In a year, Bengaluru-based myNoticePeriod.com has over 400 paying clients, 85,000 job seekers and has raised Rs 18 crore. Itika Sharma Punit & Anita Babu find out how the company clicked
When internet giant Yahoo! decided to downsize its research and development (R&D) team in India last year, close to 600 professionals were reportedly lost their jobs. While several companies showed interest in hiring these highly-skilled people, there was no systematic way to connect with them.
A year-old website myNoticePeriod.com - started by former Yahoo! employees Manjunath Talwar and Abhijit Khasnis - came to the rescue. It hosted adedicated web page yahoo.mynoticeperiod.com, to help these laid-off employees connect with recruiters. The portal was instrumental in helping several find jobs.
"We are not sure how many were fired but at least 300 Yahoo! executives registered with us," said Talwar, chief executive officer, myNoticePeriod.com. "We personally knew several of the people affected. We haven't given a thought to whether or not we would do this for another company but may consider it."
The start-up was founded in January 2014, allowing companies to recruit from a pool of talented professionals ready to take up a new job.
"Both of us used to recruit for our teams in our earlier jobs. It was a constant pain when candidates would first take up the offer and then refuse the job just before the joining date. That's when the idea of myNoticePeriod.com came to us," said Talwar.
While online recruitment portals such as Naukri.com and Monster.com have been in India for several years, myNoticePeriod.com differentiates itself by focusing only on professionals who have quit their current jobs and are serving the notice period.
"Such candidates are serious about looking for a job," said Talwar, "making it easier for an employer to fill up positions faster."
According to the start-up's estimate, of around 3.1 million professionals the Indian information technology (IT) sector employs, around 35,000 change jobs each month. This is the target group for myNoticePeriod.com.
"In our earlier jobs, we realised that even when recruiters had access to candidates whose profiles were listed on job portals, we could not find candidates actively seeking jobs," Khasnis said. "That's the reason we do not allow candidates to keep their profiles on myNoticePeriod.com indefinitely. There's a said period for which the profile remains active, post which, if the candidate does not operate it, it is taken down."
It was this ability to find a unique idea in a market that already has several players that attracted Ravi Gururaj, the chairman of Nasscom's Product Conclave and an active angel investor, to put his money in myNoticePeriod.com.
Gururaj, who has a portfolio of about 20 start-up investments, has advised and invested in four in the human resource (HR) space.
"India will have the world's largest knowledge workforce and a voracious appetite for new, efficient tools and services which help with all aspect of talent acquisition, development and retention," Gururaj said. "The current processes and tools will be disrupted by newer trends such as mobile and improved analytics. Our start-up has done a great job in successfully entering this space that already has several large players by building an innovative unique offering that appeals to a wide range of customers."
After investing from own savings initially, myNoticePeriod.com raised Rs 2 crore in September 2014, from four angel investors - Gururaj, Raghu Krishnananda, Shamsunder Talreja, Prashant Kirtane, and IDG Ventures India. More recently, the company concluded a Series A funding round, raising Rs 18 crore from IDG Ventures India.
Now, the portal has a pool of 84,000 job seekers and a little over 400 paid clients. Among others, the company's clients include Wipro, HCL Technologies and Cognizant, as well as Flipkart.com, Amazon.in and Caratlane.com.
Talwar and Khasnis have both worked in several large technology companies and held key profiles for 15 years each.
An alumnus of Indian Institute of Management, Talwar worked with i2 Technologies before joining Yahoo!, where he defined the map for media properties such as Yahoo Autos, Games, Travel, Homes, Celebrities, TV and Weather.
Khasnis, an alumnus of Birla Institute of Technology and Science (BITS), has worked in leadership roles at technology companies like Oracle and i2, building their flagship products, besides his experience at Yahoo!
"A well-rounded package attracted me to myNoticePeriod.com," said Gururaj. "Talwar and Khasnis were hands-on engineering managers with experience and credentials, had worked together and bonded as partners in this venture, exhibited solid early business thinking, had identified an innovative approach to enter a big existing market, had identified a solid revenue model and were extremely passionate about building a big high impact company."
Among other things, the company is investing the funds it has raised for moving to a bigger office as it looks to expand its team. The company currently has around 35 employees.
The interiors of this new office are "inspired by" Nasscom's start-up warehouse, half a kilometre away and where the company was initially incubated.
A part of these funds will be used to enhance the technology behind the portal, and for expansion abroad.
"We don't have a set timeline but after we spend some more time in India and build the right solution, we are looking to expand to the US next," Talwar said. "It could happen by the end of this year." The team has studied the US market, and says no company there does what they do.
Overview: Online hiring portal and mobile application focused around candidates, who are ready to join on short notice. Helps companies fill up openings faster
Revenue: FY16 revenue seen at $3-4 million
Team: 35 employees across sales, technology, marketing, other functions
Funding: Angel round: Rs 2 crore; Series A: Rs 18 crore
Investors: IDG Ventures India, Ravi Gururaj, Raghu Krishnananda, Shamsunder Talreja, Prashant Kirtane
Revenue strategy: Subscription model for corporate clients; no fee from candidates
Challenges: Established incumbents
Job, marriage and house hunting touch the lives of every individual in India, and we are talking about a country of over a billion people. Online recruitment portals, in particular, disrupted the way things were done with the use of technology.
Over the years, recruitment portals have been a very useful tool not only for recruiters but for companies. However, the first-generation players in the space have now become quite generic and therefore several start-ups are coming up with more efficient tools that help in refining the process of finding candidates.
LinkedIn is one example, a professional networking website but used by recruiters to look for candidates in a more focused way. Several other start-ups have also launched tools that help in slicing and dicing a huge data pool of job seekers.
Through myNoticePeriod.com, a company can essentially save time and money in looking for candidates from scratch, as it gives access to professionals who might have been shortlisted by other companies, including competitors.
The online recruitment segment has huge potential because it was a pioneer in using technology. With emerging technologies playing a role, there is scope to take things to the next level of disruption.
The writer is C K Guruprasad, principal at Heidrick & Struggles India