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"...it is imperative  to have support from people who've got it right; not to just learn what they  did right, but more importantly to know what they did wrong."

The Venture
LetsIntern.com is a growth stage  start-up venture that has seen immense success in a remarkably short period of  time. It sets up a student-employer marketplace via an Internship Portal that  offers the three Talent Stakeholders - Students, Colleges and Organizations, a  single platform to engage in a meaningful interaction. While providing  internships to students through easy and convenient meansremain the prime  focus, other peripheral services and offline training modules help the venture  aim to be India's first career services brand for graduatesthrough a  complete bouquet of offerings. The team is passionate about aiding personal and  professional development of a student; while ensuring a ready pool of talent  and human resource to choose from for companies. The team has been the winner  of the Economic Times - Power of Ideas,  2010 and received a grant from the Department  of Science and Technology, GOI to build on the existing model.

The People
The Founding team  consists of three business partners who are the Directors and Co-founders for  the venture. All three of them had taken up leadership roles in Student  Organizations while being in college, where at a young age they learnt to run  and lead an organization. Having worked in their respectable jobs for a while, each  of them individually realized that they wanted more from life, and were ready  to take the plunge. Althoughall three had their own personal drives and  motivations, they connected on the dream to build an empire and create a real  impact. They have been excited by the freedom to try out their ideas,the change  they believe it can bring about, and the promise of tasting financial success.

As they put it in their own words, "In our  short yet exciting journey, one thing has been clear that entrepreneurship too  is a 9 to 5 job, only a 9 am to 5 am one."

Rishabh Gupta: is  a strong optimist and firm believer in the set way of things i.e. cliché. The  chap is always full of energy, likes to make big plans and set aggressive  revenue targets. Hard work round the clock is accompanied by some yapping about  entrepreneurs, fast cars, soccer, fitness and the fairer sex for Rishabh. Being  good with numbers makes him hold the key to all money matters at work. Besides,  he is also a passionate marathon runner.

Pranay Swarup: Lives  by his heart and swears by quality. He is a patriotic, cricket loving fellow,  who also occasionally likes to shake a leg when work doesn't have him by the  neck. Pranay is the backbone of the team, and values performance, ethics and  planning.The chap is pretty cool headed and enjoys working late into the night.

Mayank Batheja: Has madness as his method.He excels within a team,and  is known to be a dreamer;always thinking of new out-of-the-box ideas that can  make the difference. Pretty much known to be a people's person, Mayank wants to  re-define human resources as it stands today. He is known to inspire a winning attitude  into the team and getting the best out of everyone.

...On Mentoring and MentorEdge
The LetsIntern  team got involved with MentorEdge during the application process to ET - Power  of Ideas. They got introduced to many successful entrepreneurs of  which some they are still seeking mentorship from. Here is what they have to  say about their respective mentors and the interactions they have had till  date:

(i) ManeeshBhandari (http://mentoredge.com/users/2659)
"We met Maneesh during the initial rounds of  our application for ET - Power of Ideas, 2010 where he was one of the jury  members. Maneesh since then has been our biggest mentor and pushing factor to  help us streamline our business model. From mentor he also turned investor and  now holds an active seat in the board of our company. With his vast background  knowledge and experience in building technology products, Maneesh has  been instrumental in bettering LetsIntern.com."

(ii) V.C Karthik
"V.C. as a mentor has been a  bouncing board for ideas and someone we have gone to at times of crisis. His  sound understanding of how businesses really work has helped us on  many occasions. V.C., as a client, also gave us the opportunity to work  with someone who could give us real-time and candid feedback. V.C. being our official  mentor during ET-Power of Ideas, really helped us strengthen our pitch."

(iii) AkshatRathee (http://mentoredge.com/users/2590)
"Akshat,has been someone who has  been a guide in the past as well, and we reconnected with at the Power of Ideas  workshop in IIM-Ahmedabad. He has given us strategic inputs at more than just  one occasion. He has also been kind enough to help us on a personal note at  one of our Training programs for DU students that was held at IIT-Delhi over a  last-minute need."

The  team further adds, "The best part about  all three of them is that we have over time been able to build a very  comfortable relationship with them, which allows us seek mentorship in both  formal and informal ways. In the hectic and unpredictable life of an  entrepreneur,it is imperative  to have support from people who've got it right; not to just learn what they  did right, but more importantly to know what they did wrong."

Goals for the LetsIntern team
The LetsIntern team believes that growth is  the only way forward and as much a good entrepreneur may know how to  get there, managing it and sustaining is an art only learnt out there in the  field. They have grown from a 5 member full-time team who were working from  home to a team of 24 across offices in three cities in the last few months.  Their goal is to increase the geographies, strengthen presence in existing  markets and diversify their offerings. And they like to say that all this comes  with the help of a lot of friends andfamily; while the Mentors are your best  friends to have.

The Learning
Following are the three major takeaways that the LetsIntern team  says to have personally gained through association with the Mentors/MentorEdge  initiative: 

  • Opening  up of Networks
  • Inspiration from Mentors
  • Structuring  of thoughts and ideas.

Besides, they believe that the process of Mentoring is as  necessary and beneficial as getting funding for the growth of a start-upin their opinion, since just funding is what most  start-up entrepreneurs tend to care about.

Upon being successful, the LetsIntern team says they would most  definitely like to mentor an aspiring entrepreneur someday in future, to give back and build future  entrepreneurs for the country. It's something they are already learning to do.  Rishabh is an active part of a program that provides education to school  students on entrepreneurship. They are also creating a program where the  aspiring student entrepreneurs could be exposed to mentors.

They consider  that they are still too early to share a major learning with today's aspiring  entrepreneurs, but reckon that perhaps their journey itself should tell enough  for people to see and discover that there  is light even through the end of the tunnel.