Mettl.com, an online skill assessment and testing platform to measure, analyse and improve professional skills, is planning to target the global markets in a big way. For a starter, the company is opening a US office later this year. It was planning to set up a US office for quite some time now (it was supposed to happen by Dec 2012), but that initiative got delayed and it will finally happen by November 2013.
Gurgaon-based Induslynk Training Services Pvt Ltd, the company which has developed the Mettl platform, was founded in 2010 by Ketan Kapoor (CEO) and Tonmoy Shingal (COO). While Kapoor is an IIT-Rourkee and IIM-Kolkata alumnus, Shingal is a former student of IIT-Kanpur and IIM-Bangalore.
The assessment platform developed by the startup is primarily used to screen pre-hires for recruitment (both entry level and experienced profiles). It is also leveraged to gauge employees and used for competency tracking/training across aptitude, personality and technical aspects. In addition, job portals, education companies, large publishers, colleges/institutions and training/skill improvement companies are also using Mettl to meet their requirements.
The growth track
Initially, Mettl had offices in Gurgaon, Pune and Bangalore. It has recently added a Hyderabad office to that list and also opened a Mumbai office after consolidating the Pune facility with it. In August last year, the team size stood at 30, but this number has now gone up to 45. The company is planning to further increase it to 60 by the end of this year. Although the US office will be opened soon, setting up an office in Singapore (to cater to the South-east Asian market) has been put on hold for now.
"We realised that we don't need to be 'actually' present in all the markets for offering our services. While the US office will be an integral part of our global expansion plan, we don't have an urgent requirement to set up more international offices," said Shingal.
In August 2012, the startup had a paid customer base of 50 while a number of companies still experimented with the platform. The number of paid customers has now increased to 80 and its key customers includes large IT services companies such as Wipro, Cognizant and HCL, as well as product companies and startups like MakeMyTrip.com, Cleartrip.com, Monster.com, InMobi, Comviva, The Times Group, Myntra.com and iXiGO, among others.
The platform is already catering to multiple industries including IT/ITeS, telecom, banking and B-schools. Going forward, Mettl is planning to add assessments for more sectors like publishing (tentative start date July 2013) and healthcare (September 2013). Moreover, the company had been working on an automatic invigilation system to do away with manual monitoring even when it comes to huge and high-stake assessments, and it has now come up with Cheating Prevention, Mettl's online proctoring technology for the same. The product is currently in alpha testing (a few customers like InMobi and Infollion are testing it now) and it will be publicly launched by July this year.
Mettl has also introduced an assessment platform focused on the education industry and it is now called Tutrr.com (formerly known as Math.Mettl). This one is a B2C product and offers standard VI-X students (CBSE and ICSC boards) a platform to practise and improve their Maths. Going forward, the company is also planning to offer the same for junior classes (below 6th standard) and add other subjects like Physics, Chemistry and Economics by early next year.
As of now, users need not pay for Tutrr.com, but the company will start monetising it once the platform gets some decent traction. "We are also planning to take Tutrr.com global, starting with the US and Singapore markets by September this year," said Shingal.
Investments and fundraising
In August 2012, Mettl raised $4 million in Series A, led by IndoUS Venture Partners while existing investors also took part in that round. As part of the deal, Vani Kola, managing director of IndoUS Venture Partners, joined the board of the company at that time. Prior to that, it had raised angel rounds from Blume Ventures and other investors like Sasha Mirchandani, Puranjaya Singh, Sunil Sharma and Naveen Tewari.
According to Shingal, the company has spent only 30 per cent of the $4 million it had raised in Series A. The money was mostly spent in building technology and the distribution network, developing products and drive sales. However, it will not look at fundraising for the next 15-18 months. But after that, Mettl will seek a Series B round worth around $8 million to accelerate growth.
Finally, Shingal says that breaking even is not a focus for the company right now, since it is currently growing at a fast pace. Mettl claims to have grown 300 per cent in the last fiscal and is eyeing 10x growth in FY2013-14.
(Edited by Sanghamitra Mandal)