Subhendu Panigrahi, a.k.a. the Chalta Phirta LinkedIn, Co-Founder Venturesity, is well know in the startup circle for his immense professional network.
Venturesity is a challenge and peer learning platform. They are using a challenge model to help companies discover relevant talent and hire better people. The platform allows companies to post challenges to job seekers instead of boring job descriptions. These challenges mimic real working scenarios and give the job seekers a flavor of what problems they are going to tackle in the workplace.
Recently we were lucky enough to have a candid interview with him. He shared details of his journey and experience.
What inspired you to startup?
The idea that I can build something and change the world is intoxicating. And who doesn’t like to be intoxicated and free to do things. Plus there is always a chance to make real money when you do a startup.
Who according to you is an Entrepreneur?
A problem solver.
Who is that one person you really inspired the Entrepreneur in you?
How did you come up with the idea of Venturesity?
The idea of Venturesity was never a spark of thought or eureka moment. It took us( me and my co-founders) more than a year to come up with the current avatar of Venturesity. I like this quote by Jeff Bezos, Founder, Amazon
“We are stubborn on vision. We are flexible on details. If you’re not stubborn, you’ll give up on experiments too soon. And if you’re not flexible, you’ll pound your head against the wall, and won’t see a different solution to a problem you’re trying to solve”.
We wanted to address the problem of hiring, how companies discover talent, how people find their dream jobs. We are stubborn on the vision and flexible on the tactics. We started as a job board and soon realised that there is no good talent for companies to hire. We moved to an online learning model to create talent for the new age companies but soon realised that the gestation period of building talent is long.We again moved to the challenge model which discovers people’s real capability and hence solve the talent problem.
Where do you see Venturesity headed in the next two years?
We are working every day to make hiring transparent and fun for both companies and the job seekers. We have been successful in helping companies identify right technology talent. Our plan is to apply the same model to other verticals like the design, marketing, consulting and see the success rate. We will also take this model to global markets and try to solve the hiring problem.
What were the challenges you faced when you started up with Venturesity?
Our challenges weren’t very difficult from what other entrepreneurs would have encountered on their journeys. The biggest problem which I faced was to build a good team. In fact, we are trying to solve the exact problem Though for us the difficulty wasn’t the discovery piece, but it was more about convincing people to join an early stage startup like us.
Another problem was convincing investors to invest in such a new model of hiring. We were lucky to find investors who liked our team and our way of doing things.
What is the most important thing you learned as an Entrepreneur?
The power of teamwork. A startup might be the entrepreneur’s dream, but he can’t make the dream happen without the help of a dedicated team. The early members of a startup shape up the startup and cruise it towards success. I think every entrepreneur should strive towards building such a team. I am one of the lucky entrepreneurs to have such a team.
What is the most fascinating thing about Entrepreneurship according to you?
The fact that whatever you have built is touching lives. People are using it every day and your product or service is impacting their life. I feel very inspired when people write us back saying I learnt a lot from the hackathons or hired an excellent engineer, and he/she is contributing to the work.
Subhendu is one of the founding members of Entrepreneurship Cell, IIT Kharagpur and his love for entrepreneurship led him to startup his own venture. He recently attended the Entrepreneurship Awareness Drive 2015, an annual flagship event of Entrepreneurship Cell, IIT Kharagpur, as a guest speaker. He fondly remembered the days when he used to conduct these events as a member of the Cell.
Did your experience in E-cell influence your Entrepreneurial Journey?
Absolutely! E-Cell helped realize the power of team and taught me the right relevant skills to be a leader. There was a point in time in my 5th year where I was heading a total of 50 members E-Cell right from 1st year to 4th year. I still haven’t crossed that number in my own startup.
My experience of running E- cell wasn’t very different from running a startup. We were new student body back in 2006. We had a point to prove and also create a brand in the campus.
What is your best memory of E-Cell, IIT Kharagpur?
I have a lot of things to share from my E-Cell journey, but I would like to highlight one which I always share with my E-Cell alma mater. It was the second E-Summit, and our keynote lecture was supposed to happen on Friday at 5:00 PM. We planned to have some high-quality chairs for the speakers. But somehow we were unable to procure those on time. I was giving some class test, and I got several calls from my batchmates that the session will be a failure without the proper setup. I had to convince my professor in my department to lend me some high-quality chairs for the guests. I had to take him through a guilt trip how it will be a bad PR for IIT if we don’t have a proper setup. He was convinced after a lot of effort, and we got high-quality chairs, and the event was successful. It would have taken three days actually to get permission from the administration to get those good chairs.
What would be your one advice to young Entrepreneurs in the country?
Perseverance. Just go for it.
Subhendu is part of the Legacy of which Entrepreneurship Cell, IIT Kharagpur is proud. It is alumnus like him that prove Entrepreneurship is a way of life!