Website – Board Infinity
Founders – Abhay Gupta & Sumesh Nair
In India, when education is still remotely reachable for the mass, getting to technology was out of their radar. However, bridging the gap and utilizing technology for the masses, Abhay Gupta and Sumesh Nair formed Board Infinity, a digital career guidance platform in August 2017.
Before beginning Board Infinity, Sumesh Nair was a management consultant with PwC US Advisory. Preceding his Marketing MBA in SPJain, he has worked in analytics counseling for a long time, for customers in the US and UK with a couple of niche organizations including Mu Sigma.
Abhay Gupta was a Future Group young Leadership Program employee. He used to deal with two classifications of HomeTown (Furniture Business) pan-India. Preceding his Operations MBA from SP Jain, he filled in as an entrepreneur in facility management for four years.
During Sumesh’s spell with Price Water house Coopers and Abhay’s time at Future Group, they got a great deal of solicitations from students on LinkedIn and Facebook to assist them out with their professional career and jobs. They understood that practically, each one of these students needed two things- an extraordinary method to get noteworthy feedback which they could use to enhance, and the relevant people who could give this input. This very thought struck their mind, and there it began! They came up with Board Infinity.
The subsequent outcome Board Infinity, which propelled its Beta version in August 2018, is a career exploration platform that assists with interfacing career aspirants with industry specialists for centered learning, guidance, mentoring, and support.
Since its origin in 2017, the organization claims, it has partnered with more than 400 colleges with 140+ employees. It enables its users to understand their career dreams. As of now, Board Infinity has an online establishment, with over 3000 students and 700+ training experts, the nation over.
Board Infinity provides online training in disciplines such as Cyber Security, Project Management, Digital Marketing, Data Science, Student Certification Programs, and Aptitude Building among others. Both the founders accept that where advances and best practices are evolving quickly, there is a need to encourage the interest for qualified up-and-comers.
In the career assessment and planning process, they incorporate a mix of both quantitative and subjective techniques on their platform. They encourage participant-driven learning. Board Infinity offers significance to reinforcing the career selector’s capacities and abilities to assume responsibility for the career advancements of its users.
Having sensed the immense measure of significant worth it can give to graduates, coaches, company employees, and so forth if such quality resources are made accessible to them at the right time.
Abhay and Sumesh, along with the entire team of Board Infinity took it upon them to clear provisions in the learner’s mechanism that oblige this significant issue. Through their component and personalized career guidance, every individual is offered an all-around characterized set of resources that isn’t simply constrained to quality career information yet is a multidimensional blend of different provisions that help them with unique aspirations and prerequisites of the learner.
What made you strike this business idea? What inspired you to start this company?
Sumesh Nair – Officially, we would have started Board Infinity 3 years back. However, experimentations, research and projects on the same field were started as early as 2010. I think, we both have played a great influence in various setups in terms of helping other people in their careers, helping them prepare for jobs and building careers. We have leveraged and built good networks which have been influential in our own careers.
After passing out from SPJIMR, during our long conversations, Abhay and I figured out that the market needs acareer platform which is driven from industry side that can solve 3 key needs holistically for jobseekers – what to choose after higher education, how to get skilled on it and how to get into those jobs. This integration of the value chain of career needs has been adopted by very few companies across geographies. It’s a harder problem to solve – but that’s where the larger value lies on the table.
Large Market – check, Great Value for Customers with Our Proposed Solution – check.
It was a no brainer, we started and cruised along.
When did you start your business?
Sumesh Nair – We started Board Infinity in the year August 2017 officially.
What does success mean to your company?
Sumesh Nair – I think it’s a moving target for us. We do not believe in success in the usual conventional way – revenues, profits alone. Very few companies have stood the test of time and relevant. We want to see if Board Infinity can stand probably for 100+ years and still remain relevant for the customer. This essentially means SUCCESS for us; it’s an act of being constantly innovative.
How are you performing currently?
