Jerome Josephraj is a passionate businessman who identified the dire need of creating employability in India and took to his new startup, Campus Interaction. It was difficult to grow others trust in his business idea initially so he decided to act as one man army without any cofounder. Currently he acts as Chief Technology Officer and envisions Campus Interaction as the frontrunner of making India employable in the global market.
Prior to setting up this online web and mobile portal he wore several hats and reviewed technical books, worked for BGC, Ford, and UBS. He worked for various brands in UK for a while after completing engineering from Vellore Institute of Technology but finally quit for making his business dreams true. Today he is known as a successful entrepreneur and an inspiration for his subordinates and contemporaries. Read more about his unique startup.
Please provide a brief overview of your product/ service.
Our Product Tracks, Trains and Transforms a Student’s life. Using our PET (Pre-Employability Test) we assess a student’s readiness to join an industry, based on skills a student lacks, we provide training using several engaging video courses. We engage with companies to promote the students who complete our course and transform their life by arranging on or off-campus interviews.
What inspired you to build the above product/ service?
In my last startup, I struggled to hire graduates who had the right skills. I got so fed up with employability of the students I decided to fix it
What is your life mantra?
Make India Employable in the global market. That’s the only way we can compete with other developed/developing economies.
What was the most challenging part of your journey till now?
Setting up the right team. I believe we have a great team now but took a while to build. I really miss a co-founder but couldn’t find anyone who shared the same passion as me.
How did you overcome those challenges?
It took a while to mould my team to imbibe your passion and culture but finally we have a team that I am so proud of. We have a very stringent interview process. Based on a tip from a Hubspot, we also mapped out all characteristics of our previous and current employees, who excelled in what they do and mapped out all their characters. We generally hire candidates who fit that profile and that is working out really well for us.
Share some details about the investments that you have been able to fetch for the business till now.
I have received an angel investment from an UK Investor.
How do you protect yourself from the problem of Brain Drain?
I strongly believe in empowering employees. Great salary, perks and other employee oriented benefits certainly help, but once you give ownership to employees, get them to believe that they own the startup as much as you do then rest is easy. They tend to stay as long as they can as they believe they own the startup. To give you an example, out of 8 candidates, 5 have stayed with me for the last 3 years. One person has been with me for the last 8 years (He was my first employee of my previous business).
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?
Google Apps, WhatsApp, Jira, PipeDrive, Balsamiq. I highly recommend pipedrive as a CRM tool. Jira if you want to manage your development project well. We follow Agile methodology and is very useful. Balsamiq for proto typing. Google Apps for everything else from conference call to screen sharing. Google Apps is a must have for any startups.
Share any one habit which you think makes you more productive.
Share any one habit which you wish to change in yourself.
Expecting everyone to be as passionate as me about the business.
Answer in less than 50 words
One tip to success:
One mistake you believe every individual must avoid:
Avoid giving equity to people who don’t believe in your business and don’t give up something significant (Either part of their salary or investing their money)
One most important lesson that you have learnt till now:
Dreams do come true.
What are your plans for next 3 years?
Be a market leader in India and make 3 million students employable.
If you get a chance to start your career again what would you do differently this time?
Several things; I would have taken up my entrepreneurship journey much early in my life, would have taken a year off my work to go around the world, would have focussed on one domain and would have maintained contact with each and every person I met.
What are your top three getaway destinations?
- Parent’s home at Vellore
- Pyrenees mountains in France
- Camping in Brecon Beacons
Share a quote that inspires you the most.
“You miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take”.