Village Capital

Future of Work India 2021

About the Program

The global job ecosystem is undergoing a major upheaval. According to the Future of Jobs Report 2020, published by the World Economic Forum, 43% of businesses are set to reduce their workforce due to technology integration, 41% plan to expand their use of contractors for task-specialized work, and 34% plan to expand their workforce due to technology integration. This is going to result in huge job losses, which is indicated by the fact that close to 21 million jobs have already been lost in the last 6 months.  

This grim situation needs businesses and leaders to respond in novel ways - through skilling, upskilling and reskilling of the incoming and current workforce. Newer models of education with an aim to bridge skill gaps, enhance employability and make job-ready candidates for the gig economy of the future are required too. 

Through our program, Future of Work 2021, we are looking to support startups addressing the following challenges:

Challenges faced by Learners

Indian students face a variety of challenges - lack of access to quality education resulting in poor learning outcomes, lack of digital literacy personalized attention. Lack of such foundational skills creates a supply gap in the job market. 

Traditionally, higher costs of learning with low levels of access to classroom training have hindered learning opportunities. Learners face the daunting task of identifying the right skills, pursuing the right educational programs and continuously reskilling themselves to maintain their employability relevant to the contemporary job market. We are interested in startups building solutions to improve educational access, to supplement currently existing tools for mainstream education or to enhance learning outcomes for students.

Challenges faced by Conventional Education Providers

With the ever-increasing numbers of students seeking quality education, coupled with increased paying capacity, traditional education institutions are finding it increasingly difficult to maintain the quality of education while being able to service a larger number of students. Institutes have been unable to design their curriculum keeping in mind the needs of the 21st century and risk losing out to alternative forms of learning. The administrators of these institutes need to be able to provide personalised learning opportunities, access to quality educators, improve campus management, and bring in innovative models and tools of learning. 

We are interested in startups that are building solutions to help educational institutions employ innovative learning and teaching tools for students and teachers, platforms to manage their operations, and increase access to previously underserved markets.

Challenges Faced by Jobseekers

The Indian labor market has become extremely competitive over the years. Faced with high training costs and attrition rates, companies have stopped seeing human resources as long term investments and have started focussing on contract workers. With the adoption of digitization and the acceleration of automation, the nature of jobs is expected to see further changes in this decade. Companies estimate that around 40% of workers will require reskilling in six months or less, and 94% of business leaders expect employees to pick up new skills on the job. 

This has resulted in a shift towards the gig economy and a focus on job-ready candidates. In addition to the extra burden of constantly updating their skills, job seekers also have to navigate the chaotic world of job boards, which have failed to address the supply-demand gap. Also, such contract jobs come without the social security benefits of full-time employment, which can be a financial health challenges for those employed in them. 

We are interested in startups that allow job seekers to upskill themselves, improve their ability to communicate their skills to relevant employers, match them to relevant jobs and improve their resiliency.

Challenges faced by Employers

Lack of skilled manpower, increasing recruitment and training costs and high attrition rates are some of the challenges of Indian employers. With the changing scenario of the professional landscape, employers are focusing more on the productivity of their current employee base and increasingly favor digital tools to aid them in this process. 

Employers are looking to invest capital and efforts that can increase the efficiency of their hiring processes such as filtering job applicants and conducting due diligence, training processes such as performance management, and employee management processes such as communications and workforce analytics.

We are interested in startups that are helping businesses ensure productivity by providing a great employee experience, recruit more efficiently, and manage their existing human resources through data and analytics.

Applications are now closed.



Applications Launch

January 1, 2021

Applications Close

February 28, 2021

Due Diligence and Selections

March 1, 2021 - March 31, 2021

Cohort Announcements

April 5, 2021

Virtual Workshops

April 2021 - August 2021

Minimum Eligibility Criteria

• Legal incorporation as a for-profit entity

• Market-based solution that tackles an educational/employability challenge for communities in India 

• Have at least a minimum viable product (MVP) and some traction under their belt. Relaxation may be made for products in development if value proposition showcased is considered strong

• Have meaningful customer or business validation (not limited to revenue, can also be successful pilot studies, number of users, and/or strategic partnerships

• Eligibility criteria may be relaxed for entrepreneurs who are pivoting to develop products relevant to the COVID-19 pandemic. Please reach out to


• Two (2) peer-selected startups will be eligible for capital up to USD $20,000 each

• Capacity building sessions for founders in the growth phase on key challenges such as financial management, business planning, team building etc.

• Receive feedback and mentorship from investors, senior experts, and prospective partners from across the region

• Workshops will be conducted in a virtual format and hence you can join in from anywhere 

• Access to an investment analyst who will work with you 1:1 to help you with your financial models and narratives 

• Exposure on Village Capital’s program website and other communications collateral

Applications are now closed.

Advisory Board