Troy Erstling came to India for a six-month internship but never left. Not only did he find his happy place in India and start a company here, but he is now bringing young professionals from across the globe to India to take up great jobs.
We’ve often seen people from India go abroad to study and find jobs there, only to never come back home. But here is an American who came to Bengaluru two years ago, only to fall in love with the city and never go back.
This is the story of Troy Erstling, a 26-year-old incredibly joyful young man, who not only made India his home but is also bringing NRIs and foreign professionals to work in the country.
Troy finds them full-time well-paying jobs, not just volunteer work and internships, in various tech start-ups and other companies in Bengaluru and elsewhere.
“There is a talent deficit in some sectors like marketing and advertising, design, and even tech. Though Bengaluru has an abundance of people in tech and IT, there is still a huge demand that is never completely filled. And then, in other parts of the world, there is a talent surplus which can be used to fill gaps here,” says Troy.
The idea of finding good job opportunities in India for foreign candidates and even Indian-origin people who want to return to India to reconnect with their roots, gave shape to BrainGain, Troy’s recruitment company. Started in 2014, BrainGain has already recruited 15 candidates from seven countries, including the US, China, Spain, France, South Korea, Poland, and India.
For every person hired through BrainGain, the recruiting company has to give 15 percent of the candidate’s first year salary to BrainGain. The services of BrainGain are absolutely free for the candidates, of course.
“The idea is to get people out of their home countries and give them exposure in working in a foreign country,” says Troy.
Though Troy became a businessman just a year ago, he had business instincts all along. He would sell Pokemon cards as a kid and sometimes even his father’s merchandise. He was just nine when he went on an eight-week long residential camp all by himself. He loved meeting new people (and still does), and wanted to explore opportunities across the globe. His travels first took him to South Korea where he taught English to kids, before finally bringing him to India.
Troy got a six-month long IDEX fellowship in Bengaluru, a professional fellowship program connecting young leaders across the globe with social enterprises in emerging markets. This gave him the opportunity to work with Zoomcar, a car rental company. He worked with them for about a year before finally taking the plunge to start BrainGain.
“It wasn’t easy. I didn’t know anything about running a recruitment company. But I had made some good contacts here. I approached a large number of companies before finding 15 that were willing to hire foreign candidates,” he says. He asked them what kind of talent they were looking for, and based on their responses, started to look for potential candidates.
Troy went back to the US and got in touch with big business schools like Harvard and Cornell, where he found some students who were willing to work in India.
“I was surprised actually. I thought people would be reluctant to come to India but that wasn’t the case at all. The candidates were excited to shift here; they cared more about the job profiles that I was offering them. So it became a big responsibility to find them good jobs,” Troy says.
Adapting to India like a boss
Apart from BrainGain, Troy enjoys doing several other interesting things to keep himself busy — including becoming an emcee, doing voiceovers for animation movies, and even playing Santa!
Troy has become more and more fond of India, and more comfortable with his environment too. This shows in the way he takes care of the new candidates coming in. He welcomes them by picking them up directly from the airport and then taking them to the famous MTR for an authentic south Indian breakfast. This is followed by some basic shopping.
From taking care of their accommodation to helping them easily find all basic necessities, Troy is always there to make sure the candidates have a smooth stay here. His phone does not stop buzzing from several messages asking him for his expert advice on various matters – everything from bed bug attacks to cries for help on being locked out of the house!
Troy’s efforts have not only imported some great talent for Indian tech start-ups, but have also given a chance to people to experience a country they never thought they’d live and work in.
“It has also helped in changing their perception about India. One girl that I hired was reluctant to come here at first. Even her parents were worried about her safety, as they had heard about so many eve teasing cases in the news. But it’s been two months since she has been here and she couldn’t be happier. Her perception of India has completely changed for the good,” he says.
It’s not just foreigners that Troy is bringing into the country. Some Indian-origin people who have never been to India, and NRIs who haven’t been back in the country since they left years ago, are also returning with his help.
Apoorv, a 22-year-old boy, was one of his recruitments; he had never been to India despite the fact that he is of Indian origin. He was a computer science major and Troy helped him find a good job in one of the tech start-ups in Bengaluru. After two months of working here, Apoorv is now back in the US, but will soon return for his second stint in the country.
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Troy plans to now get more people on board in different fields, not just tech start-ups. He has received applications from highly qualified professionals like mechanical and chemical engineers, scientists, financial analysts, and many more.
“I am just not able to find the right types of jobs for them. I will now look for better job opportunities for all kinds of candidates,” he says.
Apart from India, Troy has lined up two companies in Malaysia where he plans to send Indian talent as well, and their plan is to further expand developing economies. It is his vision to help people find a job outside of their home country, regardless of what country you are originally from.
To all those looking to change the course of their lives, explore new places to live and work in, Troy says: “People don’t take the plunge, thinking they are not ready. The fact is you will never be ready. Even I am still not ready but I am doing it anyway and it has worked out well so far. You should just take the plunge if you believe in the idea.”
To know more about BrainGain, check out his website.