In 2015, The Testament matured into a company with 500 additional staff working with over ten clients across twenty cities. Founded in 2012 as a student-run weekly journal by the Entrepreneurship Development Cell of IP University, The Testament was identified as ‘the first multi-dimensional journal by any engineering college of India’ by Navbharat Times, Rashtriya Sahara, and the Hindustan Times. In spite of its lack of access to foreign capital, the company diversified across several fields in less than three years.
In the era of fundraising and ‘cashburning’, The Testament has highlighted the importance of generating actual value; the emphasis on a business model over a revenue model led to the company partnering with over fifty of the nation’s premiere colleges. This project in Media and Marketing created a reach of over thirteen lakh followers on social media, ensuring their entry into the field of Training and Development. By September 2013, the company tied up with corporate trainers from the American Institute of Business Psychology.
As the company established its goodwill, it ventured into Manpower Solutions to provide short-term employees to companies. The USP of the company at the time was its ability to provide in-house training to the workforce before deployment for the projects, without geography as a constraint. This was a serious pain reliever for companies as training an interim staff for short term projects was a crucial but difficult step they had to take earlier. Also, with extremely high attrition observed in interim forces, this task’s difficulty only multiplied. Gradually, the company overtook the management and strategic responsibilities of the forces from its clients and labeled this end-to-end service as “Market Acquisition Consulting”.
All of this was a stepping stone to what came in 2015. In August, the company set up its first fully-functional office and began generating real revenues with its Market Acquisition Services. The company incorporated the 80:20 working methodology, according to which a team member is encouraged to give 80% of his/her time on the core business, and 20% on generating new ideas or innovate. This culture is leading the company to seriously profitable avenues and helping it diversify while strengthening the core business. The company’s Technology vertical, which had been a cost centre for a long time is now proving to be the harbinger of next level growth.
While the rest of the ecosystem trumpets the importance of fundraising in startups’ journey, The Testament has shown how a good mission statement and service can trump economic compulsions. Since the products and offerings of ‘new age’ companies are almost identical, perhaps the only differentiator is the price of the product. However, in the case of The Testament, the services are of a higher quality than the rest of the industry, even if they are of a higher price. The differentiating factor here is service.
It’s easy to fall for the glitter of fundraising, but the ones who realised it was not forever proved to be the ones built to last. However, many notable startups share the story of shifting from a coffee shop to an office. The thing to watch for is who is able to sustain themselves in the market.