Nigerian startup Placements, a search platform for graduate and undergraduate internships, has served over 27,000 interns and 2,000 employers since its launch 20 months ago.
Launched last year by Ayobami Oyaleke, Placements allows graduates and undergraduates to search for and apply for various internships listed on the platform, charging subscription fees to interns and employers.
The idea for the platform came about based on Oyaleke’s experience running his own software company previously.
“I needed qualified hands on some part of the projects I handle for clients around the world, mostly from the United States (US) and Canada. I needed some hands that could creatively work under no or less supervision with a fair remuneration,” he told Disrupt Africa.
“I was in search of the right candidate for over six months, with a few tens of applications coming in. After a fair interview, I couldn’t pick even one to employ. I was so sad and lost some contracts because there was no one to help with some basics.”
After this, he decided to intern with a software development company in the US.
“Over months of working on software and architectural projects, I was exposed extensively to the technical and business part of handling projects. By the time I concluded my internship contract, I was loaded and ready to shoot,” Oyaleke said.
In 2015, he was expected to take part in a madatory internship by his university, but could not find one that was suitable.
“I searched everywhere online, I got to know about internship opportunities outside the continent. Over a thousand of my level mates experienced this same problem,” said Oyaleke.
“At the end of the day, I had to settle for less, thereby interning with company which had a little to add to what I had learnt over the years.”
All of these experiences led to him founding Placements, meant at bridging the gap between interns and employers for the benefit of all.
“Employers are sceptical of employing potential interns because they guess they are not qualified and have no experience,” said Oyaleke.
“There is no centralised system where interns can go to search for internship opportunities, interns can take soft skills training to make them employable, and employers can search for qualified interns to work with.”
There is now. And the self-funded Placements has proven quite a hit, arranging thousands of internships through its platform in less than two years. Oyaleke is projecting 300 per cent year-on-year growth, and plans to expand to other African countries soon.