The genesis of CredForce traces back to the entrepreneurial vision of its President and Group CEO, Rajiv Gupta, a pioneer in talent management practices with a prolific professional record and an even more impressive academic background. It was only natural that the company he founded was considered one of the hottest startups in the market by almost every single stakeholder right from the get-go. CredForce, today is the world’s largest and most diversified ecosystem of credentialing and certification verticals, lends its expertise in capability validation to professionals, corporations, global aid bodies like the World Bank, and governments in every major market on the planet. As the Founder, President and the Group CEO, Rajiv is responsible for strategic direction, global alliances, and incubation of new business verticals.
Six years is usually considered an early maturity stage for a start-up. That is if you can call CredForce a start-up. Consistent, triple-digit CAGR over six years, a footprint spanning 180+ countries and a fiercely competitive team of young blood and young at heart, has set this enterprise a class apart. Not that there is a herd anyway. CredForce has, quite literally, handcrafted the global credentialing industry and claimed its market leadership, an example of the famed blue ocean strategy in practice. CredForce today is a consortium of ten global credentialing authorities, a plethora of proprietary application platforms and more than 18 knowledge frameworks of its own. Standing tall on its own strengths and products, CredForce crossed its first major milestone with the innovation of the world’s first Cross-Enterprise, Real-Time Certification and Audit platform in 2012. Within the next two years, they also created the world’s first ever BPM services platform.
Its laurels include regular mention in the BRICS 100 Fastest growing companies, repeated rankings as the Company of the Year in prestigious publications like the Silicon India, CIO Review, and a whole host of others. It holds one of the highest employee ratings in the industry. CredForce has grown at a scorching pace since it was founded and is not likely to cool its heels anytime soon, as it clocks up massive numbers in professional, enterprise and government certifications, while rapidly ascending the value chain; not to mention it’s direct presence worldwide with offices in Austin, Palo Alto, Gurgaon, Bangalore, Mumbai, London, Glasgow, Singapore and Cape Town. The CredForce growth and astonishing expansion story have largely been two-pronged – its own organic growth with the establishment of several offices across the world (their Dubai office is on the verge of being inaugurated at the time of publication of this article) and their huge partnership network that enables last-mile outreach in several regions. Its partner network straddles 180+ countries. In fact, their growth numbers speak for themselves, perhaps louder than the awards they have received in a short span.
At the core of this phenomenal growth story is Rajiv Gupta, multifaceted but remarkably modest (given his accomplishments both in his career and education). The leader of this organization can almost be mistaken for a modern polymath. Born and raised in India, he comes across as a quiet but intense man whose intellect is only bettered by his sheer business acumen and a pronounced enthusiasm about everything around him. Rajiv has experienced semi-professional success in almost all his hobbies. Besides being a celebrated entrepreneur, he is also an active angel investor in several other startups in different countries, empowering others to achieve entrepreneurial success as a guide and mentor. “From my perspective, the purpose has always been to spiral out and explore whatever I could, whenever I could, and not commit to something that I couldn’t see through to the final result,” says the man with a pensive look when asked in an internal employee meet-up. He truly embodies the spirit of the explorer, which seems almost like a guiding light to his employees. The result of which is the inspired growth story of the company he founded. He is largely considered an approachable and attentive leader by colleagues and staff, witnessed by the fact that CredForce has incredibly low employee turnover. Not to mention his personal care and attention to almost every employee. He makes it a point to personally wish each one on their birthdays and holds individual meetings with each of his teams whenever he is visiting the CredForce GDC at Gurgaon, India. Not content on resting on his laurels, however, he states “Growth and diversification is the very essence of organizational evolution in a digitally transformed world. Plan fast, plan big, and plan ahead is one of my favorite phrases.”
And he lives by it, too – so does his team who visibly embody his beliefs. CredForce has already launched the world’s first international 3rd party, vendor-neutral credentials for professionals managing Blockchain transformation in their organizations and for clients. According to Rajiv, “CredForce was conceived as a model ahead of its time, and we’ve not only been the first, but also the fastest mover in this market across the world”. This pioneering attitude and outcome-centric mindset will be a key factor in the next two years. For a man who is this humble and soft-spoken, the sky-high ambitions he has set for himself and his company are quite the opposite. Their growth roadmap reads a targeted $100 million in revenue by 2020, and they seem to be well on their way to make this happen.
So, what’s around the corner for the world’s most expansive and diversified conglomerate in credentialing? “Consolidating our position is key in the newer markets we have penetrated, even as we continue to innovate and complement our product line to include disruptive technologies whose mainstream status is imminent, for example, areas like nanotechnology and VR/AR”, continues Rajiv, “our key differentiator has always been as the vendor-neutral, platform-agnostic, functional and technical certification authority. We intend to drive this home in all our target markets, about how important it is to be thorough with a holistic skill-set. This has been our mission statement from our launch. You never know what the next big technology platform is going to be, in any industry.” He adds, “Government programs have a lot of scope in terms of offering futuristic programs for workforce development. It is our constant endeavor to align large scale up-skilling with focus areas and policies of the governments and large institutions we work with.”
A man who has harbored entrepreneurial aspirations long before it became fashionable, he considers the staggering success of CredForce in the credentialing industry as his biggest reward. “Every target milestone that we cross gives me the same thrill as that of the day we signed up our first international customer”, he says. Asked about his advice for aspiring entrepreneurs, he says “It’s a cliché to say, but build your own path and don’t follow trends. In my opinion, what matters is how you stick to the high road in difficult times and persist through odds. Growth pains are inevitable. That’s why they are called growth pains. Although Rajiv still considers himself a disciple of his vocation, he is largely regarded an industry veteran among the talent managers’ community.
He is a graduate of the Indian School of Business and a Fellow of The Wharton School, besides also having attended Kellogg School of Management. He is also a gold medalist in HRM, which he earned during his Master’s degree. 2018 marks his second decade in business and strategic leadership roles. He has been the head of human resources and people management in several large organizations.