Leadburg : Vidyadhar Prabhudesai
Q1.How would you describe Leadburg in under 50 words?
Leadburg helps expanding the possibilities and opportunities available to people and organisations. We assess behavioural competencies and compatibilities and match them to the right opportunities through a social rating, comparison and discovery app. Leadburg socially rates, compares and allows you to analyse and discover richer, deeper and more relevant aspects of people and opportunities, through fun games and quizzes with statistically valid scores.
Q2.Who is the team behind your venture?
Leadburg is headed by Sangeeth Vargese, a behavioural leadership researcher from Harvard and LSE and Young Global Leader, World Economic Forum. Along with Sangeeth Varghese there are two other partners - Vidyadhar Prabhudesai, Co -Founder of LeadCap Analytics, Ford Foundation & UN Fellow and Global Shaper, World Economic Forum and Akshay Chandrasekhar, former Intel lead on innovation and expert on network & cloud computing with 4 patents to his name
Q3.How long did it take to put together the initial version?
We took two years to build and test our platform. We launched just about a couple of months back. In these few months, what really excited us is the fact that an average user spends more than 10 minutes per day on Leadburg. To put that in perspective, an average user spends 2 minutes per day on LinkedIn, while 27 minutes on WhatsApp. So, we are somewhere in between. In these 10 minutes, they are playing games, rating their friends, comparing themselves, figuring out their strengths and weaknesses and discovering new compatibilities. We have also managed to build an extremely nimble app, which is just about 3MB, so that someone with even a lower connectivity can easily download and access.
Q4.How long did it take you to build company?
What is the first thing that you would do before meeting a new person? Very high chances you would search about that person on Google, Facebook or LinkedIn. However, what intrigued us is that fact that all these sources provided only hard information - like work experience and education. None of them gave any soft information, like behaviour or social competencies, though they are of more practical importance. For example, National Employability Report says that three out of four employers weigh behavioural competencies ahead of domain skills. 9 out of 10 skills listed in Future of Jobs Report by World Economic Forum are behavioural. Because domain skills could be taught, while behavioural traits are a given. Or when meeting a potential partner - whether it is life partner or business partner - what matters more is your compatibility with that person than his mere educational qualifications as such. Leadburg is based on a decade long research at LSE and more than 10 years of experience of running an analytics firm.
Most interesting part of our journey has been learning about the ways people are putting our platform to use. For example, we have this student Visakha Atole, in her final year of college, who uses our platform extensively to validate her capabilities with industry standards. Being a fresher in the circuit, she realised that traits like learnability and adaptability are traits that she is falling behind and should be worked upon. Now she has a set of Leadburg certified competencies, instead of blindly copying some strengths from her friend's CV. But not everyone is as focused as Visakha on employment. So, we have many youngsters on our platform, where they compare to each other to discover how similar they are, or compare with that elusive good looking girl in their class to find how compatible they are.
Q5.What is the biggest hurdle you have faced or are still facing?
It's a challenge to get people share their behavioural data. So, how can we enable people to share their behavioural data? One of the things that we gathered fairly early in our journey was the fact that none of us like being tested. We hate being given out a long questionnaire asking us to analyse ourselves. If it feels like a test, people switch off automatically. If something is as fun as a game, or probably as intuitive as the Facebook newsfeed, then people are more open and relaxed to give responses. Most important learning was that behaviour has a social context and hence we cannot rely just on self-analysis. For example, I could think of myself as a great team player, while my team could think of me as an average one. So, social rating matters more than what I think of myself.
With these assumptions, we started out to build Leadburg - the behaviour based rating, comparison and people discovery platform. Some of our early decisions were easy. We decided to have a mobile-only strategy because a majority of the digital generation were only on mobile. We decided to go Android because 98% of India was on Android. Though business assessment was a low hanging fruit, we decided to be in the consumer space because we wanted to build something exciting and different in that space.
Q6.If you could only give one piece of advice, what would it be?
We believe that we are building something unique, not just in India, but in the world. We are addressing a real market need - the need to take informed decisions before meeting someone. Whether it is for a job or for business or for matrimonial, we don't have statistically valid real-time behavioural and compatibility information. Leadburg provides you that valuable bit of information that LinkedIn or Google are unable to.
Q7.What is your one tip for aspiring entrepreneurs?
There is nothing called as aspiring entrepreneur. Either you are entrepreneur or you are not. If you have to be entrepreneur the only way is to do is to get it started. Becoming an entrepreneur may look scary to many people. But one can start out whilst working another job to manage his/her expenses. There’s no shame in starting slowly. Just start. That’s it!
Q8.What was technically the most challenging part of developing product?
Most challenging part which challenged us technically was to put our decade long experience in behaviour studies and analytics to develop a mobile-based platform that would enable people to play fun games and quizzes to reveal interesting personal traits, rate their buddies, compare themselves to their peers and discover interesting people based on their behaviour
Q9.How much time do you spend working on Leadburg on an average day?
All of us are working full time on Leadburg. We also have support of 4 intern students who are helping us on product development
Q10.What’s the most interesting tech article you’ve read this year?
This month’s entire Economist edition is dedicated to cognition switch in the corporate world. It highlights about data driven approaches taken by corporate, human resource consultancy in scoring individuals on their “learnability” which is top most sought skill as per Future of Jobs Report by World Economic Forum. Here is a reference www.economist.com/news/special-report/21714171-companies-are-embracing-learning-core-skill-what-employers-can-do-encourage-their" This validates that we are on the right track
Q11.Who do you see as your target audience?
Leadburg was launched in October 2016, initially tapping into 250 million educated youth between 15-35 years in India. Leadburg has tie ups with more than 300 universities/colleges across India currently