By @Connectvj – Interview with Mayank Pratap CEO for the EngineerBabu – Community of world class freelancers.
Mayank Pratap 28, M, 5.11’ and Single. :), hails from a very small town called “Palera” (district Tikamgarh) in Madhya Pradesh.
He did his schooling in Hindi medium school in his town and later pursued my B-tech from IPS Academy, Indore. Right from childhood, Mayank had a dream to do something big for my people as his hometown lacked even basic amenities like clean water, electricity, education etc.
I interviewed him to know in-depth about him & EngineerBabu. This is the second Interview of our Startup Showcase Series.
What EngineerBabu is – the elevator pitch
EngineerBabu is a marketplace for IT services. Building smart platform to gather requirements perfectly, automatic suitable profile filtration and leading to the remote team management.
We usually hear from our clients that Indian developers are not good, they don’t deliver on time. But as we witness, once they go abroad, they become Google and Microsoft CEO. We figured out the problem which is not with the developers, the problem lies in the PROCESS.
So, we simplified the process and now provide the smart platform to the talented freelancers and clients.
Are you an entrepreneur? Looking to hire best minds for your product development, having expertise in the required domain, within your budget? The Answer is EngineerBabu in one word :).
How It’s Started (When, where, How )?
After completing my engineering, I got placed in an MNC in Bangalore. MNCs hire talented people where most of them spend more than an hour on road travelling and two years playing table tennis. Soon I realized the dark truth of these big firms where employees are treated to work like machines without any personal life. The work culture is horrendous where one is supposed to work overtime to meet deadlines, consider boss as God and work on his commands without much using your own ideas. In the process of keeping up with the pressures, employees lose the passion and desire to learn and chase their dreams.
I decided right then that as I build my company, humans will be treated as humans and not resources. Humans are Headed, Resources are Managed, Rest will follow in place. Maintaining healthy work culture is the prime focus without compromising with the work quality.
I left my job and came back to Indore to start “Engineerbabu. It was started along with Aditi Chaurasia.
What went into the process of developing this startup and what were some of the challenges and surprises?
During the initial stage of the company, I taught software to young students in a coaching class to support my product financially. The company where I was teaching unexpectedly closed down without any intimation.
Students got worried and many of them who had just enrolled lost their money. I decided to continue to teach them for free and bootstrapping parallel with just two of us. Gradually most of them got placed with an exception of two whom we happily hired ☺ One works as office boy.
The major challenge in the initial stage was to hire people. We conducted many recruitment drives in and out of Indore to find people with the right “attitude” to fit in our culture.
Assessment of technical skills was secondary. We basically wanted people with passion to learn and explore, to pour in ideas and satiate their deepest curiosity. We never bothered about grades or marks. We provided them with one of the best work cultures amongst the startup ecosystem in Indore.
During our initial days we shared our work place with another startup to limit our expenses but now we have shifted in a bigger office with the coolest team of fun loving people.
When we have companies like Upwork, freelancer etc, How Mayank is going to make EngineerBabu
We are giving everyone the power of hiring globally and to work with the best of talents because all the talented people in the world do not live at one place. We primarily focus in building platform to manage remote teams. This enables clients ( or people with ideas) to get their work done with the best freelancers around the world.
We are going to make our platform smart enough to collect the requirements perfectly, and make it “filtration automatic” to make hiring process hassle free for the clients.
We closely take care of the clients’ needs and ideas, connect them with the freelancer having domain expertise according to the requirement. Unlike sites like Upwork and Freelancer.com where clients have to spend a lot of time in selecting the right candidate for their work with no guarantee of the end product, our team guides the client throughout the process of understanding their requirements, filtering the right developer till finally hiring the suitable one.
We are at support till the closing of the deal with the most suitable match. On EngineerBabu platform deal closes within an hour whereas on Upwork and Freelancer it may take even more than a month. We are empowering IT needs with the remotely available global talent.
