In India, internship is often looked as a good way to pass time and even companies tend to look at interns as cheap laborers – interns are often used to do stuff which even admin team refuses to do.
But this has to change and Internshala, a startup by IIT-ISB alumnus wants to change things at ground level. While the site is currently modeled as a blog, but it’s more of a PoC (right now) and the product part should be out based on PoC’s results. Nevertheless, the team should focus on building a brand (have a logo/remove adsense) and focus on a meaningful experience to even those students who aren’t so serious about internship.
Here is a brief QnA with Internshala team on their business model/future plans:
Pi: Tell us about the people behind Internshala. Tell us about the founding team (are you guys full-time into this?).
Founding team are IIT alumni. I am an IIT Madras graduate (class of 2006) and have 5 years of global work experience (Capital One (UK), Barclays Bank, Aviva Life Insurance) in Business Analytics domain before taking the plunge and deciding to pursue Internshala full time in 2011. My Co-Founder, Ankur Khator, is a Computer Science graduate from IIT Bombay (Class of 2005) and has worked with companies likeTrilogy & Microsoft. He is involved part time.
Pi: What’s the trigger behind starting this?
Both I and Ankur (we have known each other for 10 years now) have always been excited about Entrepreneurship for a long time and the value an entrepreneur creates for a society. The idea came from personal experience of a very close friend from IIT who was recently doing his MBA from LBS and was looking for an internship in India in November 2011 and had tough time finding one. 1 million+ students look for an internship every year without any organized help, this needs to change and we will change that.
Pi: What’s the business model? You aren’t charging for the internship listing – so is it more about building a database (right now)?
Yes, at present focus is on building a scale and proving the concept. We’d look at ad-revenue in year 1 though.
Pi: How do you define ‘meaningful’ internship? Aren’t you filtering out a LOT of candidates (who mostly look for certificates and use this time to prepare for CAT/GMAT/GRE etc)
A meaningful internship is where the company derives the desired benefit (be it evaluating a student for a final hiring or getting a meaningful project done in a cost effective manner) and student gets to apply classroom knowledge to real world problems. We are NOT interested in companies who think of interns as cheap/freelabor or students who do it for a certificate. We are building screening, referral and feedback mechanisms in the portal to ensure that.
To quote the vision –
At the core of the idea is the belief that internships, if managed well, can make a positive difference to the student, to the employer, and to the society at large. Hence, the ad-hoc culture surrounding internships in India should and would change. Internshala aims to be the driver of this change.
Pi: Future plans.
Build scale and get a critical user base (both from the demand (student) and supply (companies) side) and prove our conviction in out Vision Statement right. To achieve that we are reaching out to hundreds of companies (all sizes) and students from all over India. A revamp of website to give it more professional looking feel and features is also on the cards.
Do give Internshala a spin and use the service, if you have meaningful internship opportunities available.