The search for a job begins right after college for most students. It is not as easy a task as one may surmise, for the options are numerous or in light of the recent recession not so numerous. Two Young Entrepreneurs saw their opening in this very dilemma. They established CoCubes.com in 2007, to ease the troubles of job seekers across India. Harpreet Singh Grover and Vibhore Goyal told us more about their venture, they said “The name CoCubes comes from the first two letters of three words, connecting, colleges and companies. We provide an online platform for companies and training firms to engage with colleges and students, provide colleges the tools to manage and increase placement and are the place where student can find about the best job and how to get it!!”
“The opportunity is huge!! Think about it, 17000+ colleges, 4 million+ students graduating every year. There are 7 lakh private limited companies in India. If we get them to a single place it could help companies reduce costs and get better quality people to apply plus it would generate more opportunities.”
“In the last 1 year we have worked with over 300+ colleges and 30+ firms including some of the largest firms in India.”
The venture does not target the individual, but instead has a different modus operandi. Their method is mutually beneficial for the one seeking job and the company seeking an employee. They explained saying “We charge colleges an annual fee for coming online. Individual students cannot register. We only sign up with colleges and get only authenticated data. Students can also pay to build a video profile.”
“We charge companies on a per campus basis to hire through our platform. We help large companies by bringing the entire campus recruitment process online for them; getting to know how many students are available, remaining in touch with those students till they join etc, a lot of things!!”
They also have a plan for the future. Owing to the scale and prospective size of their venture, the duo is contemplating shooting for the stars. They said “Well, we intend to sign up more and more colleges and companies, and sow a pan India sales team and a centralized operations team from Gurgaon. We are already working in 12 states across the country with paying clients.”
Harpreet explained why he became an entrepreneur with some astute reasoning. He says “Actually no jobs today are 9-to-5. They are all 9-to-11 or even 12. At least mine was. So why not work hard for yourself instead? But the key reason was that I kept on getting ideas which I believed would work, so you don’t want to end up being 40 and think, I could have done this and that. I want to be 25 and doing it!!”
Vibhore also has somewhat similar reasons for being in this field, he says “Over all 9-5 job could give you the freedom you want, additional work if you are workaholic, more money than you would want but not the challenge I was looking for. The zest to be involved in the every aspect of the business, from concept, design, creation, sales, operation & execution was one of the key reasons!!”
The biggest test for them initially was changing the mindset of how the campus operates; colleges would rather use the offline process of literally meeting companies using only brochures and communication with students through phone or email even though it is very inefficient. CoCubes partner campuses can invite companies to see their campus and students online and at the same time communicate and take response from students very easily.
They hired a lawyer to do a deal with investors early on and that proved to be the bane of their existence for a while. Their mistake cost them monetarily, as they explained saying “We ended up spending 3 lakh rupees on them and not doing the deal, so essentially we were in deep trouble. But we called them up, said we cannot pay you right now, but we have the intent to pay, so give us six months. In 6 months we closed our round with Ojas Ventures and paid them!!”
The two of them also ran the rounds when it came to gathering funds. They recalled their bid for seed capital saying “Both of us put in a lakh each to start the firm. Then we took some seed capital from our parents, then our old managers, then our managers friends and finally the VC round. We actually believed at some point that we can make a 100 crore firm starting with 2 lakhs.”
In the last year of operations they worked with more than 300 colleges and 30 firms. The initial year was spent developing and debugging the platform. They currently have a team of 15 people working out of Gurgaon and Mumbai. They also revealed their biggest achievement so far saying “Attracting good people!! Our concept of CoCubes is so unique that it has helped in getting amazing people to apply and they have stayed on with the firm!!
Being recognized by their clients receiving glowing testimonials has given them a boost of confidence in their capabilities. They have thus never felt the temptation to relinquish their dreams. They answered saying “Never. But if you ask were there low points? Yes there were, number of times. This is where having 2 founders help. You support each other through tough times and last them and come back stronger.”
They love what they are doing and revel in their work. They stated “The excitement of doing something new, the challenges of executing it and the fun we are having. It is like we are back in college but working on a project we like without a professor in charge!!”
Their vision for 2010 is exceedingly clear cut and simple. They aim to work with a 100 companies, and a 1000 colleges.
The duo each had a different set of tips to give. Harpreet focused on the individual mindset saying “one thing that people keep saying is “we cannot do this, we have a family and I am the only guy who earns, we have a sister who is to get married”. What I want to say to them is that almost every guy who becomes an entrepreneur has the same strings; he is also being pulled by them. He just chooses to find a way around and go ahead and work on his dream. If you really want to, go ahead and do the same. After all you have only one life to live.”
Whereas Vibhore has a word of caution, he says “Entrepreneurship might end up giving you a lot of things including name & fame but before you decide to take this road, be very sure about it, since it’s a very long and bumpy road and in most cases you won’t be able to see success even when you are inches away from it!! Plus have a partner, a friend, which will make life a lot easier and finally trust the decision you make and do not regret the mistakes instead learn from them and move on!!”
Yourstory wishes the duo success with their vision for 2010 and good luck with helping the job seeking youth of India.