CareerLabs: Building a Road Map of Success for College Graduates

Jeenal Jain Jeenal Jain
Oct 20, 2021 11 min read
CareerLabs: Building a Road Map of Success for College Graduates

Company Profile is an initiative by StartupTalky to publish verified information on different startups and organizations. The content in this post has been approved by CareerLabs.

Bangalore-based CareerLabs is an EdTech platform helping young professionals and college graduates build a concrete road map for their careers. It is India's first Profile-Building Platform to help students prepare for their professional life beyond college. The startup has conducted more than 150 Recruitment drives and partnered with various other industry leaders like DR. Reddy's, HelloIntern for exclusive programs that bring students closer to the industry and provide direct Job Opportunities.

StartupTalky interviewed Mr. Santosh P N (Co-founder & CEO, CareerLabs) to get insights into the startup story and the roadmap of the organization. In this article, you'll know how Byju's ex-team founded CareerLabs, its business model, future plans, and more.

CareerLabs - Company Highlights

Startup Name CareerLabs
Founders Santosh P N (CEO), Krithika Srinivasan (Director, Service delivery)
Headquarters Bangalore
Founded 2019
Industry Edtech

CareerLabs - About and Vision
CareerLabs - Market Opportunity
CareerLabs - Inspiration and Idea
CareerLabs - Product/Service & USP
CareerLabs - Founders and Team
CareerLabs - Name, Tagline and Logo
CareerLabs - Business Model & Revenue Model
CareerLabs - Startup Launch
CareerLabs - Challenges Faced
CareerLabs - Funding & Investors
CareerLabs - Competitors
CareerLabs - Tools used to run the startup
CareerLabs - Awards and Achievements
CareerLabs - Future Plans
CareerLabs - FAQs

CareerLabs - About and Vision

CareerLabs is on a mission to enable 1 million students to learn and earn better with the necessary guidance. Most students in college aspire to land their dream job, but due to the lack of industry-relevant skills, they end up in the wrong placements. Students in their initial careers need hand-holding; at CareerLabs, the team offers students more than six courses that fit their interests and strengths with its career recommendations track. It is a year-long journey that students take up with CareerLabs and with real-time projects and hands-on experience at the end of the courses. These projects and experiences help students kick start their careers.

CareerLabs Growth
CareerLabs Statistics

CareerLabs - Market Opportunity

CareerLabs services undergrad college students to pursue up-skilling towards higher studies and placements. This is enabled through courses, test preparation classes, consulting services, and self-learning modules. It caters to all graduate students across India. The opportunity size for this market in India is $2.51 Billion that covers skilling, certification, and higher education.

In the next five years, the market opportunity of Career Labs is -

CareerLabs Industry Details
CareerLabs Market Opportunity

CareerLabs - Inspiration and Idea

PN Santosh (Co-Founder/CEO,) Krithika Srinivasan (Co-Founder/Director service delivery), and Prasanna (VP, People & Process) have been part of leadership roles at Byju’s. Santosh was one of the founding members of Byju's from 2008 to 2019. He was also the first student of Byju's in 2007 and first employee in 2009. The relationship with Byju's goes long. Santosh was looking after the entire test preparation domain in Byju's where he was helping students with GRE, GMAT, MBA admission in India & abroad, and anything related to college students going for a master's program.

Krithika, now Co-Founder and Director of Service Delivery at CareerLabs, joined Byjus where she used to take care of Admission Consulting services. Krithika is a double master's from the University of Michigan and also India's only Harvard-certified admission consultant. Prasanna who later joined the team at Byju's is an IIM Bangalore graduate and was looking after the B2B marketing initiatives.

Clocking $4 million in revenue and on the way to hitting $10 million, the trio had already built a massive connection with colleges and was actively servicing around 15,000 students for Byju’s. In 2019, this college segment became smaller and smaller as Byju's started focusing on school students. Whereas, the current founding team of CareerLabs was always determined to serve the college segment. Thus, the decision to start CareerLabs was marked upon in August 2019.

The idea here was to have a solid focus on college, their students, and help them in their career path, whether it's a master's program or getting into a perfect job. They started with a hundred-member team and now have close to 200 members with base offices across Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad, Delhi, and Mumbai.

Santosh PN (Co-founder & CEO) added - "The inspiration was, if you go to any college today, not more than 20% of students want to think about a master's as their primary choice after graduation. Majority of the students are looking for jobs, and it's understandable. Many of them would have taken a bank loan to do a master's for graduation, a family situation, or might be looking for a break. All of this pushes them towards taking up a job. So many college TPO, Principals, Chairman, and students came to us and asked, why don't you help our students in terms of getting a good job, because that is a primary requirement"

CareerLabs - Product/Service & USP

CareerLabs predominantly works with pre-final engineering college students where the students join its flagship one-year-long profile builder program.

