Start-up meets talent, talent meets start-up

Company: door to the future

‘Wow factor: Two seasoned business analysts bridge the gap between accomplished students looking to get their first foot on the career ladder and startups desperate for technical talent.

In early 2022, Moitri Pal was looking for an opportunity to advance professionally as she neared the completion of her MBA, while Kanishka Hari was looking for an opportunity to pursue a business idea. When the University of New South Wales announced the opening of its New Wave Entrepreneurship programme, they both saw an opportunity to pursue their goals and it led to their paths crossing.

Moitri, mother of two girls, has just completed her Executive MBA from the Australian Graduate School of Management (AGSM) and has over 15 years of business experience. Kanishka, also a mother of two, works as a senior business analyst for UNSW’s IT department and has over 20 years of experience in the field.

“We both went through the struggle of getting that first local experience in Australia.”

It turns out they had the same experiences. “As migrants to Australia [both Moitri and Kanishka moved here from India]we both empathized deeply with immigrant start-ups and their struggle for good, low-cost technical support,” explains Moitri. “We both went through the struggle of getting that first local experience in Australia and understand the importance of solving the problem that exists.”

Pooling their deep knowledge of business development, Moitri and Kanishka worked together and shared development work equally for the company they founded for New Wave. This company, Door to Future, connects students and graduates looking for internships or employment with startups struggling to recruit good talent.

While the idea of ​​matching employers with talent is nothing new, the founders designed the company to address the current issues surrounding talent search. One such problem is the endless “no experience without a job and no work without experience” loop that so many students experience.

“Unfortunately, most of the time they only hear about the recruitment agencies, to which they have to pay thousands of dollars just to be offered an unpaid internship,” explains Kanishka. “This was more common among students who did not have influential parents or social circles.”

The business idea on which Door to Future is based was the opportunity to create a two-way market where students who need experience and start-ups looking for low-cost technical resources can complement each other.

“In 2020, around 240,000 students were enrolled in IT (according to the Department for Education, Skills and Employment) and 344,000 new companies entered the Australian market (according to Statista),” says Moitri. “A lot of these startups want to build apps and websites. In fact, Microsoft predicts that over 500 million new apps will likely be developed over the next five years.”

The couple’s business idea and acumen drew attention when Door to Future won the New Wave pitch in June 2022. They continued the momentum, registering the company in July 2022 and running a pilot with eight startups and 18 participating students. “We’ve found that the market is quite large, and as more students enroll and startups enter the market, there will be sustained demand for the solution,” says Kanishka.

Door to Future aims to complete 100 projects within the next two years while continuing to grow through additional partnerships and participation in an accelerator program.

This article first appeared in issue #38 of the quarterly Inside Small Business magazine Start-up meets talent, talent meets start-up

Adam Bradshaw

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