First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Gowtham Sundaresan: We’re taking it with a positive stride making the most of what can be done despite the lockdowns and hazards.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Lancify?
Gowtham Sundaresan: My co-founder Azan and I were freelancers when we were in college together. We began to get a lot of projects and thus started to build a community of other young freelancers throughout the city. We decided to name this Lancify. As we learned more about the space and grew a community, we identified a pattern wherein new-age skills were in demand, but there was a huge skill-gap in supply. We delved deeper into the problem, and fast forward 1.5 years, Lancify is now building the world’s strongest young workforce by enabling young people to be freelance-ready in new-age skills related to trending SaaS tools. Apart from being a freelancer, Lancify has been my only work experience, and I probably learned 10x more than I would have had I chosen another career path.
How does Lancify innovate?
Gowtham Sundaresan: You know something is wrong when a Marketing student hasn’t heard of HubSpot until the first day on the job. The good news is, education is being democratized. And this is happening because employers all over the world are beginning to value actual skills more than degrees and certificates. This is where the opportunity for true innovation in EdTech lies, and our team is obsessed with being at the forefront of this domain.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Gowtham Sundaresan: COVID has given a lot of tailwinds to both, Ed-Tech and the Gig Economy. We’re lucky to be at the intersection of both. As for our team, it was weird initially to move from a vibrant co-working space environment to our bedrooms, but we managed to make sure we’re enjoying it.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Gowtham Sundaresan: Difficult choices are never-ending in a startup. From hiring to investment to partners to strategy. The best lesson to be learned is acknowledging what you don’t know everything about and starting to seek advice. At the same time, I’ve also acknowledged that there are many things that nobody can help me with, and since, by definition, what we’re doing is new, I also have to trust my instincts and listen to myself.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety?
Gowtham Sundaresan: Very long naps.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Gowtham Sundaresan: As SaaS is becoming more and more mainstream, and the No-Code movement is gaining strength, there are a bunch of people getting into skill-related EdTech. We know that we’re first movers and have deep insights into how engagement works within EdTech as well as what the market is looking for. We’re just going to keep doing what we’re doing, get better at it, and let the world know.
Your final thoughts?
Gowtham Sundaresan: 10 years from now, there will be multiple college alternatives, depending on what exactly one wants to do with their life. We’re extremely bullish on education being disrupted by moving away from systems of the past. We want to blur the line between entertainment and learning. We’re also certain that tomorrow’s workforce needs to be up-to-date with the vast number of technologies and trends that the world has to offer.