Robo Career Counseling

Startup Idea: Robo Career Counselor

Every week, I get about 3-4 emails from young people interested in becoming a Venture Capitalist. They want to understand how they can get a job at a good VC firm and would like my advice or connections. Even though I wrote a post about this – How to get a job as a venture capitalist, they are looking for personalized advice.

Which is nearly impossible to give without listening, learning and then processing their background. That takes time, typically 30-45 minutes, which I dont have at all.

This is a real problem not just for Venture Capital job seekers, but also for the millions of people who want help with their career path. They know where they are – their current role, where they want to get to – a specific role (in some cases) or want to understand options (in other cases(, but dont know how to get there or what do to to get there.

For example, an engineer who does not like coding sees a profile of a Group Product Manager and wants to understand how to get there – what opportunities should she be looking for, what courses should she take, what educational background does she still need to fulfill, who should she take on as a mentor, etc.

Most employees at any mid-sized to large company have been told – you have to be in charge of your career, and not expect your manager or the HR team to do that. The problem is most of employees can only do it in hindsight, after 15 years, looking back.

To solve this problem, I think we can borrow a leaf from the “Roboinvesting” startups like Wealth Front or Motif and look at creating Robo Career Counselor service.

Robo Career Counseling
Robo Career Counseling

This will be a web service, which a potential user will log into using LinkedIn. Given their background, education and title, etc, it has relevant background about their past and present.

It will then ask a series of questions such as likes and dislikes (professional job specific ones, not the ones that Facebook has) and suggest 10 profiles of other successful role models or people who currently have that role / title. It has to also ask more questions about achievements and metrics which the individual currently has at their job.

Then it can help you connect with those people for a fee. Obviously those people, the mentors or coaches, have opted in, so they can be contacted and are willing to spend the time and energy for a fee.

In some ways this becomes a marketplace for career counseling or “democratizing personalized career advice” if you will.

The service can provide many ancillary services to the mentors or coaches themselves on how to ask questions, train them on available resources and help build frameworks for the user to leverage.

This service I think will be immensely popular and solves a key pain point that many folks (not all, but a large enough market) have.

To be clear, LinkedIn could do this themselves, but I have such a poor and low opinion of the company, that I think even if they wanted to they’d mess it up.They also have the inherent advantage of having a lot of data, so they should be treated as the biggest competition for this service.

On the other hand, I suspect if you do a great job, they’d acquire this service, if they were smart. I believe they are, very smart, so I am willing to fund a company in this space.

What you need to have is 2 full stack developers, with a great background in shipping products at scale, some data related background is ideal, and a person in your startup who has been selling to or understands the career counseling space.

Best way to pitch me is not email, or Facebook or LinkedIn or a Direct Message, but on twitter @mukund.

2 thoughts on “Startup Idea: Robo Career Counselor”

  1. Idea looks really promising. I have experience in architect a scalable job portal. For everyone who wanna dive into this idea, I highly suggest them to read the article below and read the legal documents from LinkedIn before starting to work on the solution. This will help you guys on staying away from the legal issues from LinkedIn.

  2. Very insightful thoughts Mukund on the idea which may sound crazy but I even tried writing to LinkedIn after actually working on this idea for 1+ year with self funded startup in 2011 though my focus then was 10-12+2 teens and parents as it is one of the root cause of increasing restlessness, midlife crises after fulfilling your basic needs.

    Some dare to switch the gears, take U- turns but many just continue despite they are not able to put their body, sole and mind in their 9-5 routine but many still wants to know How to get there and there and there… may be BECAUSE a. frightening uncertainty in transitions b. increasing high cost of switching gears c. reducing risk taking appetite d. existing skills being obsolete with fast pace and at the same time with increasing age, high learning curve for new stills required for ever changing requirements from (buzzword driven?) industry jobs and finally e. blame social media for up-to second updates on everything happening around making terribly restless and sense of insecurity often for no reason.

    Anyways, with your observations many inner voices arising justifies/validates the severity of the problem with caveat because it reminded my Entrepreneurial startup attempt on this, just thought of sharing 2 cents from lessons learned for those planning/thinking inspired with this post.

    Though the Mentoring services concept appears same to many from School children to Professional job seekers planning to switch jobs, we decided to start from 10-12+2 and then gradually move on to professionals. As we believed 10+2 still most crucial phase which forces teens to choose certain career path and the most of them irrespective of right or wrong choices remain in same profession/area rest of life – as per our analysis, primary reason why high salaried starts feeling void many label it mid-life crises which once their basic needs (home, settlement) are meet. Their core interests starts waking them up in midnight again and starts conflicting with daily routine inability to concentrate/focus.

    As the smart phones story was still taking shape in 2011, “online” honestly wasn’t main focus but the vision was creating something “collaberative platform for Mentors and mantees with web app to capture their holistic assessment including interests, hobbies, traits, strengths, weaknesses and many aspects to analyse for mentors with ML algorithms. We named EduSaarathi Solutions – Education + Mentor (Saarathi) incorporated in 2011.

    It was immense learning exp talking to hundreds of College/School principles discussing unusual topic called Mentoring to include them in story as institutional partners as convincing to parents/students was becoming challenging as they trusted school/college authorities for whatever best they can provide.

    Foolishness continued..sometime back even wrote to LinkedIn on “Online agreegator collaborative platform for Mentoring services to connect Manors and mentees which both entities have profiles and what not (many attributes been added and captured every year) on growing LinkedIn ecosystem.

    Unfortunately things didn’t work quite when it came to monetizing services to even sustain financially. But afterall those wanting to give shot again, should go ahead as after all execution that matters most with new Mobile first approach unlike we attempted earlier.

    couldn’t believe myself risking everything after resigning from secure TCS job just to try this, the idea I nurtured since college days while studying AI + Robotics majors in Engineering way back in 1999.

    Sorry for long reply but this being lessons learning couldn’t shorten it. Plan to share sometime in separate blog post


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