Prashant Bhaskar, Founder, plugHR
In other words “plugHR is India’s first subscription based HR department. In a simple subscription, it allows companies to set up and run their HR departments at a cost that is at least 30% lower than any other alternative. Currently managing over 30 companies across 7 industries in 5 cities in India,
plugHR manages the entire HR function by deploying its proprietary knowledge model, motivated manager on site and sharp monitoring. Areas like organization design, compensation planning, hiring, induction, performance management, training & development and employee engagement get fully taken care of. So to set up a fully compliant and industry benchmarked HR set up all you need to do is sign up for a plugHR subscription.
So aside from the obvious where else can plugHR be of use?
Prashant answers “While the platform has attracted companies from various industries and sizes, primary focus of plugHR remains small & medium businesses. There are some 8 million enterprises that need a service like this across India, almost $15 billion is being spent annually by the industry in a hope to build a good HR department. Currently plugHR would be servicing over 6000 employees through its subscription platform, the number is bound to grow exponentially as more companies sign up.
“Key differentiators of our model are 1. Our proprietary delivery model that has been developed by our product team. 2. High quality training & monitoring of execution bandwidth that actually executes the model, 3. Constant Updates of the model that brings value to all clients without them investing in research at all and 4. Economies of scale that our clients get from service providers because of plugHR relationship.
Prashant plans to move forward and shared hi plans with Yourstory… ”The plugHR business model allows for rapid scalability, within two years of operations, plugHR has scaled up to Pan India operations. In next 6 months, we’d move to 8 cities in India. By end of this year Singapore and Middle East operations will get going. There is enough management bandwidth available in the company to undertake rapid ramp up.” The founder Prashant Bhaskar himself has over 10 years experience in building large scale businesses as part of Hutchison, BPL Mobile, JobsAhead.com.
He says “Entrepreneurship allows one to fully utilize one’s potential as well as satisfys one’s risk taking appetite; regular jobs don’t offer the latter. Also entrepreneurship fully rewards innovation & risk unlike a job. I didn’t want to just sell my time, but always wanted to create products and model that will create value in time. Also I got excellent grooming for entrepreneurship during my corporate years from successful entrepreneurs.
Yourstory asked him if he had ever suffered a setback of any kind he reminisces “Biggest challenge for me during startup years had been to attract bright and experienced professionals to join me in spite of resource limitations. To some extent my track record helped and then I had to really drive the team from upfront to instill a sense of purpose and confidence in them. Another big challenge was initial funding needs. We decided to bootstrap rather than losing equity early and ran the business without taking on fixed costs like office infrastructure etc. We worked from coffee houses across cities and even parks while maintained sharp eye on revenue opportunities"
“I underestimated the need for strong accounting and compliance machinery early on and relied on freelancers to pull this off. Similarly on the marketing front we used start up firms. I realized that if you are a startup, your vendors should be well set companies, otherwise it becomes like one blind man leading the other (no offence to the blind).
So with all the tightening of belts that was going on, how did he find his seed capital, we wondered, Prashant answered “Like I mentioned, we did away with the need for seed capital to a great extent by bootstrapping. Some initial investment was put in by my wife, who also sits on the plugHR board. I put in from my savings and we could pull off. Most of the investment was notional in form of my own opportunity cost, as I used to be paid well in corporate roles.
They have also made some headway after all the hard work. After all forbearance and the sweat of one’s brow do provide gains… “We have been on the growth trajectory from the word go. Barring one quarter we grew quarter on quarter right through two years. Over last year we have grown over 200%
Prashant told Yourstory what he considers as his crowning glory…”The biggest achievement in the growth has been that we grew on many counts. Our average price point per customer grew, our product portfolio grew, we expanded business in multiple geographies and we covered more than 7 industries. We could also gain good managerial bandwidth while growing and we still enjoy two day weekends.
“We got recognized early on when The Economic Times featured plugHR as “Big Out of the Box Idea” in December 2007, we were really small then, it was big encouragement. plugHR got nominated for TATA NEN Hottest Startup Award in 2008 and that was an exciting time for the team. The Hindustan Times also spoke good words about us in their business daily “MINT”. Our biggest recognition comes from the fact that over 90% of our clients have come in through client referrals. We are referred by venture capitalists, private equity investors to their portfolio companies and we work with many non-profit organizations.”
When asked if any job offer was good enough to entice him into working a normal job again he guffawed “Ha Ha, I think I might not fit in back there, but I do fondly remember those days. You had to deal with limited concerns then; those days were easy I’d say.”
He explained his love of the game saying “I think I love entrepreneurs, and I like being one myself. I see an unlimited opportunity, unsatisfied consumers, people craving for better products & services, brilliant professionals ready to execute good ideas, enough capital ready to get deployed, young men and women wanting employment. I feel they all are looking up to entrepreneurs. As an entrepreneur you can make such a huge difference. I belong here.
As for future goals, plugHR will be the largest HR platform in India by 2010 with over 100 companies on the platform and plugHR would be the choice place of work for brilliant HR professionals.
Yourstory also coaxed a few nuggets from Prashant concerning his personal bests he said “I got Indira Super Achiever’s Award at the age of 26, it was a great experience.
Each of the awards – Champion Sales Manager at BPL Mobile, Innovator Award at JobsAhead, Fast growing region Award at JobsAhead etc have been great motivators all along.”
Prashant advises “Talk to enough entrepreneurs and understand what they say, there is no point repeating the same mistakes. Work on the business model; make sure all energies are put on a business that will scale. There is nothing called limited entrepreneurship or part time effort, you’ve got to take the risk finally, so do it or don’t. Ideas help you take risks, good execution makes things work, so EXECUTE.” With thanks for the advice and his story, the team at Yourstory wishes plugHR all the best in their ventures present and future.