Offering recruitment solutions to Indian startups and small businesses, Mumbai based entrepreneur, Jay Thaker tells us that his venture, SutraLite, is a low-cost fixed fee recruitment service that guarantees results. He claims that it’s a unique recruitment model that’s not been tried in India ever before. “Since ages, the recruitment industry has seen a typical commission based model and all recruitment activities are carried out around popular online job portals,” says Jay.
With SutraLite, they are trying to break that monotony and give a fresh look to recruitment. “We handle each recruitment assignment like a customized recruitment campaign,” says Jay.
What’s also unique is that this service is primarily for startups/small businesses.
Waqar Azmi founded Sutra Services Pvt. Ltd. and launched SutraHR. He has never worked as an employee under someone and started his first venture, an e-commerce idea, much before its time during his engineering days.
Jay started his career working with various startups. Ironically, he got placed at Burrp.com through SutraHR. That’s where the two met and realized that they both shared a common passion for entrepreneurship. He then joined Sutra as a co-founder. Currently, they have a team of around 55 and are aiming to increase that number over the next 3 months.
In 2009, they had already been running an HR consultancy which helped build teams at some of the hottest new-age Indian startups like Snapdeal, Komli, Zapak.com, Yebhi.com, etc. All of these startups were in the dotcom and technology space. But they also realized that there are several other lesser known startups, small businesses and growing organizations with limited resources, which desperately need good talent. “These startups/small businesses are bogged down by problems related to recruitment like cost, speed, service quality and delivery guarantee,” says Jay. This prompted Jay and Waqar to think of a ‘compact, yet functional solution’ that is very affordable but does not compromise on quality.
They agree that although there’s no dearth of recruitment agencies in India, there was a clear lack of a reliable yet cost-effective recruitment service, which understood the needs of a startup/small business. That led them to start SutraLite.com.
Even before starting out, they had made enough connections with entrepreneurs, startup companies, small/medium businesses. As a test marketing tool, they used this network to validate the business model and gather feedback about the service before launching it. As part of this, they also offered the service on minimum costs as an incentive for people to give it a shot initially. “Our results were favorable and clients found our recruitment process quite effective,” says Jay. And that was enough for the duo to go ahead full throttle and launch this venture in early 2010.
So far, they have served over 700 startups and small businesses from around India, for various job roles and have run about 1200 job campaigns for these companies. “We’ve helped companies hire at all levels, including receptionists, sales managers, merchandisers, graphic artists, web developers, finance heads, CTOs and co-founders too, the list is long!” says Jay.
Since they already had a profitable business (SutraHR) and existing infrastructure of relationships with job portals, candidates, databases, etc., they did not have to make any real investment or take any external financial assistance for this venture. They bootstrapped their way ahead and are currently growing at a fast pace. “Of course, we do plan to raise funds in the near future and use them for scaling our operations multi-fold,” says Waqar.
They believe that since they don’t know of any recruitment company with this business model, there’s no direct competition as such. However, they agree that their primary and biggest competition is the recruitment consultancies catering to the same market. Although their percentage fees eventually turns out much higher than their fee.
SutraLite.com’s services are not geographically confined. Although based in Mumbai currently, they serve clients from across the country in cities like Bangalore, Delhi, Chennai, Pune, Ahmedabad, Kolkata, and Goa. “About 40% of our clients are from Mumbai and the rest are distributed across these other cities,” says Waqar.
Unlike recruitment consultancies, they don’t charge a commission based on the salary offered to the selected candidate or the number of candidates hired. Instead, they charge a predetermined fixed fee depending on the type of recruitment services chosen. This way they “tailor” the solution as per the company’s needs. Thus it becomes an extremely cost effective alternative to using expensive job portals or paying heavy commissions to consultancies.
Their recruitment specialists filter job applications (CVs), tele-interview short listed candidates and then schedule them for interviews with the client – this leaves the client with making offers and hiring the candidate. “It’s as good as having a small remote recruitment team, starting at just Rs.8999 per month!” says Waqar.
“Our expansion plans are pretty straightforward. We are looking at scaling up in team size, increase marketing spends to reach out to relevant audience and empower our processes with more technology, for better results and standardization,” explains Jay.
They are also working on strategic tie-ups with different non-HR companies which have a similar target audience. They also plan to offer franchisees across India.
SutraLite has also recently launched a web-based SaaS product, sumHR (www.sumHR.com). sumHR is engineered to let startups and small businesses simplify their HR management as their team grows bigger and difficult to manage.
To know more about them, visit www.sutralite.com.