Twenty19A boon for the students Published On: Tuesday, February 24, 2015 Views 4041


We all have been through that phase where the companies hired scholars directly from college itself by offering hefty packages and the rest were left with the best thing in the world “job hunting” which was such a pain.

But in the last few years, we have noticed a unique change in the hiring strategy that is being used to find the right kind of talent. These companies are now opting for internship programs to understand, judge and find the best suitable candidate.

And one of top-most player helping to bridge the gap between the companies and the students is Twenty19.

Twenty19 as most of us already know is a company that acts as a mediator between the students and the companies providing internship programs. It was an invention of Karthikeyan Vijayakumar which started in 2009 but unlike others, with a very noble cause and intention!


Image credit: www.tiltindia.co.in

So here it goes, Karthikeyan along with a friend started a business consulting firm called Exedos in 2007 and literally from scratch. Within a short span of time and obviously after a lot of efforts, they had clients from the Fortune 500 companies, as a matter fact they made USD 150,000 in revenues in the first year itself, which was really impressive!

Now around sometime in 2008, Karthik passed by a government school while he was out for a morning jog and thought that these kids missed out on so many opportunities and could make a huge difference, only if they had the right kind of resources and education.

So he started helping these kids with IT knowledge and English on the weekends and called the initiative – “Deepam”. It was like a training and internship program for the under-privileged. After sometime, a lot of people joined-in for the noble cause to help the audience that ranged from students to retired people. This idea of his brought about a lot of difference to their lives!

That’s when he thought, what if he could implement the same idea to help the students at large. When he shared this idea with some of the college students, they found it really interesting and got excited.

He then spent some more time or should we say most of 2008 hanging around in colleges of Chennai with a bottle of Limca (which he apparently loved), talking to students to understand their needs and mindset.

And finally in 2009 after a lot of research and with savings worth INR 400,000 from their previous business, he launched Twenty19.

He opted for that name because the students were usually around that age when they start searching for internships and would relate to the name.

They had a very simplified business & revenue model in place. Students had to register online with a list of their interests, preferences and the industry they wanted to work in. Then there was a quiz challenge tool that the students had to fill, through-which the companies would identify their best relevant match, saving almost 80% of the time.

And it was a completely free portal for the students but the companies had to pay for the quiz challenge tool they used. They were charged anywhere between INR 2000 to INR 9000 depending on the requirement.

In the first six months itself, they got 300 companies & more than 5000 students registered on their portal.


Now the beauty of their business was that, this was in its own way a SaaS model (Software as a Service) where they charged for their service, so there were literally minimal chances of falling and success looked imminent.

Anyway, so within a span of two years, as expected their user base grew massively to as much as 180% and now they accounted to 3000 companies and more than 1.5 lakh students from all over India and at the same time their revenues rose up by to a killer 150%. The best part was that the students from smaller states and cities who earlier missed out on the opportunities from the big companies, no more were left out.

In the beginning, only 10% of these companies paid a stipend to the interns but now after looking at the quality of students and their work, these companies no more felt the pinch of paying a stipend which usually was around INR 5000.

The opportunities that got listed on the site usually came from the technology sector, media companies, NGOs, content writing sector, ad companies, services, etc.


Image credit: www.twenty19.com

Due to the ever rising demand and supply, the site grew at the speed of light and Twenty19 which was once catering to 3000 companies and students from over 2500 colleges in 2012 was now catering to 5400 companies & 1.8 lakh students from all over India. As a matter of fact, they also found a unique eagerness amongst the companies to tap into the demand from the overseas students who wanted to intern in emerging markets like India.

With such a perfect and noble beginning the present was bound to be successful. And when we looked into their stats of 2014, the Chennai-based Twenty19 has more than doubled its user base in the last four years with absolutely no external funding and is also rumored to be in profits! Over 5900 companies including Biocon, Flipkart, InMobi, etc. have used this portal to hire interns, every month nearly 300,000 to half-a-million students use the portal to get internships and it is estimated to cross 1-million by 2015 with revenues reaching INR 60 crores. The only competition that surrounds the portal are internshala and letsintern and out of the total about 25 to 30% of the students registered with Twenty19, 10% with Internshala and 20% with Letsintern have got internships, making it a clear-cut winner.

Recently Foodpanda joined hands with twenty19 for scholarship campaign. Now students form more than 8000 colleges using Twenty19 to find internships. Also more than 8000 companies are using this platform to offer internships to students of different colleges.


YoChef puts the spotlight on emerging businesses and reputed personalities to help young entrepreneurs learn from their experiences. Watch out for posts published under YoChef to discover entrepreneurial journeys and life lessons.

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