"Hiree now wants to be the ‘fastest tech-driven hiring platform and is on its way to do this in India already".
--Abhijit Khasnis and Manjunath Talwar, Hiree.com
Hiree.com is a company whose founders are people with significant industry experience, especially in the HR and hiring space. Having built and worked with large teams in their previous organizations, the founders of Hiree had been constantly involved in hiring, beyond their normal work.
Therefore, when they decided to a start a company of their own, and were looking for a problem that needed resolution, they gave hiring top priority. While both Abhijit Khasnis and Manjunath Talwar gave deep thought to ideas such as social networking and payments, it was eventually hiring that they settled for.
"We picked hiring as our solution since it was a problem we had known for long. We had domain expertise in this segment, which is why it was our first choice", informs Manjunath.
According to both the founders, a significant impetus was provided to their start-up by NASSCOM's Warehouse, an important pillar in the chamber's 10,000 Start-ups initiative.
"Well after we kick-started our project, we were told by many people that hiring was a tough space in terms of receiving VC funding. We heard about how VCs didn't offer funds to Recruitment Agencies.", says Abhijit.
An excellent workspace, which did not look in any way like a garage, the Warehouse appealed to the duo as it also had other start-ups operating out of it. "It was a great place for us to start off. NASSCOM's Warehouse motivated and inspired us and made us feel comfortable about being a start-up", he adds.
Funding however, was a challenge. The company was trying to create a new product and VCs and investors were keen on ideas that they were sure would work in the market and could be benchmarked.
The light at the end of the tunnel for hiree.com turned out to be former colleagues from Yahoo.com who decided to invest in the start-up. Quickly, the company received its first round of funding, which was followed by a second round, when IDG also put in money into the fledging venture. "NASSCOM made us feel comfortable with the idea of entrepreneurship and helped us to connect with customers and funding agencies", states Manjunath.
Since its launch, the growth of the service has been phenomenal. "This week, the number of job seekers who have registered on hiree.com, basically owing to our own marketing, has crossed two lakhs!" Today, most top companies are already customers of hiree.com or in discussions with the company to be its customers.
"A key support has been the fact that NASSCOM is with us. We are incubated in NASSCOM and it has been supporting us as a start-up. The backing of the NASSCOM name, has given credibility to our work". Even hiring for its own needs became easier for the company with NASSCOM by its side.
"People got impressed with the NASSCOM Warehouse. We could attract people for interviews and give them a feel of the excellent workplace. In that sense, NASSCOM helped us to hire quickly and scale rapidly", he comments. According to the founders, the timely support it received from NASSCOM, investors and IDG, played a great role in its success.
"Our own experience of being in this business with Yahoo and the various products we had launched earlier, added to our confidence levels. Abjiit, who had managed large teams across companies and was a hands-on and people friendly person enabled us to approach entrepreneurship differently", Manjunath adds.
Improvements in the overall start-up eco-system, where they were more VCs, angels and support mechanisms, further enabled hiree.com to stay on the fast track. The company decided that it wanted to grow fast and scale fast. It took decisions quickly and aggressively. "Our philosophy was that if you have to fail, fail quickly! However, go full swing into your effort".
Hiree.com was additionally big on advertising and began investing in brand building even before the beta version of its product could be out. The company spent on radio and Digital. "We felt we had a decent product and needed to go-to-market fast, gain feedback, make corrections and reach out to our customers", says Abhijit.
According to both Manjunath and Abhijit, maintaining clarity was important as well. Hiree had an idea and stuck to it. It held on to its own beliefs without getting influenced by anyone and stayed on course.
Having come this far and disrupted the recruitment space in India, Hiree now wants to be the "fastest tech driven hiring platform" and it is on its way to do this in India already. It is now looking to reach the US and over the next five years, build a global presence. While in terms of the job seeker base the company is essentially focused on India, its recruiters however, are spread across the globe.
"Over the next few years, we will continue to build on our USPs. Currently, we are the only portal that has active job seekers. We remove people after their notice people has expired. This has improved hiring efficiency significantly. Once job seekers sign up, we find out how soon can they join, and how long they have to serve their notice period. The passive guys are removed from our list, only the active ones remain. Their number may be small, but it is of high quality and value. It is essentially people who want to talk to you", Abhijit comments.
Improved hiring lead times and the increase in hiring efficiency have drawn the recruiters as well. The company is addressing the needs of 14,000 recruiters who are struggling to hire quickly and efficiently. "Going forward, we want to do a lot more in the space that we are invested in right now. We will work on creating new things, new innovations", Manjunath says.