CareerLabs - Service/Product
CareerLabs Profile Builder Platform
  1. Career Discovery & CareerWizard: When students sign up for the program, the team at CareerLabs first moves them from confusion to clarity. They help students understand the best-suited platform. They call this step Career Discovery. What happens in the space is, students take a bunch of diagnostic tests, the data is fed into the recommendation engine called CareerWizard. This helps the team to map the data to the right career track. It's an AI-based recommendation engine. Krithika (Co-founder) is the brain behind the design and modeling of this engine.
  2. CareerLabs has successfully built some attractive models, where the moment a student enters the platform, the model can map the student to a cohort of students in the last few years. Based on this data, it recommends the top six career options, which are the students' best fit. Β 
  3. This journey is mostly completed in the 3rd year of college; now, when students enter their 4th year, they have to decide whether they want to go for a job or go for a master's program. Depending on their decision of a job or a master's program, CareerLabs prepare them accordingly.
  4. For instance, in the case of employment, CareerLabs does the finishing school aspect where the team focuses on actual soft skill training, technical interviews, and prepare for the recruitment drive they conduct on their platform.
  5. In a master's program, the startup prepares the students for entry-level exams like GRE, GMAT, etc., and helps them get into a good and best-fit master's college.

USP of CareerLabs: It has 55+ career tracks on its platform and the team works with the industry with relevant industry-related content on the platform. The recommendation engine has been a huge hit amongst the students, one of the major reasons why they sign up for programs with CareerLabs. It is the only platform in India that is focused on providing end-to-end solutions to help students build their Profile for various goals in Higher Studies and Placements.

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CareerLabs - Founders and Team

PN Santosh (CEO) and Krithika Srinivasan (Director service delivery) are the founders of CareerLabs.

  • Santosh drives Revenue and growth
  • Krithika drives Service Delivery and Operations
  • Prasanna drives People and Platform Product
  • Current team size: 200+ Employees
Founders of CareerLabs
CareerLabs - Founders and Team

Commenting on the work culture and hiring nature of CareerLabs, Santosh said -

As a team who has been inside BYJU’S and seen growth, we knew from day 1 that the right culture and right values with aggressive growth are the foundational DNA of CareerLabs. When we are working directly with students and hand-holding them to craft their careers we cannot afford mistakes. Hence the culture is highly individual ownership driven that enables us to scale holding the right values.

When it comes to career options, students need to explore, experiment, and then decide the right path. What better way to do it than in a Lab, that lets them experiment and explore their Career options before deciding, with proper guidance. Thus 'CareerLabs' - the go-to place for all your career needs.

#Discover #Explore Β 

CareerLabs - Logo

CareerLabs - Business Model & Revenue Model

CareerLab's Products, Services, and Courses are the revenue-generating units of the business. Customers subscribe for the use of its platform and services on an annual basis. It generates revenue through subscription fees.

It also generates revenue when students take upon the online courses available on its platform. Through the platform, customers upgrade to learning and skilling courses which generate the second part of revenue. Outside of the platform customers directly enroll in its courses which generate the 3rd part of the revenue.

CareerLabs - Startup Launch

CareerLabs had a running channel of college partnerships which the team leveraged to engage and onboard the first 100 customers for the flagship profile builder product. Though they had the tools to automate this process, the team decided to opt for a manual approach to get first-hand feedback from each student at each step and of course, correct the workflow and services. This helped them in tweaking their product.

"Students don’t join us for a course, they join us for a journey", Santosh added. It’s long and it’s rewarding. This is the basic approach they take up in the platform. Students who enroll, travel this journey as a group with other peers in the program, and hence there is inbuilt community support that drives participation and completion. The user retention is anchored on the DNA of the Platform.

As a platform for students' skilling and growth, CareerLabs brings all stakeholders into a single place to let interactions and synergies evolve. This was strategically planned so that they had various engines of teams and platforms running for each stakeholder of this platform. It had a student engagement engine and the team kept scaling their outreach to the level that as of now CareerLabs has reached out to more than 200,000 students and engaged them actively.

Colleges trust CareerLabs to deliver what it promises due to various strategic moves like the partnership with AICTE. CareerLabs is the official partner of the AICTE NEAT 2.0 initiative under the Ministry of Education, GOI

There is a Corporate outreach engine that engages and brings in meaningful opportunities for students including exclusive workshops, job opportunities, internships, and industry-led training programs. The startup has conducted more than 150 Recruitment drives, partnered with various other industry leaders like DR. Reddy's & HelloIntern, and signed an MoU with Tech Mahindra for exclusive programs that bring students closer to the industry and provide direct Job Opportunities.

