Two Victoria University students have turned their own struggles to find meaningful job internships into a promising business venture.
Lifelong friends Jayden Kafanelis and Dylan Trickey founded the venture InternMe to match students and graduates with internships, jobs, and real-world opportunities at companies around Melbourne.
Dylan said the idea came to him while he hunted for an entry-level marketing job and was frustrated to see they all required experience.
“It’s a vicious cycle since students don’t have experience until someone gives them a chance,” he said.
At the same time the government has recently started offering cash incentives to encourage companies to take on interns, yet many employers don’t have the resources to find quality candidates.
The two Brimbank-based entrepreneurs came up with an idea to build a website that would collate career opportunities from reputable businesses, while allowing students to lodge ‘virtual portfolios’ with their work history, academic transcripts, video resumes, and even do effortless interviews via a built-in Skype link.
They used their own money and that of a private investor to get started and haven’t looked back since.
The pair took InternMe to a universities’ start-up battle hosted at Deakin University in April and came second. Then they pitched the venture to more than 500 people at a ‘Shark-Tank’-like contest held by Start Up Victoria in its state finals last month. Although they didn’t win, their business attracted significant interest from potential partners and investors.
So far, they have 26 companies on board, and nearly 500 students from a range of backgrounds. They hope to have 100 businesses signed up by year-end.
InternMe is currently free for both students and companies. However, in future, companies will be required to pay placement fees for the students and graduates that InternMe sources on their behalf.
“Our aim is to remain a free service for Australian students. As students ourselves, we understand how hard it is to get opportunities so we are not going to add financial burdens to this struggle,” Jayden said.
While similar competitors are already on the market, Jayden and Dylan said InternMe will contain an added valuable feedback system for employers to track an intern’s progress, set targets, and generate monthly reports.
Watch InternMe founders Jayden and Dylan at Start-Up Victoria’s Pitch Battle state finals.