Gradberry.com

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Gradberry.com: Planting fruitful careers

Dubai, Emiratos Árabes UnidosDubai, Emiratos Árabes Unidos
Year Founded:
2012
Organization type: 
for profit
Project Stage:
Start-Up
Budget: 
$50,000 - $100,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Gradberry.com is a careers and courses hybrid platform, where the youth can learn marketable skills online in the form of online courses with experts, unlock certificates and apply to freelance and full-time jobs.

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

What if the youth could learn skills that employers require NOW online, and translate learnt skills into jobs immediately?
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Soaring youth unemployment rates and a skills mismatch between qualifications of university graduates and employer requirements.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

We provide a solution by connecting young talent to employers via our continuously evolving careers space and providing live online teaching, in real-world and emerging skills, from multi-lingual experts in the field. Hence, the youth can access internship and job opportunities, and learn the skills required to unlock these opportunities. Our mission is to launch careers by connecting young talent to real world skills and opportunities. Our vision is to connect students and young professionals with economic and training opportunities globally, at a massive scale and help them achieve independence and success in their careers.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

Aida El Lahham, a fresh graduate from Sharjah, and one of the participants of the Digital marketing and social media courses, mentioned, “The learning mechanisms used by the instructors at Gradberry.com, and their methods of explanation were superb. The instructors were always encouraging us to start discussions with our peers, in the learning environment. Thanks to these online courses, I was fortunate enough to receive an offer as a Social Media Intern at Bosch which gave me the opportunity to implement the skills I learned”. Bosch, were one of the employers on gradberry.com, hiring social media interns at the time.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

Currently, we have over 100,000 monthly visitors and 25,000 registered users from 650 universities globally, and over 1,500 employers (including Google and IBM). We have users from countries in the Middle East, Africa, Europe and North America; students and graduates find jobs in cities like Dubai and London on the platform. So far, over 1,000 students and graduates have been placed in opportunities, through Gradberry.com. So far, in our beta test in 2013, we have taught 15 live online courses in social media marketing, content management and Beginner web development to 68 students (ranging from college students to Virgin executives to aspiring entrepreneurs, who bought the courses voluntarily). The students varied in locations, from Canada to Yemen. The courses were selected and developed, based on feedback from employers on skills they urgently require from fresh graduates.

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

In 2013, we experienced 4.5x growth from 2012, in terms of users. In 2014, we expect to grow by 16x from the mean, via instructor acquisition strategies to place top experts as course instructors on the platform. With a conservative forecast of just 50 courses, we expect to grow to approximately 85,000+ users this year, and almost $90,000 in revenue. Our goal is to close a $250,000 seed round from angel investors, by October 2014, and build version 3.0 of the product and scale up our course offering to 950 courses in 2015.
Sustainability

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

In 2013, we experienced 4.5x growth from 2012, in terms of users. In 2014, we expect to grow by 16x from the mean, via instructor acquisition strategies to place top experts as course instructors on the platform. With a conservative forecast of just 50 courses, we expect to grow to approximately 85,000+ users this year, and almost $90,000 in revenue. Our goal is to close a $500,000 seed round from angel investors, by October 2014.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

No platform currently allows users to learn skills online, and apply to freelance or full-time positions, using the achievements that they have unlocked on one site. Currently, users learn skills offline or on sites like Udemy or lynda, and attach their certificates or skills when applying to jobs on their local monster.com, Linkedin, or any other career site. Comparatively, MOOCs like coursera and edx are good for highly academic level courses, however they lack in preparing users for more real world technical skills required for immediate employment in emerging industries.
Team

Founding Story

We started gradberry, because we (and our classmates) found it difficult to find jobs and internships in our region for fresh graduates. Conversely, at our internships, employers complained about being unable to find top talent easily. With $200, we built the platform, and my co-founder Syed Ahmed learned development and coding from scratch. I handled the marketing and business dev side, and in the first week of launching the landing page we had 2,000 registrations from UAE, Saudi, countries in Europe and the U.S. After 6 months of releasing the MVP however, we realized graduates globally have a serious skills gap, where they are not being taught market relevant courses at university. Hence, the courses side of the platform was born.

