TT: Tell us a bit about Localized, and what specific market need you are trying to meet?
RA: Localized is a growing talent tech company that connects global companies with students and recent graduates in emerging markets. We partner with top universities, career centers and talent hubs across the Middle East, North Africa--and now India--so that companies can find the talent they need without having to navigate complicated on-campus career fairs.
Many companies looking to expand and build their brands in emerging markets may not know where to start, and we can help.
Localized attracts top universities to join because we provide students and alumni with access to world-class professionals who offer career guidance and industry insights on the platform. Our experts are from Google, DELL, Apple, Microsoft, IBM, Amazon, Airbnb, LinkedIn and other prominent companies and often stem from the very countries where our students are located. They work in AI, robotics, renewables, fintech, medtech, logistics and more.
These experts find meaning in staying connected to their roots. It’s a great way to help level the playing field for the next generation on a global scale while building a talent pipeline. What’s great is that the young talent on Localized who seek out these insights from experts are exactly the kinds of people employers would want to hire for their local and regional offices. They’re proactive, they care, and they are looking to up-skill, even if it isn’t required by their schools.
TT: What would be an ideal mentor/mentee experience on the platform? Tell us what that might look like.
RA: We designed for the fact that experts come in and out and that’s ok as long as expectations are clear. Recent graduates are looking for insights—about how to translate what they’ve just studied into a career path; about what roles they may be best suited for; and about industry standards at a world-class level and about how to land their first or second job.\
Ideally we’re looking to partner with companies on two levels: to help them find talent and build brand awareness in emerging markets, but also to enlist their employees as experts.
TT: How do mentors talk about the challenges students might face getting started in a US or European company, perhaps as one of a very few number of people from their university or country? Have you heard any pieces of advice that particularly stand out?
RA: We filmed a terrific interview with someone at Google who talked about a day in the life of his job, and about why speaking fluent Arabic is an asset that applicants from MENA (Middle East and North Africa) should not shy away from. He also highlighted his trajectory from engineer to product manager to product marketer.
It really helped to expand our users’ horizons because often they are thinking about careers within the confines of their current major. Our platform is filled with advice relating to both hard and soft/essential skills to help acclimate rising talent to these norms.
TT: Can you share any success stories with us?
RA: Here’s a fun early story that surprised us. Before we entered the Indian market, we ran a small beta test with a group of Indian students studying at Georgetown University. One of them, whom we had assumed had had a negative experience since he wasn’t especially active on the platform, raised his hand. Unprompted, he then said "I joined Localized and found more useful information about breaking into the tech industry as a non-engineer than any of the resources I’ve seen at my school's career center. The resources were really practical, started at the grassroots level and assumed no prerequisite knowledge of the industry.” Of course we asked if we could quote him on that!
We’ve been hearing from global heads of recruitment who want to avoid travel when possible, want to avoid going campus by campus to attend career fairs that are complicated to navigate, and who want to know that the talent is legit. We partner with the career centers at these top universities to ensure that we can circulate job opportunities to their students and alumni and can help make the process smoother and easier.
A comment from Terra: In the interest of transparency, please note that I made a small angel investment in Localized over two years ago, because I believe in Ronit and the model.