Business Idea: Solving Entrepreneurial Talent Crunch

Scarcity of talent is not a new paradigm especially if you are an early stage startup. You don’t need to believe me, rather keep 10 entrepreneurs in a room, shoot this topic and you will find the answer.

At RouteGuru also we keep accepting resume'(s) but it is seldom that we find someone competent enough to call for the interview process. No Job portal for that matter comes to savior, even more, they offer the problem of finding the ‘Needle in the haystack‘. Startups can’t afford to do that often.

Recently, I felt so stressed to have this problem that I thought of visiting some campuses for the programming classes on weekends, to find someone with good aptitude and programming instinct. Though this may solve the problem w.r.t. freshers, how to solve the need for hiring right experienced talent?

Brainstorming through this idea I realized that this being such a big problem offers even big a business opportunity as well. But then there are so many innovative ways people are trying to solve this problem already like Linkedin, techTribe, Consultancy firms, unconferences and the coffee meetups etc.

Consultancies on one hand becomes an expensive affair, while other means demand a lot of time, effort and diversion in focus. All that an early stage startup struggles to save. Thus, arises the need to find references by the network of people you trust.

Lets say X trusts 10 people named 1 … 10. In today’s scenario X requests all these 1 … 10 people to find one suitable person. Should X be fortunate enough, he finds a reference about Y from one of these 10 trustworthy connections. Now it is between X and Y to finally decide if they would want to work together. Typically it demands several meetings between X and Y to communicate about the startup better and to arrive at a decision whether Y can/should join X or not!

Not all the time X & Y meet at X’s garage office and thus, Barista(s), CCD(s), Five star hotel lobbies, Pizza corners etc. offer them a solution. Over a course of at least 3-4 meetings, X realizes that he has spent over thousands of rupees and so much of the precious time, yet Y is not sure of join him at all. Doing so much of investment with no return guarantee is definitely not good for the health of the startup.

Now should X be fortunate enough (again) Y joins him. Though fortune doesn’t offer so much modesty to many of the startups. Thus, this too seems like an inefficent method of hiring for the early stage startups. If you are struggling for the next month’s salary, even worse.

This model gives so much space for the fortune to play, I wonder if there could be a better model, where an early stage startup can just plug n’ play with small investments (even higher) but with the return guarantee, without investing much of their time and focus?

This reminds me of the “VidyaMandir Classes (aka VMC)” that I heard a lot about during Engineering entrance preparation days. VMC is known for accepting very limited but right students (with good aptitude) for their classroom batches. It is metaphorically said that almost every classroom batch student gets an extraordinary rank in the premium engineering entrance exams, more so in IITs.

How about some Engineering classes like these? Pickup students from campuses with the right aptitude, offer them practical technology learning, P.D. sessions. Focus on writing better algorithms to solve real-time problems, developing good software development practices, helping them master at least one programming language and keeping them abreast of the technology habits that they should develop like writing and reading blogs, using RSS feed readers, attending unconferences etc.

Do not offer them a job opportunity, rather inspire them to be an Entrepreneur some day. Do not hire big time faculty rather, arrange lectures by entrepreneurs themselves. Perhaps this looks like a very fundamental model but understanding the ground realities, such models offer the real potential to solve the real talent crunch startups face these days.

One might say that NIITs and Aptech(s) are already solving this problem. IMO they are almost 1 light year away from such a concept. Firstly they charge so much amount upfront from the students, secondly, ask their students, how good their faculty is? Even if someone responds positive, interview them, you’ll realize how good actually the education was.

Still unsatisfied? Visit the institute’s website and you’ll realize who developed it, which reflects the real competency of their students. They are just monetizing this opportunity because none else is actually solving it right now. In fact, they are a good testimony to the fact that there is a huge opportunity for this business to flourish.

In my elementary feasibility study, I see a pretty good potential and decent revenue model around it (which is so inevitably transparent). If someone finds this problem interesting and wants to take it further, I can help in terms of strategizing, execution planning, figuring out the innovative business model etc. without any monetary benefits, lest the problem be solved.

I’m sure you don’t really need to be a B.Tech./ M.Tech. in CS/IT or MBA from a top B-School to become a world class technologist or to be an Entrepreneur. Such platforms ensures to nurture the entrepreneurship as well.

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11 responses to “Business Idea: Solving Entrepreneurial Talent Crunch

  1. Exellent post Piyush.I really liked the your idea of taking classed in nearby colleges to seek student with right aptitude.

    But what impressed me most about your post is its honesty and openness.It sems that Indian entreprnuer as coming of ages.Earlier the trem entreprenuer is associated with being “baniyaa” which used to carry negative cannotation of a selffish and self observed leech who never like to discuss ans his story.

    It is very important that Indian entreprenuers move from small baniyaa thinking to professional wealth creations.We should first think about building pie bigger and then thining about distributing it.We all have to solve some fundamental problems in Indian ecosystem. One such probelm u discuss in your post i.e right education system.

    Talent crunch is a symptom not a probelm.Problem lies with old and dyfunct eduactions sytem whcihc instead of promoting creative.collaborative,and innovative learning support group thinking and memory based learning.instead of creating indepent thinkers and leaders they create blind followers and slaves.

