The growing competitiveness in university students has made grade point appear to have a crucial weightage in securing a future, veiling in its hype the importance of experience in students' eyes. Experience - often gained in the form of projects and internships is vital both to quench the inner intuition of our future path and for the development of a plethora of skills. Through the years, students have had to make great efforts for searching up the ideal opportunities, rummaging through a profusion of university websites and 'contacts' to land a good internship. All this made Yaman Garg, a sophomore at IIT Delhi, develop a novel idea for his start-up, "Recools".
Recools is a website and a mobile application that aims to bridge the gap between the aspirants and opportunities available in the research domain. As it is apparent, research is carried out all around the globe, and there are multiple opportunities throughout the globe- both permanent and temporary ones. Permanent ones refer to the research associates, lab assistants, and similar jobs, while temporary ones are the college internships for preferably undergraduate students in their 3rd to 6th semester. Creating such novel opportunities was not the intent; they are already available in the research domain. He aimed to structure the opportunities and present them to be deemed beneficial for both the professors and the students. Presently, the method of personal approach is quite prevalent, and some links or connections are needed to avail an excellent opportunity. He and his team are working on solving the problems faced by the stakeholders in this domain. Who are these stakeholders? They are the professors, researchers, and university students. The team at Recools provides simplified methods of refinement for their needs by conveying the professors' requirements directly to the relevant-skilled student.
The Soul Of The Startup: The Team
Yaman Garg, started working on Recools with one of his teammates. The team now has expanded into an extensive group of seven to eight people with fifteen to twenty interns working under them. Vipin Meena, who handles the design domain in the company, is an IIT Roorkee graduate, the batch of 2020. Vidushi Singh, a third-year student of BBA honors from Jiwaji University, is the content writer for the platform. Aniruddh Sharma, a second-year sophomore from IITD, is responsible for web development, and Simran Bhagat is working in the ML or Machine Learning department. Shubhendu Metariya, an IITD sophomore, handles the product development aspect. There are multiple interns from IITD, DTU, NIT Rourkela, and other noteworthy colleges.
Recools hired its first batch of interns in February for research purposes and the second in April for two months. It is right now in the third phase of hiring interns. These internships are available for people from all fields who have the skills or can acquire them. Yaman shares that Recools prefers hiring passionate individuals over skilled ones as they are more capable of learning skills and investing energy in the start-up.
When he began, Yaman Garg and his teammate always kept in mind that he needed to build the website as a priority and parallelly work on structuring and organizing the rest of the ideas. Due to a lack of apt skills in the web development part, Yaman Garg began learning web development and mobile application development to counter the shortfall. However, it proved insufficient, so he decided to approach one of his contacts to build the website. They worked with the contact, who guided them through the vital development. They have a web developer and multiple UIX designers working on prototyping and are collaborating to build another version of the website. The present version of the website recools.com was built with the aid of a free-lancer and would keep updating to accommodate upcoming features and a more seamless experience.
The start-up is actively looking for investors to help guide and expand its initiative. Currently, all of it is bootstrapped, and Yaman and one of the co-founders fund the activities. Meanwhile, the team is working on developing its product.
THE APPROACH & THE EFFORTS: HOW THE STARTUP WORKS
Usually, the team members approach professors at their respective colleges and explain what all can Recools offer them. In the last 4-5 months, Recools has talked to around 30-40 professors and figured they faced the same problem: getting connected to the right set of students for their intern. Yaman explains that most professors are convinced about the idea but tend to have a few apprehensions, which the Recools team tries to solve. A widespread apprehension amongst Professors is whether they can trust Recools with their sensitive information and hire the right people for them. The team tries to buy their trust by providing them an analysis of the candidate by experts of that domain. These professors are also given references to other professors who have worked with Recools before. The team is constantly trying to build credibility and trust so that more professors come onboard with the idea.
The primary process starts with the professors or research professionals defining their skills criteria for potential candidates for the intern opportunity. Then, during the application process, these candidates are filtered out based on their skills and expertise by professionals of that domain. This analysis is then shared with the professor, after which the selected candidates get the opportunity.
These intern/research opportunities are available on Recools' website and their LinkedIn and Instagram handle. Apart from this, the team utilizes their connections in their respective colleges like IIT Roorkee, IIT Delhi, NIT Jalandhar, DTU to spread the word about each opportunity.
The Curse Of The Pandemic: How It Has Affected Their Working
When asked about how the pandemic has affected Recools, Yaman shares that communication with professors has become trickier. The only way to communicate with them is via mail or LinkedIn, which leads to delays and uncertainty at times. After the first lockdown, the team tried approaching professors in person by visiting their offices, but the second wave hampered this. He adds, the biggest hindrance at work was when the second wave of the pandemic hit; many team members got infected or could not work due to adverse circumstances in their families. He also talks about how working remotely is still very hard. Recools being a developing start-up needs extensive discussions, which is troublesome in the online mode of work.
The Age Old Question: What Sets Them Apart
Uniqueness is generally what sets apart a brand-new start-up from companies deep-rooted in success from years, decades, and occasionally even centuries in any given domain. When asked what set Recools apart from those already successful in this background, Yaman Garg felt that as per his observation, a little or negligible similarity is present in widely used famous platforms and Recools for the purpose it serves, that is connecting the professors and students directly by matching capabilities, skills, and demand. However, some points may be laid down in this regard. Recools is not location specific and is aiming to connect the professors with students across the globe. The students need not spend hours searching on individual websites of universities, only to fail in encountering their exact preference. Instead, it collects data on the platform that allows easy matching for the students' ideals. In addition, it is providing a common platform where students, professionals, and professors can collaborate, communicate, and provide opportunities to advance in their desired field and pursue projects. Another unique thing about Recools is that it is mainly research domain focused.
Platform Enhancement: Further Intent & Vision
Recools does not aim to stop here; the team plans to take it to higher levels by enhancing it in many aspects. They aim to create sustainable software such that people keep joining them and others keep following their lead. They would be bringing multiple new ideas into fruition, first is the mentorship program for their aspirants who would be coming on board with them. There will be the provision of all resources, guidance, for instance, help in making the cover letter, preparing for interviews, and doubt clearing. The team is further working on the platform so the aspirants can seamlessly upload their Curriculum Vitae and let opportunities find them. They are constantly striving to provide better evaluations and filtering processes according to the professional requirements for professors. Other features will be introduced, which will be integrated with the latest technologies like Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence that will provide an enhanced evaluation and filtering of opportunities and provide an incredibly simplified personal experience.