Mohankumar Swaminathan and Arun David studied Computer Science together at Karunya University in Coimbatore and graduated in 2011. During their college days, they had developed a student-oriented social networking script which was eventually sold to a Norway-based company. This kick early on in their professional lives gave them the confidence to take the entrepreneurship route.
After their college, both of them joined MNCs to gain some work experience, but they continued scouting for ideas all along. During this time, a lot of their friends went to study abroad and said that they preferred taking up part-time jobs to earn their living. Mohan wondered why such opportunities were not available in India? He decided to dig up a bit and research the Indian part-time jobs market. “I had discussions with part-timers who worked in quick service restaurants (QSR) like KFC, McDonalds, Event management companies for my primary research,” says Mohan. And while in Hong Kong for an onsite assignment, he had the opportunity to understand the nature of this job-market over there as well.
He discussed the idea with his good friend, Arun, and they got excited about the business opportunity. “The fundamental idea is to organize part time jobs in India and make the most out of this untapped - skilled human resource, which can’t take up a regular 9 to 5 job,” says Arun, who is the technical head of the new business that he and Mohan set up in this space. Mohan looks after business development. They developed a prototype and showcased it in PitchFest 2013, Chennai, and won the StartTank Incubation Challenge in early 2014.
They registered the company and started working on the MVP, and got in touch with another incubated company which was looking to hire 10 part-time workers to help upload data on their e-commerce catalogue. Since then, the journey has been upwards. But till this point, they didn't have a name for the company. “Two months of ‘namestroming’, mid-sleep waking to jot out names, funny riots over choices, and after shortlisting 300+ names, we came across this name which fit all our criteria,” recollects Mohan. And thus was born, DoPartTime.com. Going with the .com was a no-brainer since they had faced the pitfalls of having anything else with their previous effort (everyone knows .com and for a startup, you'll eventually need it).
Ever since DoPartTime got its pilot customer, the portal has been growing. On the B2C side, they have 4000 registered users with about 20 signups every day. In the job seekers’ end, DPT is targeting educated women, students, experts, consultants and retired professionals who are unable to take up the regular 9-5 job. From the context of a job provider, DPT is targeting startups and SMEs which would like to hire people on a short-term basis for example, QSRs, event management companies, training companies, media companies and training institutes. As per an Indian Staffing Federation (ISF) report, 1.3M people in India are taking up part-time jobs. This number is expected to grow to 9M by 2025.
Talking about reaching these potential part timers, Mohan says, “Part-time working in India is a cultural shift and there is a need to develop an ecosystem around it. Since our target users are spread across different personas we will be following different mediums to reach them.” For women, radio seems to be the perfect reach during the non-peak hours. For students, the plan is to have brand ambassador and campus placement connects.
For monetization, DPT is looking at: promoted and featured listings, subscription to the database of part-timers and value added services. The service is free for job seekers and so is posting a job. Operating from the StartTank Incubator in Chennai, DPT is a five-member team right now and is bootstrapped along with some funds from friends and family. As a sector, hiring portals are on a rise in India and we've seen promising traction for companies like HackerRank, Hackerearth, AasaanJobs, and IIMJobs, etc which are trying to cater to smaller markets as compared to a Naukri or a Monster but do it better. For DPT, the journey has just begun and their vision is to make hiring part-timers an easy, flexible and hassle-free experience.