In this ”Walk the Talk with an Entrepreneur” session I am presenting to you an interesting interview with Ketan Kapoor, CEO and CoFoudnder of Mettl, an online assessment platform startup.
* Please describe sequence of events (specifics) that led to your founding team into solving this problem.
– Myself and Tonmoy were classmates during school. Tonmoy had just returned from Belgium and met me while I was looking for my next big idea. We started talking about addressing the employability issue in India . Then we started off a training and assessments organization. In this process, we realized that the assessment space was a massive market in itself and there was no exclusive assessment tool in the market, world-wide and it is a recognized gap in the HR community. The time for SaaS is now and India indeed was the best place for the genesis due to the sheer population and the volume of business that India can provide. And that’s how Mettl came– an online assessment platform into picture.
* What kind of life has your startup led you to as businessmen, as opposed to your earlier professional life?
– I would say no change. Since I was working in startups before I started Mettl, the mind-share in terms of problem-solving and number of hours put in are the same. However, the change is only in the nature of the work and the type of responsibilities being handled.
* What execution events /strategies are you most proud of and has taken Mettl so far?
1. Getting the right set of people on board – high caliber individuals who are hard working.
2. Getting the right set of mentors on board. Apart from that we have been opportunist – always selling.
* Could Mettl become the de-facto testing platform for a wide audience over a period of time – towards the likes of Pearson?
– Of course. We see ourselves getting there soon.
* What among these segments – Recruitment/IT-Hiring/Bulk Testing are you most excited about?
– IT hiring is currently the most exciting segment since the number of candidates is far larger than the jobs available. Demand is much bigger than the supply of jobs. Mettl’s methodology of assessing candidates on the basis of skills rather than knowledge is gaining momentum. Specialized products like coding simulator is in great demand. These are changing and exciting times.
* How has the Indian market responded to Mettl, how many clients do you have – given that you work with enterprises especially in Hiring are the sales cycle too long?
– Indian market has brilliantly responded to Mettl and its offerings. We have a large client base across different industries – specially IT/ITeS.
Our sales cycles are an average of 3-4 months – this also depends on the need of the organization.
* What is the quality of your revenue and has it worked as a SaaS in the true sense of the word? Do you manage your clients operations or are they completely self-serve?
– We have kick started the SaaS platform and we are seeing global traction already – we envision this growing into a self-serve platform. We have comprehensive documentation for customer hand-holding and we have also seen many cases where the customer has executed the hiring operation end-to-end on our platform.
* How soon are you going to expand outside India? What’s the preparation in terms of – overseas sales/funding & most importantly your team?
– We already have an international sales team in place and some clients on board as well. We have participated in many international HR Conferences and are seeing a positive response towards our product. We are experimenting and trying out many things to see what works with the international client base.
* How do you see Indian VCs treating Indian startups?
– VCs in India have been very encouraging. The relationship of Startups and VCs is symbiotic and both cannot survive without each other. VCs are adding a lot of value to help startups in the way to success. The relationship in India is mutually healthy. They understand that there will be a few failures and some grand successes.
In our case – the relationship is built on mutual respect.
* What are your considerations apart from cash, before your decision to accept?
- In the second round of funding, we were looking forward to a VC with an entrepreneurial background, so that they could understand our challenges, help setting up processes, share our passion, advice us on the basis of their rich experience. We were also looking forward to working with someone who had a rich global network.