Founder: Nikita Gupta
What's your background?
I was born and brought up in India. I worked as a software engineer and then I moved to Singapore and did my Masters in Business Analytics. Then I started working as a Senior Data Analyst with top digital marketing agencies.
I worked for the TBWA, and WPP Group, like top digital marketing agencies. After working there for almost five years, I got married and then eventually moved to the USA, one of the reasons that I located here in 2020 was Covid.
How did you meet your co-founder?
I moved to Seattle, and I was looking for a job. I was a job seeker. That's how the company actually started. I was looking for an opportunity and I was getting rejected, and not getting any tools.
That's why we made Careerflow. He suggested some things on my resume manually, not on the LinkedIn profile. But that's how I realized that we could be good mentors to people who are struggling because Covid time was actually similar to what is happening right now with high layoffs.
So I asked if I can bring people into my network to help them and if could he help them with their resumes as well. And that's how the whole story started and our brand started in terms of helping the job seekers out there.
Read our article with Puneet Kohli, the other co-founder of Careerflow below.
How did you develop this?
We needed to scale this because we were doing everything manually. Helping with resumes and LinkedIn candidates was all manual. We thought that this is not a scalable business or this is not something where we can help 10,000 people in one day. It is not where we can help or make a big impact.
So we need to bring in tech, and we need to start making tools. That's where we started building. One tool is the Linkedin extension and job tracker, and then we eventually have the resume tool coming in, the Easy Apply button, and multiple things. We thought that we can help job seekers in higher quantities with this technology.
What are some of the challenges of being a co-founder?
We work well because we have different departments to handle. We have different things to look for, but definitely being in the same organization you need to understand each other very well. It's been almost three years that we've been working together, so we know each other now.
We know how the other person is going to react or how they are going to work. We know each other in and out about most things. But obviously, sometimes we do have arguments. It's not like we don't have arguments, that's very normal. I think one thing holding us as a team is the mission to help people, to give back to people, and help them.
We have the same thing in our mind and we are looking forward to achieving that. That's binding us, even if sometimes we argue we fight or whatever we come back and be like, we want to do this. We want to help people with their job search.
Why did you build this tool specifically?
I know the pain points. I know how it looks and what the market looks like when you go out looking for a job. There are so many tools, there are so many companies, and there are so many things going on. But as a job seeker, you become overwhelmed. So we want to give back to the community and our startup is about adding value.
Do you and your co-founder approach things differently?
Sometimes obviously, we both have different mindsets in terms of doing things. Like maybe, let's say handling a team or doing some projects, or, for example, having a conversation about something.
As an individual, we have different opinions about different things and think differently in a lot of areas. So when it happens, obviously we sit down and discuss it. When we have those kinds of healthy discussions we come to a conclusion that is best for the company or what is best for us as a team, rather than thinking about what is best for me or for him.
The business is more important than our individual perspective. But overall, we have our different teams like managing marketing, and sales operations, and he's managing product tech. So we have our different teams, we hire different people, we work with different people. Ultimately we are working for the same purpose.
How is the startup going?
It's an early-stage startup, first of all right? We are not a big company where everything is structured, or we have already figured out everything. We are still figuring out everything as we go along.
Every day is a new day for us. At least for me. It's a first for me, a first start. Puneet has done startups before, but for me, it's my first baby so I'm learning every day. I wake up everyday thinking, today's a new day I'm going to learn something new. He's learning from a different mindset, so that can create some friction sometimes, but at the same time, it's sometimes helpful to have that opposing viewpoint.
What advice would you give someone launching their own startup?
I have more than 180K social media followers. On LinkedIn, I have 160k plus social media followers. When we started the organization or this idea of helping out people I started my content journey as well. I started writing content on social I started giving back to the community through free content as well. So I would suggest that to people who are trying to become founders.
I was the face of the company, representing our brand name, and I was the one who was going out and talking to reporters, during interview interviews, doing workshops, and everything to create brand value. Today, that brand value has helped us to big as B2B customers.
Brand value has helped us to gain the trust of people. Candidates trust us for jobs because they know we are going to help them, and that trust helped us to build something stronger. Now if we go back to the community, that community is going to support us in every way and we have seen that multiple times, again and again. We have built a community, and we have built a brand from there and when you have a strong community, then it's really easy to build a company on top of it.
What software tools do you use?
I'm using social media day and night to help job seekers. Other than that, I've tried different automation tools for posting content. I post every day, morning and evening, so instead of manually doing it, I was trying to find some automated tool, rather than me doing it manually.
I'm building some video content as well, so I'm using some video editing tools, and then I'm using the same platforms to learn and understand how can I promote the video content. And understanding how we can promote organically and how paid marketing can help us to reach out to the people who we are unable to reach. I don't have a particular tool that relies on every day, but I was thinking of HubSpot, eventually to help with marketing and automation.
Are there any books or podcasts that have been helpful?
I do read a lot of books, in general, but not particularly in terms of business. I did actually like this book on Nike, Shoe Dog. It's based on the formation of Nike and I love the whole story, about how he became an entrepreneur. it's more of like.
It showed the way he came up with a startup and it really helped me understand how that looked. It was definitely an inspiration for sure. As I said, this is my first startup, I'm not used to doing these kinds of things. I've done always nine to five jobs. So for me, it was like really like oh, wow, okay, this is how it starts.
Is there anything that you know now that you wish you knew in the beginning?
I think if someone could have given me a little bit of knowledge about how startup is, this is how you need to look at it and this is what an entrepreneur can do. I was doing everything by myself, like Googling, and reading.
I was going to YouTube to watch videos, so I was doing multiple things on my own. I was doing my research but nothing was given to me. No one said, oh, go to these five podcasts, go through these five books and it will be a good starting point for you. Right? So that is something that I've been missing a lot where I felt like no one is willing to help me, I have to do everything on my own. I realized that as a first-time entrepreneur, it's overwhelming like, just like being a job seeker.
What were some things you found challenging?
When you wake up you always have this thing in your mind that your company might not survive today. Every day like that. So that is something that is always there in my mind that no one teaches you will no one tells you that. This is how things will work.
How does the future look?
We see this as a platform where anyone thinking about a career search, or job search, can come to the platform if they're looking for any kind of help. As a job seeker myself I never got everything in one place. I never had a mentor to help me in my job search or a resource.
I had to find 100 resources or go to 200 videos and there would only be 1 video that was of any value to me. But in our case, we will be providing valuable tools that are seen by 1000s of people and they are helping so many people. With that mindset, you're building this organization rather than thinking that we can give any random thing or hundreds of things to someone to make them more overwhelmed because as a job seeker, you're already overwhelmed with your job search
Where's the best place to contact you?
The website is www.careerflow.ai and you can reach me on Linkedin here.