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Unstoppable: Founder's Journey from Hostel Room to Multi-million Dollar Startup

From blogging to Shark Tank, the inspiring journey of Delhi-based startup Unstop

24 February 2023


Jayashri Ghorpade

India produced 3X more unicorns than China in 2022.png
  • Delhi-based Ankit Agarwal started a blog to inform his college mates about upcoming events.

  • Today, it is a full-fledged tech startup called Unstop — an early talent engagement and hiring platform.

  • It was recently showcased on Shark Tank Season 2.

Ankit Agarwal, 37, always knew he had an entrepreneurial spirit, constantly mulling over startup ideas instead of pursuing job placements while in college. Now the founder of Delhi-based Unstop, an early talent engagement and hiring platform boasting over 5 million users and a $2.5 million revenue, Ankit recently declined the highest offer of Rs 5 crore on Shark Tank.

From a humble blog to a multi-million dollar company.

Unstop, a multi-million dollar startup, had humble beginnings as a blog started by Ankit Agarwal in his hostel room while pursuing his MBA at IMT. Ankit created the blog as a platform to share information about various programmes and contests that were held in different colleges, universities, and companies. He later noticed a similar trend at Harvard Business School, where students were also seeking more opportunities and industry exposure to enhance their CVs and secure placements. Ankit saw the potential to monetize his blog idea, leading to the development of Unstop. The first big breakthrough that Ankit got was when the Aditya Birla Group and Reliance approached him.

“It was the big push I needed. In consecutive months, these two big giants approached me. They asked me if I can reach out to students and start an employer brand. I then decided that this is the right time to transform that blog into a website,” he says.

According to the speaker, "It was the big push I needed" when two big giants approached him in consecutive months and asked him if he could reach out to students and start an employer brand. He then decided that it was the right time to transform his blog into a website.

Ankit explains that Unstop is an early talent engagement and hiring platform that combines the features of, LinkedIn and an assessment platform such as Mettl. The platform upskills the talent journey of working professionals and students by helping them learn new skills, showcase them to new employers, gain CV points and finally get rewarded in hiring. With 5 million users, 10,000 colleges, and over 1,000 companies listing their opportunities, Unstop's ultimate goal is to help users get hired.

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Unstoppable journey to success

Ankit Garg's journey as an entrepreneur was far from easy, despite his natural business acumen. "Unstop was not my first try at business. I have been trying my hand at different startups and failed," he shares, acknowledging the difficulties and lessons that came with each venture. Ankit reflects on the hardest part of going solo: "I think I was dependent on my co-founders a lot."

He recounts an experience where his first business idea was similar to Book My Show, but he couldn't convince his co-founders to pursue it. "I let go of it, and the only reason was that I was not brave enough to take that leap and go solo," he reveals, admitting that this internal barrier was the biggest obstacle to overcome. Recently, Ankit appeared on Shark Tank Season 2 where the highest offer in Shark Tank history of Rs 5 crore was made, but he ultimately refused the offer.

He described his experience on a show where he presented his business idea to the sharks. He shared that it was initially intimidating, but he was well-prepared with all the necessary numbers. He found it surreal to see the excitement in the sharks' eyes as he spoke about his startup and plans for the future. Although he received an offer from Amit Jain, he did not accept it due to some business reasons. Ankit feels motivated that the sharks saw great potential in his business. Moving forward, he plans to sustainably grow his community of students and employers, with a focus on expanding their five million users to 10, 20, and beyond. While he is not currently concerned with revenue, he is looking to create a community of like-minded individuals.

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