Jayati Sengupta, the CEO and founder of Flipgigs, a newly launched social marketplace that connects teens with summer jobs, says “it started with a personal problem.
“My 15-year-old daughter wanted to look for a writing gig. Kids today, they’re not interested in just doing errands; they’d like to find jobs that cater more to their talents.”
So Sengupta started asking anyone she could think of for advice.
“For six months I asked every student I met how did they find jobs. They said, ‘we knock on doors.’ But even when they found jobs they weren’t based on their interests or passions.
“I came to realize that when it comes to summer jobs for teens, nothing's changed in 50 years. There’s no social media solution. We’re just stuck in the past.”
In the process of investigating this problem, Sengupta discovered that 75 percent of the 16 million high school students, and 28 million college students in the U.S., chronically seek work.
Yet, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, fewer than three in ten American teens now have summer jobs.
“I realized that what was needed is a social platform to connect students with opportunities that are related to their talents and passions. That’s why I built Flipgigs. It’s not about teens finding tasks like running errands, but much more about other jobs, like tutoring – in music, sports, and academics – and social media work, like blogging, design, programming, IT, and marketing.”
After taking the new platform, which is web-based, into private beta at the beginning of this year, Sengupta, unveiled it publily when she won the startup competition at The Startup Conference in May.
Flipgigs is free for students and parents; businesses pay a nominal fee to post jobs there. What Sengupta envisions for the future is a kind of LinkedIn for students.
And it will be operating not just during summer but year round, because many college and high school students say they would be willing to work part-time while they are taking classes, especially when the work is tied into their majors or career aspirations.
Meanwhile, thanks to Flipgigs, Sengupta’s daughter has found a writing gig with a startup that promotes meetups based on mutual interests of its members.