Founded in 2015 by Supriya Paul and Shobhit Banga, Josh Talks is advancing its mission of unlocking human potential by building tools and services that enable the youth in Tier II & Tier III cities to do more with their life.
On Thursday, the Gurugram-based startup raised $1.5 Mn in pre-Series A funding led by New York-based fund Media Development Investment Fund (MDIF). With the latest round, the valuation of the startup comes to over Rs 100 crore.
Paul and Banga plan to utilize the recently raised funds to fuel the expansion of Josh Talks in other regions like Southern and Northeastern India. They might also go international. At present, Josh Talks’ content is disseminated in eight vernacular languages- Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Bengali, Punjabi, Marathi, Malayalam and English which is viewed by over 45 million people every month. But now they are working on launching channels in Kannada and Assamese.
“We are also planning to target diverse geographies by creating content in Vietnamese and Mandarin very soon,” said co-founder Supriya Paul.
Josh Talks started as a startup that conducts on-ground events but in the span of five years, it has expanded to also include Josh Kosh and Josh Skills. While Josh Kosh is an inclusive career-guidance platform, recently launched Josh Skills is equipping low-income students and job seekers in India with the training and tools they need to get a job.
Since its inception, the startup has conducted events, conferences and workshops in more than 75 Tier-II and Tier III cities partnering with organizations like Facebook, ITC Ltd, UNDP and ByteDance. According to Paul, with over 10,000 events and workshops in 7000 Indian colleges, Josh Talks has reached over 1,500,000 people offline.
Focus on Josh Skills
Skilling is a critical agenda for not only employers but for economies across the globe. In a constantly changing world of work, job seekers need access to tools that enable them to take their learning and development in their own hands. Particularly for low-income households who don't have access to sophisticated learning tools such tools are indeed required.
Josh Talks is, therefore, trying to help people from these backgrounds with regards to jobs, career opportunities, acquiring skill sets and more. Within the next three years, the number of vernacular language users is expected to grow to 550 million and the aim is to build solutions that are affordable and accessible for all.
Paul shared, "Through our Josh Skills app, which has over 100,000 app downloads, we are equipping the youth with relevant and adequate skill sets that will enable them to become meaningfully employed."
In the upcoming fiscal year, the focus will be on product development of the Josh Skills’ vertical which includes building up its current technology and introducing more courses keeping in mind the need of its users.
Besides product development, making Josh Skills visible and accessible to more people would also have to be key focus for the skilling focused tech startup as it competes with other players in the space.