How building a startup in college helped me shape my college life and get a high paying Job.

How building a startup in college helped me shape my college life and get a high paying Job.

In my college we had excellent placements records but when the time came fortunately or unfortunately I had a backlog and was made ineligible for the placements. My whole world had gone upside down and didn’t know what to do. People around me looked at me as if I had failed in life. That’s when I heard about Startup-Village Collective and it gave me the opportunity to do what I loved the most and graduated through it.

SV.CO helped me find my first job at Freshworks Inc. Freshworks is a famous product company based in Chennai and known for its startup culture.

— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —

That’s Me !

I was a bit of a geek in college and loved doing creative and fun projects, but never thought building a software startup was the way to go. Before I set off on this journey, I was a single-minded person and my only goal was to study hard and get placed somewhere.

If I hadn’t started our software startup, then I would never have broken out from that bubble or see beyond my little world.

I am Robin Philip Thomas, final year computer science engineering student at Amal Jyothi College in Kerala. I am the founder of Lauradesk, a revolutionary visitor management software. And this is my story.

I was a web developer and not a very good one, because I did not care much about user interface or user-experience of my web apps. I was never really concerned about how other people would use my application. All I cared about then was to get things done, so finding optimal solutions was not a priority.

Frankly, in the beginning building a software did not seem like a big task. It was just like any other college project my team and I used to do together. It was later that we realized we were into something big, we were part of a larger ecosystem; we were BUILDING A STARTUP.

My friend recommended SV.CO to me. When I checked out the website, it suited my requirements too. I wanted to do something useful while doing my engineering course. It also appeared that even if the startup didn’t work as we wanted, my team and I would acquire some valuable technical skills through the program. So it was a no-risk option for all of us.

Looking back I’m glad we got incubated at SV.CO. It’s the ideal place for college students like us to learn how to create a startup while in college.

Now, we could build a startup from our college hostel, canteen, house or anywhere across the world. How cool is that :D

As a developer, here are the key things I learnt at SV.CO:

a) To build apps that scale as the users grow

b) To be better at designing software that people can use

c) To follow a minimum viable product model

I got to develop my skills as a product person. SV.CO also gave us a platform to showcase the products we built and get genuine feedback, not just from the mentors at SV.CO, but from the wider mentor community around the world.

We got a chance to show our product at various events, including at the Facebook HQ in Silicon Valley. It was a dream come true come for me.

Did I tell you I said “How Cool is that?” to a huge audience including mentors from FACEBOOK…at their headquarters?

That’s my “How Cool is That” moment at Facebook HQ in Silicon Valley

How SV.CO helped me crack the interview at Freshworks

After we returned from Silicon Valley, we were asked to submit our resumes and keep updating our startup timelines. Just like campus placements, there are graduations at SV.CO.

The SV.CO community has over 50 startups and established companies who hire individuals or teams graduating from the program.

I attended my first interview at Freshworks Inc last week. It was cool and exciting, and not at all like the trip to the butcher’s that I was expecting. The team was very friendly and wanted to know what we had built in the past six months and how it worked. They gave me insights on how they work as a company and what their future plans are.

What I liked best about the process was that I was treated not as a student fresh out of college, but as a real, experienced developer.

It was a kickass job interview and I’m proud I cracked it.

These three sessions from the SV.CO program helped me a lot with the interview

  • Picking a Startup Technology Stack by Ajay Srivatsava, Ex CTO of OYO
  • Selecting Internal Tools by Vishnu Gopal from SV.CO
  • Evolution of App/Cloud Technology by Tanmai Gopal from Hasura

Left: Tanmai Presentation slide | Center: Tanmai Gopal from hasura | Right: Ajay Srivatsava session

These sessions give you multiple perspectives on how real companies build products which people can use, and how to use technologies and select the right tools for better productivity. These are generally not taught in classes but are very useful if you want to be prepared for the real world. They opened a whole new path which I had never known.

Although we did not get paying customers for our product, my team and I got a great deal of industry experience as we got feedback from real clients and made our pitches to experts in the industry. We also picked up a lot of technical skills we might not otherwise have.

All of these came in really handy for the interviews at Freshworks.

The startup experience in college was equivalent to one year of real world job experience, and this helped me get a higher pay package than a fresher straight out of college would.

With pals at SV.CO. Spot me

I know from experience that everyone can build a startup in college. Developers should focus on building products that people can use.

Reach out to me if you are developer and stuck in college not knowing what to do.