Sumesh Nair – The Novel Coronavirus pandemic has impacted hard on many of the businesses but it has proven a blessing in disguise for a few businesses like ours. We have clocked a revenue growth of 400% in FY 2020 over FY 2019. The lockdown months – April & May, have recorded highest growth in terms of monthly revenue where we grew around 30% over March numbers. Board Infinity has witnessed a significant surge in traffic of 350% with the announcement of our campaign – Learn Safe Online, which was launched in the month of April. Since then, we have grown exponentially clocking 650% growth in paid learner base compared to start of lockdown.
During lockdown, the platform has been able to garner 80%+ attendance rates for its live learning programs aimed at skilling and employability.
What is the biggest risk to your company?
Sumesh Nair – The biggest risk to our company is ‘lack of focus and de-motivation of a learner’. We speak of competitors and other market risks generally but one of the fundamental tenets of education is that, only if we have an engaged and motivated learner, results happen. As a company, we do focus on these 2 aspects for our learners apart from teaching them hard and soft skills. Our experts ensure that they handhold to make our learners stand on their own with our innovative pedagogy.
What are your plans for future funding?
Sumesh Nair – We are currently in advanced stages of discussions with marquee Series A investors for growing into new markets and products and for strengthening learning technology which we currently use.
Previously in 2019, we had raised an angel round of 2.35 crores.
What is the biggest challenge you faced during your start-up setup?
Sumesh Nair – There were quite a few challenges.
Product Market Fit – Understanding core consumer needs vs. what you think, should be the ‘Product’, is the key thing we learnt along the process. The agility to iterate on your product is the key.
Second is positioning- Be something for someone vs. everything for everyone. A key learning along the journey was to understand positioning in the consumers’ mind on what Board Infinity should stand for.
Third is Team Building – Initial years’ generalists work but while scaling up the business, one needs to hire people with specific work experiences, otherwise scaling up the business would be difficult
What does growth mean to you and your business?
Sumesh Nair – Growth personally for me is an interesting topic because I have studied growth in various aspects of my life. I am fascinated with how human beings can become learning engines, and always keep expanding horizons of thinking. In Board Infinity, growth is very fundamental to our existence, a start-up by definition is high growth. We have a fundamental philosophy that as a system we only tolerate growth and no stagnancy, and if we don’t grow eventually we stagnate and die. We run this company in a very meritocratic way and new ideas, processes, features – anything that provides value for our existing customers and new customers are highly entertained.
How does your product stand different from others in the market?
Sumesh Nair – There are a few things that set us apart from most of our competitors. We have a core segment focus – early career segment and we are specialized around it. Today, we have the best placement rates in the industry for a similar company, we have the largest pool of industry experts who are instructors who teach the classes with world class curriculum focussed on early career professionals and students. The third aspect is unlike many similar players, we focus on recreating an offline experience online – which means live classes and continuous engagement using technology.
Where are your start-up services spread?
Sumesh Nair – We are based in Mumbai but our customers learn with us from all parts of India .Today, customers from across 100 cities in India access our flagship learning path programs.
What does it feel to be the founder of your start-up? How does it feel getting up every morning and getting on to work?
Sumesh Nair – It’s a great responsibility to be founder or a creator for any organization. You have to be responsible for yourself and others. We are always excited by the problem we solve and the scale at which we are able to solve. The simple fact that there is a lot of depth to solve in the problem helps us remain excited. Seeing our customers succeed is one of the greatest motivations we have.
Where do you see your business standing in the next 5 years?
Sumesh Nair – We want to be synonymous in skilling for the early career segment in the next 3 years and serve more than half a million customers in the coming 5 years through our flagship programs. We plan to reach out to new markets and strengthen our technology as we scale towards our 5 year goals.
Who supported you to stand this business and how? Please share this thing in brief.
Sumesh Nair – There has been tremendous support by multiple stakeholders. I think most of the initial support for entrepreneurs starts from their immediate family and friends. We have been lucky to have that. The next set of support was from first set of team members and customers, and then once things start picking up pace, the next set of stakeholders come through. We have some of the best angel investors who continuously support us. We are currently driving growth at unprecedented rates, which had never been possible without the support of all of them and a great team that we have at Board Infinity and the trust we have developed among our customers over these years.