Mindsumo is a creative problem solving platform for students worldwide. With a community of 250,000 students from 3000 universities, Mindsumo enables students to work hard while polishing their problem solving skills and earn from the same. International companies provide real life problems that give industry experience to students in highschool and college. Due to the unique working model, Mindsumo has gained popularity across the globe. So, to know their journey we got in touch with Keaton Swett, CEO and Cofounder of the company. Here is what he told us about the success story of Mindsumo.
Q1. Could you brief us about how your business model works?
A1. Mindsumo is a platform that connects a community of more than 250,000 students with companies. We have corporate clients that create innovative challenges that are sourced out to the community of students. Students get a chance to implement their creative and problem solving skills by working on these challenges, created by the international top companies. Students not only become more intelligent but also win cash prize, get internships and jobs which makes it even better. It is like they are learning and earning at the same time. The companies provide a background on the challenge and deliverables they are looking for. During the challenge a real time dashboard provides the data on engagement solution teams, list of participants, and a collection of ideas that you can rate and organise. The messaging feature helps the companies to reach out to the best performers in any challenge, who understand their business and offer unique insights
Q2. What is the key strategy that you have been following since the beginning of Mindsumo?
A2. We focus on consumer facing companies like pepsico, coca cola to help their innovation, marketing, r&d and product teams. We help these companies in structuring their challenges and deliverable, provide flexibility of solutions to customise their product needs.
Q3. Do you plan to expand your brand presence across other regions?
A3. Mindsumo is accessible to students all over the world. However, North America and India are the strongest market areas for us. We are definitely looking to grow in Western Europe, mainly UK,Germany and Netherlands. In addition to this, we are looking to grow our presence in China and Japan.
Q4. Share the biggest achievement of your company till date?
A4. In 2012, the company raised central capital, and from 2013 onwards we became profitable per year. Unlike many startups that run out soon after raising capital, we became a sustainable startup. We achieved a stability that allowed us to grow ever since. That was definitely an achievement for us.
Q5. Where do you see your industry going in next five years?
A5. A platform that crowdsources challenges to a broad community of students leads to efficient recruitment process. Degrees and resumes don’t demonstrate their abilities or skills. So, our platform helps students to demonstrate their creative and problem solving skills and help them stand out. Moreover, Mindsumo helps to create a global workforce that is connected and integrated. Companies are able to recruit on the basis of real-life problem solving experience. So this is going to be a game changer in the field of recruiting and talent sourcing.
Q6. What makes you different from your competitors?
A6. Students seeking jobs showcase what they have done though their resume and degree. Unlike most recruitment platforms, MindSumo provides a more active approach. It is more engaging and helps the students understand what type of projects they would be interested in, what is best suited for them and what they really like. On the corporate side, it helps companies find the best talent for different job profiles. It provides a way for engaging the community of students and help the companies understand who would they like to hire for a certain job role.
Q7. Suggestions for the aspiring entrepreneurs and upcoming startups?
A7. First of all I would like to say, before starting anything, make sure you have the right team. You must strive for the right people, who understand your vision. According to a Harvard business professor, most startups do not fail because of reasons like running out of money or product marketing strategy but because of the founder issues. So, it is very important to have the right team.
2. Use your customers/target to validate the data. Never go by your assumptions or beliefs. It is always important to gather numbers and have concrete data. You must go by the numbers. Validate your product through data and never rely on assumptions.
3. Building a company/business is not easy. Sometimes you need to step back and reflect on things. You’ve got to stay healthy in order to keep things running. You have to take care of your body. If due to things like lack of sleep or some other reasons your body breaks, things are going to become very difficult for you. So, you’ve got to take out time for yourself, get involved in things you like doing and relax. You’ve got to be healthy, only then you can enjoy the journey and the success.