This headline from a Forbes August 2018 article aptly describes the function a mentor performs within the entrepreneurial journey of a startup founder or a wannapreneur. However, with India main the worldwide charts as the 1/3-biggest startup ecosystem — with more than 39K startups and a million greater eyes dreaming in their personal ventures — finding the proper mentor to help start and scale a organization is not any easy assignment.
There are systems like LinkedIn, AngelList, and Meetup that permit entrepreneurs to attach and build hyperlinks with enterprise experts. But the method is damaged and time-consuming and there may be no guarantee of ‘if and while’ the other character will respond to the shared queries.
Ranchi-based totally Simran Chhabra faced a comparable issue even as she turned into operating with Gurugram-primarily based recruitment solution issuer Beam Commerce. “I was seeking out an alliance with Flipkart but did not understand whom to reach out to. I linked with a couple of category managers however that did now not assist. Reaching out to the right man or woman became a big problem,” she says.
This incident gave her the idea to begin Colangels, a startup that enables mentor connect, recruitment solutions for startups, and crowdfunding and investment opportunities — all on one platform. She roped in own family and friends, including cousin sister Shruti Kaur, Shruti’s husband Aman Singh, and Aman’s friend Prateek Lamechwal. Together, they launched the beta model of the platform in July 2018.
Currently bootstrapped, this Bengaluru and Gurugram-based tech platform has a team of 60. Within just over six months of its release, it boasts 10K users looking for recommendation from a network of greater than one hundred mentors, along with Quikr CEO Pranay Chulet, Paytm founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma, and GoQii CEO Vishal Gondal. In the sphere of recruitment, it presents answers to clients along with Alibaba, Instamojo, ShopX, Chaayos, Urban Ladder, MilkBasket.
Colangels is exploring segments in particular — recruitment and mentor join — however both of these are already crowded. For instance, within the money-making recruitment vertical, the opposition is difficult with mounted players including Naukri, HackerRank, MercerMettl, WheeBox. Colangels, but, is offering mentoring opportunities totally free at gift and is yet to construct a monetisation version around it.
So, how does the startup plan to create a differentiation as well as build a sustainable commercial enterprise model to maintain in the long run? Inc42 linked with the founding crew of Colangels closing week to understand this.
Bridging The Gap Between Entrepreneurs And Mentors
Kaur defines Colangels as, “COLlaborate with COmpanies and COLleges in a way so that they GEL with each other for mutual boom and end up becoming an ‘Angel’ for the startup community.”
Simply placed, the Colangels founders’ undertaking is to foster some of verticals for startups to connect to mentors and traders for angel and crowdfunding investments. On one hand, those connections regularly open up funding opportunities for startups.
On the opposite hand, mentors get to learn about exciting technology, thoughts, and efficient groups, which they are able to make use of of their very own ventures. Or they can take gain of a being first mover and get an equity stake in the promising startups at an early level.
The startup additionally helps other offerings including aggregating coworking spaces, finding ability interns, expert networking, and crowdfunding campaigns. “Colangels can assist college students with their internships and getting placed in startups where they could show off their talent and develop exponentially,” adds Chhabra.
How It Works
The user definitely has to check in at the Colangels platform to connect with mentors. Each profile created at the platform is going thru a 5-level verification technique wherein information such as the idea, crew, market size, scalability of the idea, and the revenue version of the startup are demonstrated. This is performed so the users can get exactly filtered alternatives of the mentors — termed as “Angels” — which might be relevant to their requirements.
Singh explains that customers “earn” a hundred and fifty Angels after they sign up on the platform, a hundred Angels on finishing the complete profile, and 25 Angels once they send pointers to their connections.
“You burn Angels when you try to do an Alliance and while you hook up with a Mentor or an Investor. And the burn of Angels whilst connecting to a featured mentor or investor is high, so we advise startup founders to apply their Angels accurately,” he provides.
From the options thrown up by way of the engine, the person can send elevator pitches to mentors and buyers. In order to avoid flooding of inboxes, every consumer gets a set quantity of “Angels” (mentors) primarily based on his/her profile whom they could attain out to. Typically, responses are acquired inside forty eight hours.
A Startup With Its Heart In The Right Place
Chhabra says that to start with, it become difficult for the group to secure time slots with enterprise professionals (CEOs/CXOs, and so on) who could be capability mentors on the platform. “But, as soon as we helped them understand the version and the difference the platform can bring in the startup ecosystem, maximum of them agreed to be part of it,” she adds.
Today, the startup goes sturdy. One of the feathers in its cap is an affiliation with the Jharkhand authorities through which it's miles supporting enhance the startup environment of the nation. Colangels is likewise elevating funds thru a crowdfunding campaign known as ‘Voice of Slum’, via which it'll help greater than a hundred slum children across the usa get an education and impart the skills to make them employable and deliver them a higher hazard at life.
“In the coming months, we will be organising crowdfunding campaigns for social startups as well which have a clean monetisation version in area,” says Chhabra.
With Bengaluru, Delhi/NCR, and Mumbai being the essential traction-generating towns, Colangels is also seeking to attain a person base of one Mn through the cease of 2020. Further, the crew plans to amplify across global borders in mid-2019 starting with Southeast Asia. “That’s while we can take Indian talent from Tier 1 faculties to SEA for internships and full-time placements as there may be a massive growth in call for for Indian expertise,” introduced Singh.
Will Colangels Be Able To Succeed?
According to Forrester studies, round sixty five% of the startups that raised funding among 2014-2017 had been searching out hiring partners, alliances, and mentor join. As stated in advance, there exist gaps in the startup recruitment and mentor join phase. With its personalised technique, Colangels can truely make a distinction in permitting startup founders to connect with mentors and the right employees on the proper stage of increase.
The commercial enterprise model seems pretty hard to monetise even in the long run considering how price sensitive the Indian target audience is. Plus, Colangels doesn’t assure that the mentors will answer all of a person’s queries, so there may be usually the opportunity that some questions may match unanswered, growing agree with problems for the consumer.
However, Colangels already has a monetisation version in location with its recruitment solutions and boasts a great listing of customers. This can create sufficient traction for the startup and bring in sales for it to maintain its efforts inside the area of mentor connect.
Also, the fact that Colangels’ recruitment answers aren't precise to a particular segment, with the focus being on startup staffing wishes in trendy, gives the startup the scope to create a much large portfolio due to the excessive attrition costs confronted by means of early to boom-degree organizations.