Employee Empowerment Startup Founder @ 42: Meet VC
6figr.com, a startup founded by Vinod Chandrashekar (VC) before he joined the 42 community, focuses on making the best steps for your career and seeing an increase in your wage with every new job that you get. According to VC, most of our adult life is spent trying to create financial security. Unfortunately, there are no insights on where we rank financially among people of similar backgrounds or age groups. And what we cannot gauge or measure, we cannot — 6figr crucially understands — improve. So VC and his team found and implemented a way to benchmark people on salaries and impact eliteness scoreTM to help them know three “simple” yet vital things such as:
- Where they stand right now
- Where they can potentially be
- And how to get there
It is on this third measure — how to get there — that they have in an innovative and effective way of using artificial intelligence (AI) to provide actionable insight. This is backed by evidence of core data and in a manner that is outcome-driven. 6figr is able to actually quantify what is a person’s realistic potential “lift” of pay and social status. Essentially, it tells you the next “best step” based on what you have done to date. For instance, of the career choices a person has made so far, what is the best possible next move? Not just one, but even 2-3 moves ahead, in a career that is often a 40+ year marathon.
Visualize Your Career Trajectory
6figr has made visualizing career trajectories similar to a chess game; the “end game” is based on looking at different moves in one’s career in terms of mathematics and odds, no one else in the world is looking at careers in this way. If we look at the career choices we make, most of us just retrace the career trajectories of people we already know. But such behaviors are very limiting because our samples are, compared to the universe of people out there, very small. 6figr plugs in Big Data to democratize opportunities.
One’s career decisions and likely outcomes of them are no longer limited to his or her network. This technology is able to rank which moves are the best and quantify outcomes and, even better, calculate and tell you the odds. According to VC, AI is likely to put over 47% of the entire labor market out of jobs by 2024. 6figr’s Future of Work feature tells you the probability of AI taking over a job and what skills one needs to learn to make a transition into a “safe zone” job to remain employed. 6figr has now influenced over 1Million+ career professionals across the world. At top B-schools, 6figr has helped career counselors take an evidence-based and outcome-driven approach to better serve students with personalized and concrete advice. We sat down with VC to learn more about his team and startup.
Name: Vinod Chandrashekar
Hometown: Bangalore, India
Interests: Math, Cinema, History
Dream Job or Long-Term Career Goals: Make the world suck less
Name: Sameer Pallav Sahu
Hometown: Bhubaneswar, India
Interests: Technology, Music, Movies, Dota2
Dream Job or Long-Term Career Goals: Tech Entrepreneur
Name: Yashveer Rana
Hometown: Ahmedabad, India
Interests: Coding, Music Production, Movies, Swimming
Dream Job or Long-Term Career Goals: Creating an impact on people’s lives
What was the inspiration behind 6figr?
Most of our life is spent at the workplace. The opportunities & associated economic outcomes are limited to the exposure that an individual has. We often retrace the career paths that our friends and family members have taken. But these choices are limited as they are confined to what neighborhood you’re born into or what school you went to or who you know.
In this era of big data, career possibilities need to be democratized. At 6figr, we aim to do this by taking an evidence & outcome driven approach. Evidence backed by real career transition data & economic outcomes measured in terms of lift in compensation & increase in impact eliteness score.
Based on the choices made to date, we suggest what are the next possible career transitions, and what’s the expected outcome. So one can visualize his/her career like a chess game & think about their career in terms of math & odds!
What is the purpose of 6figr?
We strive for Employee Empowerment. Our first step towards it is by making the data open — Everything from compensations to layoffs, from next job change to work culture.
How does 6figr work?
It is open and free to the public.
People can see what compensation companies pay – dissected by job titles, levels, location, school, skills, degree etc.
We are by far the most comprehensive data on compensation out there in the market!
We are also the only site that shares data on how many people have been laid off at a company within the past 4 years, and this helps users know the risk of the job. People always want to look for a company that helps them get better opportunities. So we mapped this talent flow in a feature called Switch. When people switch jobs their income goes up substantially, more so than getting a promotion. Your job is to look for a better job. People can use 6figr without paying for it. We want to make things free for people to access. If they want personalized information they don’t need to pay. 6figr makes it possible for a community of people to help with making career choices by sharing their data. This strategy also creates employer empowerment.
How did your journey to 42 begin?
