Studustry is a new startup in the Edu-tech domain founded by Sumit Jaripatke & Venugopal Jakhotiya in 2020 with the aim of introducing experiential learning to college students. 25% of India’s graduates are currently unemployable while 62% of employers in India feel that college students are unprepared for the challenges they will face in the real work world. Close to two out of three employable engineers are outside the top 100 engineering colleges. Companies are spending around 3-6 months on hired students to make them employable so that they can start delivering the required output. Both the Studustry founders – Sumit Jaripatke & Venugopal Jakhotiya want to solve these problems by connecting college students and companies via part-time student-industry projects and create a win-win situation on both sides.
Studustry provides a central platform for students to work on industry projects. Aside from the marketplace for matching student teams with industry projects, the app provides our proprietary project management features along with student focused feedback and evaluation rubrics. All relevant (project performance and feedback) information about a participating student will be displayed on a centralized Studustry portfolio page for industry partners to hire from.
Companies get to engage with talent & evaluate their employability over a longer duration than resume based hiring while also collaborating with them to conduct research and get projects completed.
Higher education in India has, for long drained student minds by focusing on same old text book learning and theoretical examinations. Through Studustry, India’s only experiential learning platform, we are changing how students assimilate knowledge. Our platform allows industry partners to provide guidance to students strictly through real world problem solving projects. Our mission is to partner with the leading minds and help India’s large pool of young talent be more prepared and aware of real world requirements.
Students thirst for job-like experiences during their college days but are provided limited avenues to get such experiences. While companies and colleges lack a medium to conduct research and develop employable talent. Studustry would bridge this gap. Private sector in India can kickstart research funding and capability development via Studustry towards an Aatma Nirbhar India in the post-covid era.
The educational management and technology industry has been booming for quite a while globally as well as in India. There are a lot learning mechanisms available for students but there is none which provides college students with ways to connect with companies and get productive work done with accountability.
If India has to become self-sufficient in research and development and get ahead of our neighboring countries in terms of manufacturing, we have to focus on improving research capability right from the college stage. Integrating faculty, students and companies together in real-world problem-solving projects would be the first step in this direction. We have seen a lot of support from all 3 of these stakeholders for such a platform and we are planning to scale this up on the national level in 2021.
Leveraging the Pandemic
Obviously, the pandemic was bit of a setback for our previous startup – The Stencil. We had a few bad experiences when we were hiring for the Stencil and thus realized the need to have a more employable workforce made available for companies. Getting traction for marketing the concept during and after lockdown was slow because of the remote nature of meetings with both students and companies. But we decided to take advantage of the fact that everyone was at home, and focused on social media marketing and online outreach program. Reaching out to companies via social media and conducting webinars with college students has given us the necessary reach to start with our pilot phase this month and we are happy with the response we have got so far.
Both the Studustry founders have studied and experienced the educational methods outside of India where the project-based way of learning and up-skilling yourself has been well accepted and practiced. We are currently a bootstrapped startup funded by the 2 co-founders. Once we have successfully executed the pilot phase, we would be looking to raise funds in order to ramp-up app development and marketing to reach out to more and more students & companies across India.
Sumit Jaripatke (Co-Founder and CEO) – BS (Michigan Technological University, USA) . Work for Sensata Technologies, Boston for a couple of years before returning to India and starting The Stencil. Sumit currently heads the development and Creative team at Studustry along with leading all the process flow and app content discussions. Draws from his own experience of leading project teams during his time at Michigan Tech.
Venugopal Y Jakhotiya (Co-founder and COO) – BE (MIT Pune), MS (Michigan Technological University, USA). In the past, he has has worked with Fiat-Chrysler Automotive & Mercedes Benz USA before returning to India and starting The Stencil. Currently, he handles the marketing and student and industry connect for Studustry along with app testing and high-level guidance for the development team.
Venugopal studied in India for his bachelor’s and then did his Master’s from the USA. During his undergraduate education, he always felt the need to get connected with companies to learn something outside the classroom but could not find any avenue to do so. Once in the US, he realized the importance of project-based learning when he talked with Sumit, his roommate at the time, about how his bachelor’s education was going about at Michigan Technological University. The intricacies of various domains were much better understood when students get to do real-world projects.
Once we moved back to India we co-founded the Stencil. Soon we realized that there was a dire need for more employable fresher talents and our idea of Studustry which had long been in our minds, came to fruition. The pandemic was a blessing in disguise as it gave us additional motivation to come up with this platform sooner.
Initially we were planning on starting Studustry development in 2021 but with the pandemic we started developing the application in October and we currently have an MVP ready to be rolled out to students and companies. We are seeing excellent response from students, educators and companies that we approach about this idea and we plan to leverage this into generating several success stories with our debut projects and empower students to propel their career in the right direction.
Going from Strength to Strength
The founding team’s experience and vision is our biggest strength. Both the founders want to create a social impact platform for higher education in India by providing students with opportunities to find their forte even before they graduate, which is what is ideal. This would even solve the root of the problem faced by companies of high training and hiring – Get more employable talent.
We would rate our adaptability, novelty and frugality as our strengths as these are the qualities that have led us so far at break-neck speed. Using these qualities we have converted our hindrances into opportunities and hope to go even faster in the near future.
One can easily have brilliant ideas and a raging desire to succeed, but it’s not just the need for money that can make a company a success, one still wants employee satisfaction because it’s the biggest ingredient in an entrepreneur’s growth. One also wants a strong team when building a company. Sumit ensures that their staff is progressing, and instead of only concentrating on weekly ratings, both the founders concentrate on making the team do a great job. Not only do they take personal sessions to help them become stronger supervisors, but this also serves to build a dialogue for the team.
Addressable market and opportunity?
There are crores of students enrolling into thousands of colleges each year in India with the need to make themselves more employable, while lakhs of companies are ready to hire students right out of college. All three stakeholders face similar issues, no matter their size or stature and Studustry can provide the solution to these issues effortlessly. With our proprietary workflows and methodologies making it easier to overcome the pain-points for connecting these stakeholders, Studustry aims for a better educational landscape in India in the near future with a long term target of creating an ecosystem where practical knowledge tethered with theoretical one is imparted.
Recognition and Future:
We have been recognized by Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) as a startup in the Startup India Program.
We also got recognized and selected in the 10,000 Startups Virtual Incubation Program by NASSCOM which will reap benefits for us to get scalable traction and recognition.
We are exhibiting in the 2nd edition of Techbharat events – Techbharat 2021 and the next pre-event will be on 22 January 2021 followed by the main event on March 5th and 6th. The Studustry team will be open for discussions and questions at these events exhibiting different ideas and concepts included in the Studustry app.