VMock: Pivoting to Succeed and Scale in a Technology Startup Company
In 2010, Salil Pande founded VMock, an online product that helped MBA students prepare for job interviews. Students could upload their video interviews and get feedback from mentors and peers. Four years later, VMock pivoted from an interview feedback product to a "Smart Resume" product that focused on improving resumes. The pivot was based on the insight that job candidates first needed help fixing their resumes before they could obtain and prepare for interviews. Further, the interview feedback product was difficult to scale as it relied on human feedback. The Smart Resume product, on the other hand, was powered by machine learning and artificial intelligence technology, making it more scalable and allowing VMock to evolve its offering from a product to a platform for managing careers. VMock had forged strong relationships with top business schools in the United States and Europe and its Smart Resume platform had been well received by the market. Now Salil and his wife (and head of product development), Kiran, had to determine the next step in the company's evolution. They realized that the time had come to take their business to the next level. But they were faced with several options on how to go about scaling VMock. Should they market directly to consumers or should they use partners to scale their user base? Should they create a solution for employers to help them recruit and manage talent? What revenue streams should they focus on to maximize growth and profitability? These strategic decisions would be key to the survival and growth of VMock.