It’s quite a story on how I got here. I was visiting Paris for work, as we work with one of the business schools there. During that visit, I was catching up with a good friend of mine who had been selected for this program called French Tech Ticket program. This is a program launched by President Emmanuel Macron. Since it is run by the French government they take care of the visa & help startups with a 70,000 euros grant, equity free! So I was curious to know more.
My friend’s office was located in Station F. In our geeky engineer conversations, I asked him, “which are the top engineering school in France? He told me about EPITA and I discovered 42. I was blown away by the philosophy of the school and more so that all of this had one man in common, Xavier Niel – I said to myself, “he truly must be the Steve Jobs of Europe.”
I noticed 42 had a campus in Silicon Valley and felt it is the best of both worlds. School of builders + environmental exposure to Silicon Valley. And there was just one piscine left before I turned 30 – (Back then there was an age criterion of 18-30). I thought I would regret it if I didn’t attend, so I passed the logic tests and convinced myself to do the piscine. It would be the only opportunity to do something like this and it would be good exposure as our startup is also in the education space. I thought I would do the one month piscine & then go back to India.
How has attending 42 helped you with your startup?
I did my piscine in January 2018. It was incredibly hard as I had to manage my startup at the same time. Also, I met with a former bocalian who told me about the school and about its culture, and I learned there is an incubator here at 42. The leaders are kind, they want you to succeed, they are always helping and have this positive vibe. I really liked the month I spent here and decided to continue & co-ordinate with my team-mates remotely.
Coming to how 42 has helped us – At the heart, 6figr takes a very socialist approach of standing up for employees in capitalism driven companies. We believe there can be a middle ground of humanity first. Here at 42, I was able to find mentors who share the same values. And these leaders who disrupted the education system, by rebelling against the existing outdated ideas of education. Every startup, in a sense, is a rebellion against the existing status quo.
The best things always happen through people. Here at 42 you are immersed in an ecosystem of these smart, ambitious yet diverse and inclusive pool of talent. Every single interaction or code-review or an event has been a constant learning experience for me. For example, the feedback we are able to get from the beta testers for our feature launches has been unmatched due to the unique diversity the school provides.
42 has provided support through the project incubator and Chief Academic Officer Gaetan Juvin. At 42 we also have the ability to meet with the right people to get exposure and gain access to great networking opportunities.
Tell us more about your background and the work you did on 6figr:
I handle the product, data science & growth. My cofounder Yash takes care of engineering & Sameer does the design & UI/UX.
In my previous roles, I worked as a Data Science Manager for Amazon. I also co-founded the India Chapter of DataKind – A non-profit that uses data science in the service of humanitarian causes. We recently ranked as one of the top 10 non-profits in the world by Fast Company.
I did my undergrad from NIT in Automobile Engineering, worked for a car company – later transitioned to Management Consulting, then analytics & eventually into data science. With respect to programming, I am more of a math guy, worked mostly on data & algorithms in R, SQL, MongoDB & Neo4j but nothing much on the lower level programming languages like C before 42.
What was the most difficult part?
The hardest part has been finding the product market for 6figr. It took a lot of iterations to arrive at what we have today, and it is always a continuous process as the product always evolves.
Our first version involved people just uploading their W-2 paychecks and marking off sensitive information. We were like, “We’ll only believe what is on ink and so will the users when it comes to salaries.” But that couldn’t scale, as HR could often find out from the detailed breakup of the salaries who that individual is. At the same time, we could not go completely anonymous because then XYZ competitors bias the data negatively. This would lead to loss of credibility of the numbers we were reporting.
After lots of iterations, we found the sweet-spot – where 6figr does the authentication of individuals who are reporting but at the same time maintaining anonymity while sharing the compensation & career info to the community.
What have you enjoyed most about creating 6figr and What have you learned?
I enjoy creating something which people find value in. And people writing back to us saying how it has helped them has kept us going.
We have learned that people are the most important asset. This applies to teams as well as users. Hard choices now, easy life later. What applies to nutrition applies to startups as well.
What future do you see for 6figr?
Future of Work is getting disrupted with AI Automation & robots. People fear becoming irrelevant more than anything else. We are at an important juncture in time and have a moral responsibility in bringing awareness. We want to help working class people find work and be employed – only with which comes a sense of meaning and purpose to their lives.
Overall, we want to be the OpenAI for jobs!