Damodar Pai Patnekar is the CEO and co-founder of Bodhami. He is an MBA gold medalist with extensive experience of 15+ years in digital and business consulting. Bodhami is an online, personalized learning platform that uses AI to help students, job seekers, and employees discover courses they need to work in their respective fields more optimally. Bodhami is the winner of the 2020 National Startup Awards, India in the ‘access to open education’ category (rural impact). Damodar was in conversation with Susparsha Gaikwad, Assistant Editor at incubees.com.
INCUBEES: Tell us about your product or services?
Bodhami is the winner of the 2020 National Startup Awards, India in the ‘access to open education’ category (rural impact).
Bodhami’s meaning is derived from the Sanskrit word – ‘Bodh’ + ‘Ami’ which literally means ‘I am gaining knowledge’. Bodhami’s unique offerings include personalized counseling, individual and corporate learning, and scientific recruitment platforms.
Bodhami helps students and professionals suggest the right career path and deliver a personalized learning journey for each individual. Our powerful Artificial Intelligence algorithms look at the 360-degree persona of an individual and use 2 Million+ association rules to suggest the right career fitment and skill gaps fulfillment needed for the recommended careers.
We already have over 25000+ students, 700+ teachers and 700+ counselors from 75+ cities across India registered on the platform in the last year
Bodhami was also selected by Education Department, Govt. of Goa to implement statewide career counseling and career guidance program which was envisioned by the honorable Chief Minister – Dr. Pramod Sawant.
INCUBEES: What makes your product/services unique and what competition do you see in India and globally?
INCUBEES: What are the challenges you see in the market at this point in time?
INCUBEES: Tell us about your team and what inspires them?
We are a dynamic team driven by the experience in Transforming Business using Digital. There is a total of 10 members in the team who are based out of Goa and Bangalore. Damodar Pai Patnekar is the CEO and co-founder. He is an MBA gold medalist with extensive experience of 15+ years in digital and business consulting. Ashutosh Shankar is the COO and co-founder and IIT, IIM Alumnus. He is an AI and analytics expert with 15+ years of experience with big names in IT. Aarthy Vassan is the CTO with over 10+ years of experience in IT and is a technology enthusiast.
We are all inspired by the vision of bringing a change in the lives of rural and urban students and provide a solution that impacts as many people as possible. We are driven by the mission of uplifting the youth of India with the right career choices, helping them to upskill and be employable in the modern job market and deliver exceptional performance at work.
We believe that the time has come when technology can reach the last mile and lowest income strata group and bring a transformation in the educational landscape of the world.
INCUBEES: Where do you see your product/service reaching in the next five-years?
We are currently in the phase of doing our product launches across multiple international countries starting with the Middle East market. We have a very aggressive vision for this year of having 500+ Trainers, 3000+ Counselors on our platform, and touching 150 thousand lives. We also envision starting a corporate learning channel by next year. Our larger vision for 2025 is that we want to have around 2.5 Mn students counseled and around 50K self-employment opportunities generated through our platform
Bodhami’s vision is to closely work with governments and organizations to enable a personalized learning journey and career path for every student at the grass-root level.
INCUBEES: Do you have plans to raise funding to grow your business or allow your business to organically grow?
Right now we are a Bootstrapped company and using our organic reach to grow. We are one of the chosen startups by the Government of Goa to receive seed capital of Rs 10 Lakh. Also being a National Startup award winner has been the most exhilarating and fulfilling moment of our startup journey.
This award has put Bodhami’s recognition and growth in a different orbit altogether. We have been extensively helped by the Startup India team under the year-long mentorship programs and the industry and the government connect programs.
Bodhami was selected as the top 7 startups from India to present innovation by Indian startups at India-Sweden innovation day in Stockholm and We also got to participate in FICCI annual business summit, SCO international business summit, and Prarambh startup India international summit in 2021.
The startup champions program on Doordarshan is another powerful avenue through which we are getting to showcase our story and present our products and services to every nook and corner of the country.
We plan to grow organically through the above initiatives and then at the right time if required look to raising funding.
INCUBEES: What are the challenges you face as a startup?
One of the big challenges we have is keeping our costs manageable and still trying to scale at a very good rate. While this comes at a cost of picking up multiple hats for each person, it also gives additional responsibility and exposure to learn new roles. Multitasking is what we all do on a daily basis.
The other challenge is around achieving the scale in this pandemic time. We launched our startup on August 15 last year and after completing a statewide government career counseling program in March, we were into the pandemic where we had to start operating remotely. In this span of 8 months of the pandemic, the schools, colleges, and job market has been on a slower side. But what we have done is invested a lot of time in bringing over 700+ career counselors and partners on the platform so that once the schools, colleges, and markets open out there would be a certain scale we are planning to achieve.
We also look for getting support from the state governments to help us with department or employment exchange connections to help us source work from within the state which will help us drive our vision locally within Goa to help make Goa one of the best education and work destinations in the country and globally to impact students at the last mile and income strata group.