A variant of its offerings is a CareerLabs Assured Placement Program, this program was an instant hit amongst college students.

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CareerLabs - Challenges Faced

Just like most initiatives, CareerLabs also faced pandemic challenges. The resolve of the team was to the level that they met the Covid-19 challenge head-on. With so many uncertainties for students and colleges, added to that economic downturn that dried up the job market for freshers, the CareerLabs team worked round the clock to help students in these difficult times.

While the startup's revenues also took some hits at an early stage, it recovered well with full digitization of its student engagements and brought one step ahead on adjusting the evolving behaviors and learning patterns of the students. As a brand that is taking students through the journey of Profile Building, CareerLabs’ major challenge was to evangelize the concept of Profile building for students. 90% of students were unaware of this. Students were under the impression that doing a course or a certification can land them a job! This led them to sign up for run-of-the-mill services where they ended up losing money and time.

CareerLabs started by evangelizing the concept of Profile building through workshops for more than 1.5 Lac students over 1.5 Years continuously both physically and digitally. This was building India’s 1st Profile Building Platform in the form of the ELEV8 App that provides students an experiential journey for students.

As a startup that is ambitious and rapidly scaling, the team experiments at the frontier opportunities and technologies. One of its experiments that worked well is the recent initiative to organize placement opportunities for more than 3500 students from Engineering colleges in Telangana within a span of 3 weeks. Β 

CareerLabs - Funding & Investors

CareerLabs has raised USD 2.2 Million in its Pre Series A funding (equity funding).

It will be spending 30% of this funding for technology development (including enhancement of the AI-based recommendation engine and completely automated servicing portal), 40% for new product development (including in house content development, an app for nurturing and servicing the students, and unique product for international markets) and 30% for recent talent acquisition (esp. in product, tech and sales roles).

CareerLabs - Competitors

CareerLabs, as a platform, works with students to solve multiple pain points. For each of these pain points, there will be a discrete local competition. But no one can provide a complete holistic end-to-end solution for college students at scale and at an affordable price.

Hence at a Profile Building Platform level, there is hardly any competition for CareerLabs. Nevertheless, the competitive advantage for CareerLabs comes from a combination of excellence in product, data-driven Intellectual Property. The Profile Builder Product is solutioning at a level that other course solutions providers cannot scale too. The Recommendation engine, which personalizes the entire Profile building journey, ensures students' right fit and stickiness.

CareerLabs Competitors
CareerLabs - Competitive Landscape

CareerLabs - Tools used to run the startup

  • Leadsquared for CRM
  • CleverTap for Product Data / Marketing Analytics
  • DoveTail for Customer Research
  • Jira for Project Management
  • Exotel / Ameyo for Calling solutions
  • Gsuite for Emails, among many

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CareerLabs - Awards and Achievements

CareerLabs was awarded the Future of Workforce award in 2020 for the APAC region in the APAC EdTech Competition.

CareerLabs - Future Plans

"Sustained, aggressive Growth is our mantra as we head towards directly impacting and working with 1 Million students to help them learn and earn better" Santosh added.

CareerLabs is expanding geographically across all regions in India with centers coming up in Delhi, Mumbai, and Hyderabad.

It is expanding its product portfolio to help Engineering, BBA, and soon Commerce students and colleges. Apart from this, the startup also plans to expand into various higher education admissions spaces across specializations.

The CareerLabs ELEV8 app is going to do what BYJU the learning app did in the School space. The app is providing a solid platform for students to explore, build a profile and apply to jobs and internships in a single place. The added advantage of the app is the unique Higher education options and exploration built in to cover end-to-end requirements for students.

CareerLabs - FAQs

What is CareerLabs?

CareerLabs is India's first Profile-Building Platform to help students prepare for their professional life beyond college.

Is CareerLabs an Indian Company?

Yes. Careerlabs is an Indian company headquartered in Bangalore, India.

Who founded CareerLabs?

PN Santosh (CEO) and Krithika Srinivasan (Director service delivery) are the founders of CareerLabs.

How does CareerLabs make money?

CareerLab's Products, Services, and Courses are the revenue-generating units of the business. Customers subscribe for the use of its platform and services on an annual basis. It generates revenue through subscription fees and also by selling its courses online.

How much funding has CareerLabs raised?

CareerLabs has raised USD 2.2 Million in its Pre Series A round.

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