Delhi-based Ankit Aggarwal has started a blog to inform his college mates about upcoming events. Today, it’s a full fledged tech startup called Unstop – an early talent engagement and recruitment platform, which was recently featured in Shark Tank Season 2.

The one thing 37-year-old Ankit Agarwal was sure he had ‘wrong’ inside him kept pushing him to become an entrepreneur and build something of his own. Even as a student sitting in his hostel room, when most students were running toward getting jobs, he says he’d be busy entertaining the startup ideas that kept popping into his head.

Today, Ankit is the founder of Unstop, a Delhi-based early talent recruitment and placement platform, which has more than 5 million users and generated $2.5 million in revenue this year.

The company recently made the highest bid of Rs 5 crore on Shark Tank, which they rejected.

From a blog to a multi-millionaire company

The idea for Unstop evolved from a blog that originated in a motel room and ended up becoming a multi-million dollar startup.

“I was at IMT pursuing an MBA and wanted to participate in many programs and competitions that were held in different colleges, universities and companies. However, information about these events would not reach us on time,” he recalls. “That’s when I started a blog where I could post information as soon as I got it. This was way back in 2010.”

While still working on his blog, Ankit joined Harvard Business School to pursue a scholarship program. “I noticed the same trend at Harvard as well. Students wanted to explore more opportunities and see which industry they fit in, earn points on a resume, and eventually get hired. All the students needed to do was get the proper placement and exposure to the industry. So, while I was at Harvard , I realized that this idea might have monetary value to her,” he said.

Ankit’s first major breakthrough was when he was approached by the Aditya Birla Group and Reliance.

“It was the big push I needed. In months on end, these two big giants approached me. They asked if I could reach out to students and start a business owner brand. Then I decided it was the right time to turn that blog into a website,” he says.

So, in 2017, Ankit decided to give his full attention to building his blog and making it into something bigger. “When I started in 2019, the company was quite tied up. We were collaborating with a few schools. We slowly started building on it and integrating the different fields that are offered in colleges, such as engineering, arts, and commerce in 2020. Then, in 2021, we shifted from Just a platform based.Now, the user can create web pages, make and receive payments, do coding and also do reviews on our platform,” he says.

Unstop platform
The platform has more than 5 million users with a turnover of Rs 2.5 crore per year.

Explaining how the platform works, Ankit explains, “We view Unstop as an early stage platform for talent engagement and recruitment. It’s like a combination of Naukri.com, LinkedIn, and an assessment platform like Mettl. In short, if you’re a working professional or a student, we can hone your skills on the talent journey through Helping you learn new skills, pitch those skills to new employers, earn resume points, and finally get rewarded in employment.”

“Ultimately, that’s the goal — getting a job. Today, we have 5 million users, 10,000 colleges, and over 1,000 companies listing their opportunities on Unstop.”

An unstoppable journey to success

While Ankit has always been interested in business, his journey has not been an easy one.

“Unstop wasn’t my first foray into business. I’ve been trying my hand at different startups and failed. They all came with a set of problems and learnings,” he says, adding, “The hardest one was overcoming the fear of going it alone. In my previous gigs, I think That I was counting on my co-founders a lot.”

He shares an example of when he was working on his first business idea. “The idea was to create an app where people could book shows. We were working on it, and just three months later, Book My Show launched!”

While Ankit was convinced this was a good idea, he could not convince its founders to go through with it. “I knew there was a market for such a platform, but I wasn’t engaged enough. I left it, the only reason I wasn’t brave enough to take that leap and go on my own,” he says, adding that it was an internal barrier he had to overcome.

The businessman recently appeared in Shark Tank Season 2, where the ‘sharks’ offered his team 5 crore rupees, the highest offer in the history of Shark Tank, which they rejected.

He says, “It was an amazing experience, seeing all the sharks and answering their questions. At first, it might be a little scary, but then I was prepared with all the numbers. It was surreal to see the sparkle in their eyes as I shared with them about my startup and future plans.”

“We had an offer from Amit Jain, but we didn’t accept it for commercial reasons. The most important thing to take away from it all is that ‘Sharks’ saw a lot of potential in this area and that is really motivating,” he adds.

As the name of his startup states, Ankit also has no plans to stop.

Sharing future plans, he says, “For now, we’re looking at sustainable growth. We want to create a community of students and employers. Anyone can build technology overnight, but you can’t build LinkedIn overnight. We’re looking to grow our five million users.” User to 10, 20, etc. We’re not looking at the revenue side of the company but the societal side at the moment.”

Edited by Pranita Bhatt


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