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Round One is adding 1 lakh users every month, plans to foray into US market and raise fund: Interview with Nishant Mathur, founder, Round One

Wednesday August 14, 2013 , 4 min Read


India is a place of job seekers. There are millions in India seeking jobs but very few end up getting the job they preferred to have. While most of the job portals upload your CV/resume in their database without any guarantee for sure call, Round One, a Delhi-based networking platform, lets job seekers have guaranteed phone interviews with employees in over 2,000 companies spanning across 20 sectors.Founded in 2011, Round One has over 8 lakh registered job seekers and 12,000 referrers. Since its inception, Round One has been witnessing 20% month-on-month growth. In January 2013, Round One introduced a membership model for Rs 50, which enables job seekers to speak to company insiders on the phone to earn job referral. The startup also plans to enter the US market in a couple of months. To understand about growth of Round One, YourStory spoke to Nishant Mathur, founder, Round One. Edited excerpts of the interaction:

How has been the growth of Round One since its inception. Give some data points in terms of users signed up to platform and number of referrals earned by referee?

Round One has had a very high rate of acceptability as a concept in the online recruitment domain and has experienced a significant growth of almost 20% month on month. We currently have 8,00,000 registered job seekers and over 12,000 referrers or employees who provide job referrals to candidates. Round One is providing more than 1,000 referrals every month in 20 different sectors and in top companies such as Accenture, TCS, Wipro, and ICICI.

Take us through the growth of business of Round One.

Conceptualized by Nishant Mathur, Round One’s product and model took about a year to develop, as it was important to set up not only a network of active and sincere referrers but also ensure that the entire process for both the job seeker and referrer was seamless and transparent. Initially, the model allowed users to request a referral for free and only pay once the request to interact had been accepted by the referrer. In terms of growth, in the last year since Round One begun marketing, our referrer base has grown three-fold and the number of referrals/month has also increased by the same number. Currently, we are adding 1 lakh registered job seekers every month.

From which cities does Round One see maximum CVs/resume coming in, over the last 6 months?

Round One receives a large amount of its job seeker traffic from the metros and tier 2 cities as well. Bangalore and Delhi-NCR rank among the highest sources of visitors and this has been a steady trend since inception. Round One caters to 20-35 year-olds, and is popular among freshers and professionals with experience as well.

Have you been witnessing slow hiring process owing to global economic uncertainties?

Round One is essentially a networking platform that provides job referrals and is very different from a placement agency that works on filling specific positions. So, while there has been a slump in the number of new positions due to companies cutting back on hiring, Round One’s model is not negatively impacted, as the demand for referrals remains unchanged; more so, because it is common knowledge that a job referral is the best way to get noticed and increases a job seeker’s chances of getting hired significantly. In fact, given the change in the demand-supply equation due to the current economic clime, Round One’s ability to get job seekers noticed by HR favourably bolsters the model.

In an earlier interaction with Yourstory you outlined that there are no competitors or similar business model. Can you tell us who are the present competitors?

The answer still remains the same. There is no similar business model, globally. Round One provides both a network of referrers outside your personal circle and also has a managed, transparent process that allows the most suitable candidates to interact and get referred. We are very different from either job boards that simply list jobs and allow CV submissions or other networking platforms that only leverage your already existing network of friends and have no process to help you get the referral.

What's the funding status? Are you looking to raise fund?

Round One is a bootstrapped startup but given our business objectives of geographic expansion (to the US in the next couple of months), and team growth, we are looking to raise funds.

Is Round One profitable?

Round One’s model has been a profitable one since inception. Currently, we have an annualized revenue of INR 1 crore. The team has expanded considerably and comprises 10 members.