
b) but we can’t stress enough the importance of getting a market fit faster than the competition.
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