NEW DELHI: Many startup founders, including those in the unicorn club, come from the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs). IITs are known for innovation as well as for fanning startup ideas through their on-campus incubation centres.
Little wonder then that startups such as Roposo, Milkbasket, Curofy, AgniKul and Shadowfax line up to recruit tech talent at IIT campuses. E-tailer Flipkart, one of the major recruiters at IITs this year, was also founded by a pair of IITians, Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal, in 2007.
Some of the startup recruiters share with ET what makes startups the best place to kickstart a student’s career.
1. High recognition: In a big ship, one tends to get lost but that cannot be said of startups, which are known for their lean structure. “Startups offer a borderless work environment. Techies do not want to work in a strict environment where their ideas aren’t appreciated,” said Kaushal Shubhank, CTO and co-founder of Roposo. Shubhank’s company intends to hire about 10 students from the IITs this year. The company is looking for back-end support engineers, data analysts, machine learning engineers, and Android and iOS developers, and offering pay packages of about Rs 36 lakh per annum.
2. Rewards for Risk-taking: IIT placements are often associated with students getting high salary offers, even around Rs 1 crore per annum. Such packages may be only a handful at each of the IITs, but they nevertheless increase expectations among other students and make it difficult for startups to get premium tech talent on-board. "We encourage the risk-takers to join their company and not chase the students who are driven by salaries," said Anant Goel, CEO and co-founder of Milkbasket. “IITians are a little different. Bearing the tag of being the best engineers in the country, they need much more than just a comfortable salary,” said Pawan Gupta, Co-Founder, Curofy.
3. Be at the cutting edge of research: Startups often have niche products and apps, and working for a startup allows students to be at the forefront of developing tech and products. For instance, startup AgniKul that designs, fabricates, tests and launches orbital class launch vehicles, tells the students that they would directly impact R&D (research and development) and manufacturing of a rocket that will be made in India.
"We encourage students to be part of the Make (hardware) in India movement,” said Srinath Ravichandran, co-founder, AgniKul. The company is visiting IITs including those in Chennai, Kanpur, Mumbai, Delhi, Kharagpur, Palakkad, Tirupathi and Guwahati. It is planning to hire at least 10 students across these campuses. “We tell them that they are on a mission that will allow people to say rocket science need not be ‘rocket science’.”
4. No hierarchy: Startups offer transparency, flexibility and 'no hierarchy' organisational structure. “Flat structure in startups helps bridge the gap between decision-makers and executors, enabling fresh graduates to learn and understand both the perspectives and business aspects,” said Shubhank of Roposo. “Startups also provide an upward learning curve, something which every fresher looks forward to.”
5. Grow with the startup: As there is no hierarchy in a startup, it is easy for a star performer to grow along with the company. The promotions and professional growth come without hurdles. “This helps students identify whether their long-term objective can be achieved through the startup they are joining,” said Abhishek Bansal, CEO and co-founder, Shadowfax. This is especially true for those students who are not chasing just the fat pay packets. “As per our experience, above a minimum threshold of salary, quite a few students prioritise work quality and exposure,” he said.