Arpita SomaCo-founder at YoGrad Published On: Monday, September 21, 2015 Views 2202
“You never know how strong you are, until being strong is your only choice.”
Driven by dedication and Zeal, Arpita has always been on top of things when it comes to getting things done. Being a serial entrepreneur, she has always focused on product delivery, which has given her the image of an enterprising person. Her career spanning several years, has added many achievements to her name which include developing a network of more than 600+ clients.
Her journey towards success started after she completed her masters from University of Cincinnati in Environmental Engineering. After spending few years as a Civil engineer she went on to launch her first startup named Internfever. It helped colleges & students, find internships and paid volunteering opportunities for students. After the success of her first venture, she moved on to her second stint with a new startup called YoGrad. It is a community for students to learn, share, network, and have fun. Within a year, it has attained much credence among the student community and is headed towards higher success.
Please provide a brief overview of your product/ service.
YoGrad is an online community for students. They can look for internships and jobs on the platform, participate in online clubs for discussions with peers from other colleges and stay up to date with fests and events happening in the student community.
We also help companies showcase their brand among thousands of students through student engagement activities that include but not limited to tailored and targeted promotional campaigns, contests, surveys etc.
What inspired you to build the above product/ service?
At my previous startup Internfever, we were working with students and colleges in helping them find internships. Our purpose was to make young graduates ‘more employable’ and believed it could be done through internships.
During our journey, we realized that the biggest challenges students face was access to timely information and guidance. They could look for internships through us but dint know how to build a resume. We learnt that when it comes to a student all the dots are interconnected and our purpose of making graduates ‘ more employable’ can only be solved by connecting these dots. Through YoGrad, we are trying to provide a holistic solution – students now can not only look for internships , but stay connected and not miss out on the important happenings in the student community. We have a free resume generator tool they can use to generate a readymade resume too!
What is your life mantra?
I love and totally believe in this quote by Ruby Dee – “I am not who I’m going to be. I am always becoming.” I live by that and also feel we should have a purpose.
What was the most challenging part of your journey till now?
Startups are all about challenges. We keep facing many on a daily basis. The biggest challenge in recent times was building a team of 2500 student volunteers for the Airtel Hyderabad Marathon 2015 edition in August for traffic marshalling , manning the aid stations and managing several other activities for them on the expo and race day. Last year w recruited 1200 students and this year the number increased to 2500.
How did you overcome those challenges?
A bit of planning and out of the box thinking helped our team in identifying and buiding a team of student team leaders from different colleges who played a key role in the entire activity.
Share some details about the investments that you have been able to fetch for the business till now.
We are currently bootstrapped but we were one of the winners at TIE Smashup in January 2015. The prize was a seed fund of Rs.10 lakhs. We were backed by big names like Srini Kollipara, Krishna Lakamsani, Sri Tirumala and Vineel which was a very big thing for us.
According to you, what are the three qualities an individual must have to achieve success?
Which online tools/ services/ apps do you use the most and would like to recommend as well?
I am a big fan of twitter, linkedin and Canva. Twitter helps me stay up god ate with what is happening around while Linkedin is a great way to connect with people. Canva is an awesome design tool.
Share any one habit which you think makes you more productive.
To do lists. Before going to bed everyday I make lists for the next day.
Share any one habit which you wish to change in yourself.
Waking up late.
Answer in less than 50 words
One tip to success:
Attitude makes all the difference. One needs to have an attitude to add value to whatever they are doing.
One mistake you believe every individual must avoid:
Being afraid to ask for help.
One most important lesson that you have learnt till now:
It is people and relationships that matter the most. Everything comes next.
What are your plans for next 3 years?
Our purpose at YoGrad is to help students in becoming more employable. With the widespread access to internet and technology these days, we want to reach out and benefit to students from tier 2 and tier 3 cities also.
If you get a chance to start your career again what would you do differently this time?
Have a vision and stick to it.
What are your top three getaway destinations?
I am a water person love beaches. Goa is my all-time favorite and I can just take off for Goa any number of times.
My dream is to travel to Rio and the French Polynesian islands Tahithi and Bora Bora some day.
Share a quote that inspires you the most.
“You never know how strong you are, until being strong is your only choice.” – Bob Marley