Why we invested in Josh Talks

Josh Talks Founders : Supriya Paul and Shobhit Banga

India has the largest youth population in the world. These young people hold the key to transforming the country into a modern, productive, developed economy. However, the reality is that a large part of the country’s youth are struggling for gainful employment.

Some argue that India has simply failed to create enough jobs for its expanding demographic bulge. Others argue that there is a skills mismatch, pointing to the large number of unfulfilled jobs in the market. While there is truth to both arguments, there is glaring oversight on the changing nature of work.

In ‘middle India’, young people are shepherded into a narrow set of jobs. Parents and teachers, despite their good intentions, point students to the same increasingly competitive fields of work. With few schools offering any sort of career counselling services, these young people lack both understanding of their own aspirations and exposure to emerging career opportunities. The fact that they are also predominantly non-English speakers further exacerbates the information asymmetry.

This is where Josh comes in. Josh is a media and skills development platform inspiring, informing, and upskilling young people in vernacular languages. Founded by Supriya Paul and Shobhit Banga in 2015, soon after they both graduated, Josh works with young people in middle India to shape their future aspirations.

Josh does this through multiple touchpoints. First, the company harnesses inspirational stories. Through Josh Talks, their flagship product, they create videos of role models who’ve taken unconventional paths and overcome obstacles to achieve success. These stories serve as lessons for young people to emulate. To date, they’ve created over 5000 in 10 regional languages.

Once users are inspired for new aspirations and identify what to learn, Josh then supports these young people by providing them curated paths to gaining relevant skills. The Josh Skills app employs a group learning methodology that enables users to practice skills and network with one another. The app’s 34% course completion rate and 72% follow-on retention are outstanding metrics in this segment. On average, a user spends 51 minutes per day on the app — comparable to the average spends on other social media channels including Facebook.

The sheer breadth hand-in-hand with the depth of Josh’s engagement with youth in middle India is impressive. We look forward to working with the team to unlock opportunities for India’s youth and harness the country’s demographic dividend.

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