    Vidyamandir is lucky that it seek only people with apptitude.But in start-ups we need poeple with atttitude,will,courage and bussiness savvy. Most talented will like to go to Vidyamandir becoz they know where they end up in the end , they seek secure future ,easy money and freedom from thinkg about roti kapada or makan.

    Start-up is not at all like vidyamandir.They dont gurrenty u secure future,lots of money,and easy life.Most fo the time they are about proving oneself,working day and night to make ur idea a reality.(0 5 start-up are failures.Life is hard in start-up and you cannot teach or groom for star-up.Its about self awareness.And no university program for this .

  2. Dear Satpal,

    On Baniyaa Behaviour – In my opinion, the lack of tools like Blog/ S.N./ twitter (in older days), which makes it ubiquitous for a person to talk more on to the personal level may have reasonably be bigger reasons for the entrepreneurs not to reveal their thought process and it was misinterpreted as they being eccentric. I don’t deny the fact that ego play must definitely be as bigger a reason as well.

    You are right that Talent crunch is a symptom but the problem, I learn this phrase from you here.

    How does it matter if VMC selects people with attitude? After all they are helping the right students get what they want and not trying to turn a non-interested-but-family-forced-aspirant to crack IIT. It is also correct that these students may be looking for a decent career and not to worry about Roti-Kapdaa-Makaan but isn’t it true that “to be able to do something different, meaningful and bigger you’ll have to eventually come out of these problems”. What is the harm in having such a thought early in life? Are we doubting the higher ratio of startups or successes that IIT’ans have contributed to the Non ones here?

    Though startups would ideally want to have people with several many attributes like you say, however, the fact on ground is that being master in one matters to startups a lot. If I’m a core C++/ J2EE expert, its easy for me to learn other aspects easily subjected to my want.

    Startups may not guarantee you a secure present but it would be wrong to say that they don’t guarantee secure future. Even if I fail to make my startup a successful venture, doesn’t the immense learning that I go through makes me a better professional? IMO I stand a good chance of landing up at a good job like anybody else. Future has not been touched negatively at all.

    Life is hard at startup only if one does not have the high-risk-high-gain apetite or to say if one doesn’t have the entrepreneurial instincts, I for one do not find it hard but interesting like never before.

  3. Thanks for ur reply.

    Well I guess you mistook my example here.I am not against VMC or questioning IITian calibre. What I wanted to say that when a guy want to join VMC situation is little different in the sense he know VMC got a very high success ratio in IIT JEE exam and even if he will unfortune to clear IIT he will still end up clearing some other important exams.Aand whole purpose of exercise ( VMC+ IIT) is to get a safe and secure job.

    How many iitain who stay in India join start-up in the initial stage of their career? I doubt number will be higher then starting singale digits.Same is true for IIMS.I am not saying what they do is wrong.They are doing whats worked in INdia so far.Till now getting roti kapada makan was a dream of a IIT or IIm passout.There was no market to serve , technology was imported and goevernment was anti capitalist.Now thing will surely change.

    Yes you are right start-up are fun and great place to learn many thing you will learn otherwise but oly if you got entrepreneurial instinct.And when we say we lack talent I guess we are talking about lack of poeople with this instinct whomay or may not be specialist in any subject.

  4. Alright, I now understand you little better. Things were different earlier and will be different in future, Therefore, the blame-game doesn’t help fetch anything.

    Actually people are not even lacking entrepreneurial instincts but the constructive thinking abilities, I for one have always considered that Indians usually are born entrepreneurs, just that a few who do objective thinking and are able to come out of vicious social liabilities become thought leaders and many others then follow. But again its not many who became thought leaders, therefore, the ratio of people following is also less. I being one example of a follower, least I knew about Entrepreneurship during my school days or if I can ever do something big in life.

  5. I guess any one who cracks this problem, will overtake Bill Gates within a year. This is like solving “World hunger”.

    As far as, India is concerned, there are 2 problems.
    1. Talent crunch – like you pointed out
    2. Convincing people to join startups instead of services company. This might have eased out a bit now. But still no one is really coming forward to join startups. I hope you might have witnessed this in your startup lunch session.

  6. Prabhu, the “World Hunger” analogy sounds interesting :)

    However, I’m yet to come across a person who has really thought of solving it the very very fundamental way.

    You are right, the problem is there but then so was searching information over web. So the first-mover advantage is still there lying vacant.

    Also startup lunch session came with a bit unexpected results. However, I still feel, we need not generalize, perhaps not many people got to know about it. Lets see what happens in another 2-3 meetings.

  7. Pingback: India *do need* everyone! « Desistartups - Indian Startups Blog | Startup Reviews | Interviews

  8. Hi,

    Keeping the above problem in mind i started Sutra Hr which isa full services People Consulting firm which has the unique partnering model with Digital;Mobile and Internet startups and entrepreneurial companies in their quest to find,retain,assess and train talent to take them to the next level, and beyond.

  9. Hi,

    I really appreciate your idea. I am a budding enterprenuer wanting to develop a new talent solutions model. I have also been thinking on similar lines.

    Would appreciate if you could send me your personal co-ordinates so that we can network and discuss this model further.

    BR/Raghu

  10. Dear Raghu, You can email me at piyush.gupta@routeguru.com for any discussion further.

  11. To some extent http://algorithmica.co.in/ seems to be doing what you are thinking.

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