Team

2 Founders 1 Developer 2 Part-time staff/ interns Syed Ahmed, co-founder and CTO Full CV with professional experience: http://ae.linkedin.com/pub/syed-ahmed/36/386/251 Iba Masood; co-founder and CEO Full CV with professional experience: http://ae.linkedin.com/in/ibamasood
About You
Organization:
gradberry
About You
First Name

Iba

Last Name

Masood

How did you hear about this Competition?

About Your Organization
Organization Name

gradberry

Organization Country

, Dubai

Country where this project is creating social impact

, Dubai

Innovation
How long have you been in operation?

Sustainability
If your venture is not yet break-even or generating a surplus from sales, how are you covering the financial gap currently? What are your plans for breaking even in the future?

In 2013, we experienced 4.5x growth from 2012, in terms of users. In 2014, we expect to grow by 16x from the mean, via instructor acquisition strategies to place top experts as course instructors on the platform. With a conservative forecast of just 50 courses, we expect to grow to approximately 85,000+ users this year, and almost $90,000 in revenue. Our goal is to close a $500,000 seed round from angel investors, by October 2014.

Tell us about your partnerships. What partnerships are critical for your solution’s success? How are you forming these partnerships?

We have 1,500 employers (ranging from Google, IBM to startups and SMEs), offering internships and job opportunities on the platform. We also have 650 universities worldwide represented on the site, through their students and alumni who continuously find opportunities on gradberry.com. We currently work through word of mouth (students find opportunities and alert their campuses and friends, employers find top talent and alert their networks).

What, if any, corporate partners have you worked with regarding your solution? What is the nature of your relationship with these corporate partners (e.g. career/internship placement of your participants, financial sponsorship or donations, program development, etc.)

We garnered funding from the United Nations, ITU Young Innovator's competition of $10k, and funding from Cartier women's initiative awards of $10k, along with $50k in revenue from our 1500 employers. More than a 1,000 students and graduates have been placed in opportunities.

Now, we are partnering with instructors and experts who are willing to teach (either for free or paid courses) on the platform to our students and graduates.

Barriers and Beneficiaries
U.S State(s) where your solution is creating impact

Delaware, Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania.

What barriers might hinder the success of your project? How do you plan to overcome them?

Risk that the firm does not have enough cash to sustain itself.
We are consistently working on and re-defining our revenue streams based on customer feedback, and introducing new revenue streams as well. Hence, we have been able to sustain the startup via revenue to date.
Udemy and Lynda aggressively pursuing our market share through their large VC funding
Both sites currently do not provide career mapping or jobs. There is also a lack of quality control on Udemy, and more of a focus on quantity of courses.

The Participants: Tell us about the people who are benefited by your solution, including demographics and a qualitative description of the population you are serving.

Currently we have 25,000 students and graduates from 650 universities worldwide on the platform, between the ages of 18 to 25, who are consistently finding jobs and completing courses. Our 100k page visits are from the following top 5 countries in order of page views: United Arab Emirates, United States, Great Britain, India, France. 1500 employers have registered on the platform to find top talent (majority of our jobs are in Dubai however at the moment). Approximately 1,000 students and graduates have found jobs and internships through the site. We believe our solution can be scaled to North America and Europe, as we already have the traction from these regions.

Comments

Anuradha kumari's picture

Nice post on Careers and Opportunities.

Good article on careers.

Rajeev Kumar's picture

Lot and Lot of information is there. Thanks for the post Iba. Cool

Jack Smith's picture

Its a nice platform to start our careers. Good one.

Shankari Kumari's picture

Yes you are right this could be a fruitful information for careers. Thanks for the nice post Iba.

J Thomson's picture

hey sounds good Iba, Great article.

Michel Lawrence's picture

Great stuffs for Job seekers. Nice post.

Danial Bell's picture

Great thought IBA, Thanks for the share.

Panther Anat's picture

This is a good platform for careers, I like it. Good one.

Alexter Cook's picture

I like this course platform. Cool.!

Kareena D's picture

How long does it take if i start to seed to find nice opportunity .?

Flosy D's picture
Flosy D /

I guess this will bring lot of opportunity for college students and job seekers.

Alexter Cook's picture

How can i access to apply for change of job.

Rajeev Kumar's picture

You can check on the above website link.