Startup Circle: How is Board Infinity impacting India’s skilling ecosystem?

By : |February 14, 2020 0

Startup Circle: The job market is ruthless, volatile and ever-changing. With the largest student population in the world, India is in dire need of at-least 1.4 million career coaches in order to achieve its demographic dividend and maintain global standards.

Board Infinity was founded with a highly specific target to deliver impactful career guidance and skilling to students and working professionals at the very beginning of their career journey.

Started in 2017, the edutech startup is empowering students and working professionals with the right knowledge that not only gives them the insight to make effective career choices but also enables them to land in the dream career they desire.

From then on, there was no looking back. The startup grew along a trajectory of 10x growth between FY 2018 to FY 2019. Since its inception, the company has grown to a strength of 45 and today, the platform is 800 experts strong.

How did you come up with the idea?

During my 1.5 years of true introspection on identifying which sectors and activities that I should start with; I was fascinated with EdTech space that offers tremendous opportunities. I have been a trainer myself in all the organizations I have worked for.

The challenge of building great careers is real, and somehow, I got attracted to the complexity of the problem being solved. EdTech has a direct impact and outcome on the future of the individual and in India, great education means a better future. So, the direct impact on lives that we touch motivated me to pursue EdTech primarily.

How does your platform work?

The platform has three different interfaces for students, coaches, companies

The students with the help of platform can avail coaching sessions by Industry experts, receive personalized feedback & curated content with job-specific learning paths to crack the job interviews.

Coaches can share expertise and provide knowledge to students looking for career guidance and positively impact their lives. They also share their availability, schedule sessions and guide assigned students.

Companies get extensive information on applicants who are focused on particular sectors through the platform, helping them reduce their overall cost and make better hiring decisions.

What were the challenges and how did you overcome them?

Board Infinity, a career-tech company established in 2017 aims to impact the entire skilling ecosystem using its unique expert-led model and live classes across domains. It connects career aspirants with industry experts for focused learning, guidance, mentoring and support. It also prepares and connects people to relevant opportunities and helps them to realize their career dreams. Founded by Abhay Gupta and Sumesh Nair, Board Infinity uses its technology platform to serve customers across 45 cities in India.

Challenges – Initially, it was challenging but venturing into the unknown of solving a problem they cared about was exciting. The initial support was, of course, some money saved from previous jobs.  But most critical was finding the right business model and go to market. We started initially B2B to build credentials, but with the eventual aim of going B2C. Once we started B2C, things scaled rapidly.

Secondly, career-related confusions and questions are answered by an established uncle/parent/friend in the family, some friend/senior who might have done well in their careers. Few people understand that career building is a truly personal process; what worked for one person doesn’t necessarily work for you.

How did you build the core team (co-founders and initial employees)?

Abhay and I come from SPJIMR, we both did our master’s in business administration there. We complement each other on our skillsets and coincidentally had a great passion for the education space.

After thorough research and taking our previous experience in this space, we set up the company. After partnering together we built out our core team of people in academics, technology, sales and operations and currently we are 50 members strong.

What has been your business growth till now?

The company has shown tremendous growth of 8X year on year. They currently serve customers from 45 cities. They have 125 plus active hiring partners on a monthly basis, and 700 experts currently available to teach.

Board Infinity believes it will be scaling new heights in the future as it targets 10X growth in revenue over last year. With a firm footing in Mumbai and a powerful presence in Noida, Gurgaon, and Bengaluru, the brand is hoping to expand further into other major Tier 2 cities across India.

What is the one thing that sets you apart from your competitors?

Speed of course, affordability of course, outcome after course – we are innovating ourselves daily in these 3 parameters – this is what our customer wants.

Our business model involves training fees and post-placement fees. If within 6 months of placement eligibility, customers are not placed, they are given cashback.

Funding

Board Infinity has raised Rs 2.2 crore in an angel round from a clutch of angel investors. Prominent angel investors who participated in the round include Ambarish Raghuvanshi, Ex-CFO of Infoedge, Maheshwer Peri, Founder of Careers360, Vishal Soni & Ritu Soni, Founders of a Health & Wellness startup,  Manish Gupta, Founder of ed-tech accelerator UINCEPT, Nirmal Singh, MD of Atraxn Ventures and Founder of Wheebox, Sridhar Rallabandi, Ex-President of Axis Bank, Angel Network Middle East and other individual investors from organizations like Bain & Co, DBS, Tata group, Expedia, Microsoft, Flipkart, Xiaomi, GE, etc.

Future plans

We will horizontally expand with the same concept across different domains of higher education and serve customers who are looking for affordable solutions to take them to jobs. Being extremely customer-obsessed has made us scale well in the last 2 years.


Sumesh Nair, Co-founder, Board Infinity

Sumesh is a highly talented and dynamic young entrepreneur who has a great understanding of various facets of business operations across a number of industry verticals. He completed his MBA from the reputed SP Jain, Mumbai.

Sumesh Nair started his career as a Senior Consultant in PwC US Advisory (previously known as PRTM Management Consulting). In the capacity of a consultant, Sumesh worked with several Fortune 500 clients. He proved his mettle in delivering multiple engagements directed at post-merger integration projects, exercises to cut-costs in companies, managing people & organization, program management, market assessments, etc. He also took care of the supply chain management strategy.

Before co-founding Board Infinity, Sumesh Nair was a fellow at the six-month-long Startup-Leadership-Program in Mumbai from October 2017 to April 2018. It is an extremely coveted 6-month program that attracts fantastic first-time and future Startup CEOs from various backgrounds renowned for their achievements or expertise. The program was first started in the year 2006 in Boston and has now expanded to 28 cities. Sumesh has also cleared CFA Level 1.

Abhay Gupta, Co-founder, Board Infinity

Abhay gained exposure to entrepreneurship from his early childhood days given that he comes from a business family. He did his MBA from SP Jain (& Global Fast Track Program from Krannert School of Management, Purdue University, USA), and has a degree in Computer Science Engineering from UPTU. He had to unlearn, re-learn, relocate, and overcome the barriers created by language. He even changed domains over the year. The graduate from Tier 2/3 engineering college went on to receive an MBA degree from a top management college.

He has over 7 years of diverse experience in Ed-Tech, Retail Facility Management and has worked with domestic as well as international clients. His entrepreneurial debut was in Facility Management, immediately after he completed his engineering education. Later, Abhay diversified the business into a Mechanized Painting Services joint venture with Painting People, Australia. Abhay led the sales and operations functions for the company. Within a span of three years, the company completed over 50 projects.

After completing his MBA, Abhay joined Future Group as a part of their young leadership programme. He led two major categories and helped turn it into one of the fastest-growing businesses achieving the P&L targets for 1.5 years. During his time at the Future Group, he worked with over 40 vendors from China, Malaysia, Vietnam, and India, taking care of business for more than 40 stores and their e-commerce arm.

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