Changing the landscape for legal recruitment, the Vahura story
Hiring is one of the hottest sectors to startup because of a huge unemployed workforce in the country and very few people to regulate the market. But log on to most job portals and you see most listings are either from the tech sector or from BPOs/KPOs. Jobs listing for niche positions or sectors are generally few and far in between. This is where Ritvik Lukose and Lee Ignatius come in. They have been doing their bit to help companies find legal talent. Their flagship brand Vahura helps in legal recruitment and legal consulting .
Ritvik, a law graduate from NLSIU, started his career with Amarchand Mangaldas, which was where he learned the ropes. In 2007, he started Rainmaker - his first venture. He designed it as a platform for online legal education. It provides people with content related to law and helps them prepare for bar exams. He started his second venture Legal Talent Management Pvt Ltd (Vahura is the brand name) in 2011 with Lee Ignatius, an HR professional.
Talking about how they met each other, Lee says, “I had just quit Emmay HR (later acquired by Randstad), and had an offer to join the corporate HR team at an IT behemoth. When I came into return a book I had borrowed from a friend, I met Ritvik for the first time. He told me he planned to start a specialist legal recruitment business and asked me to join him. I was due to join the IT company the next day, and here I was getting an offer to start a search business with a bunch of lawyers. Frankly speaking, the typical headhunting mode l that was cold and transactional put me off, but since I loved meeting and helping people access the best path, I did think about it and the opportunity to create a totally new approach in recruitment. I had one day to make a choice- either to take the safe path with an IT behemoth or the road less travelled. It was a life defining choice, and one that I made within a few hours of our meeting. It has been an exhilarating and immensely satisfying journey, with so many possibilities ahead.”
How it works
A client sends his requirements for a specialist profile, which could include legal head or a partner for a firm. Once they meet the client and get the brief for the kind of position being sought, they go hunting for the right candidate. They meet and evaluate potential candidates and shortlist them for the client. Vahura specializes in searching talent for higher positions in the organization. They also have a special feature VahuraOnBoard that can be used to search for independent members for board of directors.
Vahura mainly work on a retainer model for consulting and mentorship programs. Apart from this they also have a contingent fee model for immediate requirements that are based on success. At present they have a 33 member strong team and presence in Bangalore, Mumbai and Delhi. They are also looking to expand in tier-2 cities and abroad.
Ritvik claims they have been growing at over 20 per cent, YoY. Every year around 200 people get placed in senior roles in various firms. Around 100 people register on the website every month. Their client base includes 18 of the BSE 30 and some VC and law firms in India and abroad.
Ritvik shares an interesting anecdote from his early days, “In our early days, we were struggling to make ends meet and pay our bills on time. My father-in-law asked me how the business was doing . I responded with gusto, talking about new clients, our growing team, recent wins and gross revenue. He stopped me short and quoted a truism, which I share at every opportunity- 'Top line is Vanity. Bottom line is Sanity. Cash Flow is Reality'.
We began to pay a lot more attention to invoicing, receivables management and credit options. We put processes in place and secured a credit line from a bank. It has made a huge difference and saved time that was otherwise spent in fighting the fires.”
Talking about their future, Ritvik says their short term plan is to get listed on the Institutional Trading platform of BSE/NSE as this will give them the ability to raise funds and allow flexibility on both growth and exit options.