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Having lived in Gurgaon for over a decade, Arjun Khera (27) never had to worry about looking for people to play cricket with or to pursue other hobbies. But when a friend, who moved to the city from Bangalore, told Khera about his inability to find someone to pursue photography with, it set him thinking.
“In school, we automatically get a group of people to play with. But one of the problems of growing up is that most of us stop playing. It gets difficult to find people with common interests. So I thought of creating a platform where people can not only talk about skills and talents, but also learn from each other. It is like Tinder but for sharing and learning new skills. That’s how the idea of Skillmate came to me,” said Khera, who pursued his MBA from Lal Bahadur Shastri Institute of Management.
Skillmate is an android-based application that allows users in a particular neighbourhood to not only teach skills they know to others, but to learn new skills from people.
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“A person may know to bake but may want to learn Spanish. Another person in the same area may already know Spanish, but be interested in learning baking. The two can log on to the app, find each other and learn each other’s skills,” said Khera.
The app has three options – a user can teach a neighbour a skill for a fee, a skill can be learnt by finding a teacher nearby, or a person can pair up with another to learn a new skill. Users can also create profiles and rate strangers on a “trust” meter that helps weed out fake profiles.
To test if the idea would work, Arjun and his team conducted an online survey of 200-odd Delhi University students in December. “At least 80 per cent students said they had problems finding a partner to engage in a common hobby. Seventy five per cent said they wanted to learn something new, or teach something they knew and earn some money, but didn’t know how. Ninety per cent said they would prefer someone who lived nearby to engage in a hobby,” says Khera.
With help from his father, Arjun launched the app last week, which has also won the Times App Search Contest. “If people can use technology to find a date, why not to learn a new skill?” said Khera.