To say the least, it’s a tough journey, running and scaling a startup, and one must always keep the disco-lights at the end of the tunnel in sight. Just like last year, I wanted to look back and remember the positives, while we get going with another remarkable year.
# 10. We were left with wanting more:
We started the year with high goals, and an even higher aspiration to be the largest platform enabling the career-needs of every college student in India (and beyond). Most critically, we all connected on this idea, as a team, that we didn’t want to be just another cool startup or company on the block. Rather, we wanted to solve problems and provide value that has the potential to disrupt systems, challenge the way things are done and provide an avenue to a better future for society at large.
# 9. Moved to bigger, better spaces:
Until last year, we worked days and many nights out of an office (a row-house in Pune) where we ate, partied, and some of us even lived together – in true startup culture. Since 2014 meant serious scaling of business to us, we rewarded ourselves with a larger, more professional 24-7 office with room for individual work-stations, conference room & white-board walls for collaboration, a separate guest-room to crash overnight, a TT table, comfy couches, and open areas for time-outs, and of course our fully functioning (and serving 3 meals a day) kitchen.
In Delhi too, we moved to a bigger-n-better office that could handle all the action, and resonated with our ‘Let’s’ culture. Small, but awesome teams of 2-3 in Mumbai and Bangalore each continued to work out of super co-working startup spaces. It was important, that in order to grow big and build the best virtual spaces, we gave ourselves the right physical spaces.
# 8. Focused on the basics. Month-on-month growth:
With the aim to grow aggressively, we ended up covering our office walls with monthly target sheets, strategy analyses, and upcoming product changes. We put our student users at the centre of our universe; from daily user-communication (log-ins, emails, blog, social media) to enhancing the user experience, we went all out to maintain a month-on-month growth for the platform. We drove tech changes and solved bugs swiftly. We did meetings with every team with intent to measure weekly contributions in making Letsintern bigger and better.
# 7. Got a lot more companies to hire through Letsintern:
While we got more organizations on board through quality word of mouth, simple product features, and better servicing plans from our business team, we also tried to make our platform more ‘startup friendly’ in order to encourage smaller, upcoming companies, to hire students for relevant work-roles in their organizations.
As someone that started off with three people and one idea, we realize the importance of having just the right people to take you forward, especially low-cost teams, and so we wanted to make it simpler for people who started out just like us. 2014 saw another 4554 employers posting close to 140,000+ internship/job openings and adding fresh blood to their teams.
# 06. Worked with some of the biggest brands, such as Dell, Viber, JBL, Channel V, PepsiCo, P&G, Reckitt Benckiser, Star Movies etc :
We have been doing some incredible work under our youth-marketing outfit, Youthink. This year, we built on our strengths, our offerings and revenues, by helping brands hire and manage their large intern and student community programs/campaigns.
– Retained our clients in Dell, Ambi Pur, JBL, Vogue, QS and Channel V
– With Channel V, in our 4th year now, we bring together the most talented college students for India’s biggest college festival – IndiaFest (now known as VFest).
– For Viber, we built a web-app to engage 10,000+ college students on a marketing project to build virality and usage for the globally renowned app. In all these fantastic campaigns, we engage college students in fun and rewarding projects while bringing collective value to brands.
The best part is to hear from students who benefited from all of these projects. That makes us realize why we started out with Letsintern in the first place. For example: Ekta Shetty tells us her internship experience with Viber, JBL and Dell. Here’s Sanjana Varma who managed to take on 4 internships with KFC, Dell, Channel V and Pune Football Club, all in 6 months.
# 05. Re-launched our android app – gave importance to customer feedback:
After launching the world’s first android app for internships in September 2013, and getting a good response from students, we fine- tuned the app and re-launched an improved version. With 40,000+ downloads, the new Letsintern Android app now gives better interface and accessibility for student users who search and apply for work opportunities on the go. You can read more about the re-launch here: Letsintern launches new version of Android app | Applying to your favorite internships is now even easier!
# 04. Built an international culture that thinks global:
In order to be a company that has an impact across the world, we believe we must be a culture that is international and one that thinks for the world at large. To bring in more diversity to our teams, we’ve been open to talent from other countries. We started out with brilliant team members in Matthias Daut from Germany and Maria Popova from Ukraine. We now have Havard from Norway working with the Product Team, while Jenny from Canada brings something new to our Content table. Apart from this, Rish, my co-founder, has spent some good time this year to build connections and learn from the much coveted Silicon Valley. We are excited to build and launch global products.
# 03. Grew significantly!
Users are now finding out about us through many more channels, especially through our key partnerships that include – LinkedIn, Glassdoor, Indeed, Jooble, Adzuna, Mitula, Careerjet, Trovit and Jobrapido. We are also visible on platforms offering international internships in India like Praxis, Startupchina, Globalplacement, Europlacement and Stage plaza. In 2014 itself, we had over 1.6 million unique visitors which is a 300% growth from the previous year.
# 02. We became No.1. The most used platform for internships in India, and globally!
We’re are now ranked in the top 999 sites in India, as per Alexa Ranking. We grew beyond all competitors in India and around the world. We aim to enter the next league now, where we see the next Facebooks and the Twitters of the world as our competition.
# 01. We have spent the last 3 months working on new products:
This has been the most awesome and rewarding thing that we achieved in the past year, where we spent most of our time, and energy in R&D. We went through a majority of the last 90 days brainstorming ideas and taking down inputs from every team, to come up with something that appeals to the user psyche even better. We can’t wait to launch our new products this year that aim to revolutionize the way you will engage with your work. It’s going to be legen – wait for it – dary.
All of these benchmark moments have come with unparalleled learning, and it would never be possible without the amazing team that we are and with all your support and best wishes.
On behalf of: Abhinav Sharma, Advyit Varma, Akash Chadha, Akshat Goel, Ankit Sachdeva, Ankit Saxena, Chaithanya Bhati, Chetan Gawai, Dipak Turankar, Gaurav Arora, Gaurav Misra, Havard Dalen, Hussain Zaheer, Jenil Malavia, Jenny Chan, Joshua George, Karan Kumar, Karan Nathani, Karishma Mehra, Neha Batra, Nouman Khan, Rishabh Gupta, Salman Noor, Sidhant Chopra, Soham Sinha, Sudeep Ghosh, Surbhi Dhawan, Tanya Roy, Tripti Saxena ; A.K.A Letsintern team.
More from Pranay Swarup:
On the Co-founder’s hard-drive | 11 must watch movies for an Entrepreneur.
How to go from ‘What to do’ to ‘Done’ in 7 simple steps.
10 awesome things that happened to my start-up in 2013.