A report by Ohio University says that 70 percent of students are stressed about their finances, be it a loan, a job, or supporting their family. The same is the scenario in India, as well. The pressure on students to start earning is common and mostly in the lower-income generating families. This is the problem that FeedMyPockets, a Bangalore-based startup, is working towards. The fastest-growing student engagement platform helps students earn their living while they study. With the motto ‘Getting the Youth to Work,’ the company helps students get part-time, flexible jobs to support their expenses without disturbing their education.
Founded by two techie friends, the organization works towards helping students support themselves financially while they are studying. It helps in two ways, one – it ensures they don’t leave their college because of financial reasons, and second, it gives them the work experience before they pick up a full-time job.
Here is a brief from a chat with one of the founders, Prashant Janadri, who talks about how his friend from BE graduation at the Bangalore Institute of Technology became his partner. Read further to know what triggered the creation of FeedmyPockets while Prashant was working with Wipro as an engineer and Naveen, had just returned post doing his Masters from the UK.
What gave you the idea to create FeedMyPockets?
We often come across news covering about a student who committed suicide, we read, turn the page and move on. What we don’t realize is that the number isn’t as low as one but rather as high as one student committing suicide every 1 hour in India! (Hindustan Times).
It was a Saturday evening, and we were in an auto-rickshaw headed to the snacks joint. As soon as we started, the auto wallah received a phone call and stopped the auto. We learned about what had happened after some questioning. He told us that he is struggling to pay his son’s college fee, and he is about 3000-3500 rupees short. He also talked about his other son, who was depressed as he was eager for education, but could not fulfill his study-related expenses, and ended up committing suicide. The driver was not ready to lose his only son now. We checked our pockets and took out whatever money we had and paid him 2900 rs.
But this incident kept playing on our minds, and we wanted to do something about it. Naveen and I decided to help thousands of students by helping them in paying for their college fees and giving them the confidence they need to be ready for the world out there.
How it all started?
We created a Facebook page ‘Part time job seekers in Bangalore-Students jobs,’ and surprisingly, we got 1500 forms in a month. We knew we were heading in the right direction. With help from our colleagues and friends, we created a website and the app for ease of access. Today we have got nearly 50,000 students enrolled with us, have placed 5000+ jobs, and have disbursed nearly 50 lakhs (5Mn ) of pocket money so far.
What Challenges Did You Face?
Some of the chalenges that are often in front of them:
Were people open to the concept of studying and working at the same time?
Well, while the initial responses on our Facebook page were great, in India, working and studying together has no value. So bringing that thought itself was a challenge. However, we also know that with increased fee structure, few students take up part-time jobs anyway, but those are mostly data entering jobs. What we convinced them on was not only will they earn but will have a work exposure in their field; this worked well.
We started with a survey through street ads and online, but we had literally no clue how to get genuine and appropriate part-time jobs. After a lot of struggle, we understood how part-time and temporary workforce is important for startups, branding agencies, marketing research companies, and event management. This is the information we were looking for.
We left our jobs to give FeedMyPockets the time and effort it required. We are now part of the most trendy student engagement platform today!
What are your future plans?
By the end of this financial year (March-2018), we plan to place 10,000 jobs across PAN India. We also plan to have more organizations join us as part of their social contribution. We plan to promote youth empowerment, employment, and skill development. Providing career advice at a wider scale in the coming few months.
What the pocketers say about their experience
“I finished my graduation, and I was literally pressured to get a job as I am from the lower middle class, and my father works as an auto driver and mother as a homemaker. I happened to join FMP, and I worked for three months and got confidence and better communication skills.
“If somebody is looking to utilize their free timings effectively, I recommend you to join here.” – Madhu
“I am from a poor class family, and I stay with my grandmother, as I lost my parents. I was always looking for part-time jobs to support my studies and basic needs. We have been working with FMP for one year and happy to say it helped me to a lot in hard days” – Darshan
“I managed to pay my tuition fee and even bought two-wheeler by working in part times.
FMP has really helped me in improving socializing skills”– Rehman
“Being a student representative, here was a wonderful platform to explore. I liked working here, FeedMyPockets feeds ‘our’ pockets!! “ – Revathi
“Becoming a student leader of my colleagues in this company is like owning a franchise of FMP at my college. If you aspire to become an entrepreneur, I suggest you first become a Student lead at FMP.” – Rahul
If you are a student and willing to join this community, download the FeedMyPockets app
If you are a startup and planning to hire temporary staff, download the FMP Hire app.