70% of our customers are coming from upwork and freelancers, hoping to help more. Even G2Crowd ranked us better than other freelancing platform.
Located in small town, are you facing any issue with hiring new team members due to location?
Working in small town gives us advantage, people don’t switch jobs. They come with dreams and feels to shoulder responsibility than getting hikes. I believe in the culture of remote teams. When people realise their responsibility they just need internet and laptop.
Meeting kills productivity, we have maximum 1 hour meeting in a month. People have freedom to pick work and place of their choice. It helps us in getting work done from the finest developers, SEOs, writers around the world without being geographically close. We don’t want to miss the best talents just because they cannot manage to shift their base.
You recently raise funds, what are the key things you would suggest to (other entrepreneurs who are planning to raise funds). Challenges you faced?
Investment is fancy, everyone needs that. The pain point of many entrepreneurs from TIER-II cities is lack of knowledge. But trust me on that, if there is a viable business model, things are surely going to work out. You just have to keep patience and keep working hard. Even if you do not know the business jargon it is fine, knowing your business is essential. Tier-II cities do have a talent. Your passion for learning and a good mentorship will help you out.
Look for investment but focus on customers. Customers will only pay when you give them value, great support and services they deserve. “Excel” is not enough, make a call, know and solve their problems.
How is the partnership working out with Co-Founders? What are some of the challenges you have found as a team?
Working with team is fun, We trust each other. Everyone in the company knows monthly sales, customers, where company is heading. We have 1 hour monthly meeting where anyone can ask anything like “why Mayank travelled to Dubai? has company got any new clients? , If yes why didn’t we get party? ” We hire but don’t fire:
We are a family and we do not expel members from our family.”You don’t hire for skills, you hire for attitude. You can always teach skills.” – Herb Kelleher.
We believe in taking people on board and then nurturing and developing them. A good leader does not direct but coaches. Just like a sculptor identifies which wood to carve, a leader should identify the “right attitude” and carve out the skills.
“Happy employees ensure happy customers. And happy customers ensure happy shareholders” – Simon Sinek
What kind of traction you have? Where do you see your startup over the next year or in future?
Currently we have more than 5,000 handpicked freelancers and remote teams ready to take up any assignments. We aim to keep subscription-based B2B platform for IT companies.
We plan to tie-up with coworking spaces of metro cities along with the US, the UK, Singapore and Dubai. We also have plans to further improve our robust AI-based platform that helps us to gather project requirement.
We are beginning to groom students from the first year of college; because we saw the following problems
1. Colleges and their TPOs are trying hard to get companies to the college.
2. Engineering Students are clueless why placements are not happening, complaining colleges, teachers.
3. Teachers are still teaching BME, Physics C, C++ at Angular 4 arena due to university guidelines.
4. Every company wants to hire the best developer, struggling hard to select one after 30-40 interviews.
5. The Client complains Indian developers are not good enough though there is plenty of work to get it done.
But now interns are learning real programming than wasting time in completing assignments.
3 Key learning from your journey you would like to share.
I had completed my education in Hindi medium school, and there was a time when I asked people to check my status and correct it if it was wrong. Language is essential, and I worked hard on it.
I got three learnings from my journey so far:-
1) Be fearless founder: Do not give bullshit excuses to yourself. If you lack
something, learn it. I learned sales, marketing, dancing, yoga, programming and HR.
2) Have a great mentor: I got Nemesh Singh, Founder of Appointy. He helped me to grow revenues and Technology, 10X in 6 months.
3) Don’t work too much: Founder always thinks he is doing less. Find time to spend with your friends and family, enjoy small moments, take a break. Doing business is easier than you think!
Finished reading? Check out EngineerBabu
If you would like to ask Mayank anything, Please use the comments section and he will personally answer all your queries.
If you would like to have your company featured in Bizztor Startup Showcase, get in contact with us at [email protected]/bizztor-2 or on Twitter: @connectvj