This article was originally published on infobref.com
Many companies offer internships to graduates with the goal of recruiting them. But if these internships are poorly organized, the company struggles to attract good candidates, and it risks losing them quickly. Montreal-based startup Bazookka is simplifying the management of internships. It uses technology to help companies and the schools that send them students achieve their goals.
The problem Bazookka is tackling is the difficulty of coordinating internships, both on the part of the companies that host students and graduates and the educational institutions that send them.
“Recruiting, coordination, managing budgets and schedules, applying for grants, evaluating interns: there can be as many as a dozen people involved in the company hosting an intern,” observes Sam Bellamy, president and founder of Bazookka.
Many companies do not have a specific tool to manage internships. They often use Excel files. And yet, internships are one of the main ways some companies fill their labor needs as the shortage rages on. “But if an internship is poorly organized or supervised, the intern is demotivated, likely to fail, will not be tempted to return to work at the company, and will not speak well of it, which may scare off other potential interns,” says Sam Bellamy.
For schools, shortcomings in the organization of internships are equally damaging: they can affect its placement rate and its reputation as a good pathway into the job market, making it harder to recruit students and secure the funding that comes with it.
Bazookka’s solution is an online software platform that facilitates the coordination of internships.
Companies list their internship vacancies on the platform. Schools upload the profiles of potential interns. With this data, it becomes easier to match the right candidate to the right internship. Secondly, the platform allows for the exchange of documents between companies, interns and educational institutions, starting with internship agreements. Schools and companies can create forms to track the internship and evaluate it at the end of the course.
The business model is that of a software service paid for by the organizations that use it. Schools pay a one-time fee of $25,000 for all their students for one academic year. They can then use the platform with all the companies that receive their interns. In parallel, companies:
- pay a flat fee if they want to post internship or job opportunities on the platform; and
- pay a monthly subscription fee of $79 per month per administrator (or $250 per month for a group of 5 administrators) if they want to use the service to manage their internships. Administrators are typically internship supervisors or managers, or human resource managers or consultants.
Currently, the Bazookka platform is implemented in about 40 schools in Quebec, both public and private. It also has more than 1,500 paying users in companies in Quebec and Ontario.
Founded in 2018, the company developed its software for 2 years to reach the market… in 2020, when Covid had suspended most of its corporate internships. It used this time to refine its product and business model, making it more enterprise-focused than it was originally. Commercialization did not begin in earnest until late last year.
Bazookka employs 7 people full time. It is one of the 20 young SMEs selected this year in the Bourse+ program of Startup Montréal.
Next steps for Bazookka
- connect 2 schools in France that have contacted the company to the platform – this would be a first test in the European market; and
- launch a first equity financing campaign, to complement the $300,000 received so far in grants and subsidies.