Vinay Pahlajani is an indomitable soul with strong zeal to make a difference in every sphere; be it business or his life. After graduating from Bhilai Institute of Technology, he continued studied at Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur. The idea of founding LetsCATCHUP came to him when he saw millions of students graduating every year but not all were getting jobs easily. This alumni based job referral network facilitates hiring and makes it easy to get jobs based on referrals only. As of now, 11,000 graduates from 200+ colleges are using LetsCATCHUP.
Vinay Pahlajani has come a long way since his days at IIT. Call him a mentor, leader or a visionary, his skills and grit are enough to meet all titles. As entrepreneur he believes in action and believes in taking risk. Read ahead what he tells about his life and business journey so far.
Please provide a brief overview of your product/ service.
LetsCATCHUP is India’s first alumni based job referral network, which helps young job seekers through referrals and career advice from their alumni community. The platform is currently open for selected premier colleges in India and will soon expand its services to other business and tech colleges. Over 15000 graduates are actively using LetsCATCHUP for getting an instant industry network, career guidance and the referral advantage.
What inspired you to build the above product/ service?
Millions of students graduate in India every year. Most of them lack industry exposure and struggle in finding the right employment. As professionals, we use to get scores of requests from friends and juniors seeking career advice and a referral through our network. We realized that with fierce competition, it is almost impossible for them to get a response through existing job portals. Young graduates need better industry exposure and right connections to start their career and there is no prudent solution available online. We decided to solve this through LetsCATCHUP.
What is your life mantra?
Do. There is no try.
What was the most challenging part of your journey till now?
Experience is mostly an asset, which takes you through rough roads. But it becomes an obstacle at time, specially when it comes to taking risk. Unlearning from my experience was the biggest challenge.
How did you overcome those challenges?
Going back to basics and starting afresh.
Share some details about the investments that you have been able to fetch for the business till now.
We recently became a part of Asia’s #1 accelerator program, JFDI.Asia and have raised a pre-seed round. We are also backed by few angel investors.
How do you protect yourself from the problem of Brain Drain?
We don’t have any specific attrition policies, apart from the fact that every team member is a part of our big vision. We value people who are perseverant and believe in what we are doing or else its better to separate the wheat from the chaff.
According to you, what are the three qualities an individual must have to achieve success?
Success is a very subjective, but if I have to define it my way; one should have the ability:
- To take risk
- To embrace failure
- To keep going
Which online tools/ services/ apps do you use the most and would like to recommend as well?
- Google apps for utility tools
- Dropbox for file sharing
- Vonage for international calls
- Slack for team communication
Share any one habit which you think makes you more productive.
Share any one habit which you wish to change in yourself.
Extended power naps :). I have always been a nocturnal, I wish I could change this for a while.
Answer in less than 50 words
One tip to success:
Don’t chase it.
One mistake you believe every individual must avoid:
Mistakes are good. Learn from others and make new mistakes.
One most important lesson that you have learnt till now:
This shall too pass.
What are your plans for next 3 years?
Professionally, we have a big task at hand. We are changing the way people look and apply for jobs, while raising the quality of human capital in our country. Personally, I have lot of unchecked boxed in my bucket list- a lot will be covered in next three years.
If you get a chance to start your career again what would you do differently this time?
In retrospect, it is easy to identify the mistakes and think of what we could have done better or different. Like starting as a computer engineer would have given an edge for doing online startups. But, I got into startups because of the choices I made in the first place. So I’d like to stick with that. More importantly, I have fantastic people and friends in my life, because of my professional choices. I’ll not trade that for anything.
What are your top three getaway destinations?
Anywhere and everywhere in the mighty himalayas.
Share a quote that inspires you the most.
“The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why”
- Mark Twain