The journey from a small town in Karnataka to building $2M BeatMySalary in London, Karthik Prasad has a story to tellAparajita Choudhury
Born in Mysore, and brought up in a small town called Harihar in central Karnataka, Karthik Prasad got bitten by the entrepreneurial bug at the age of fifteen. In early 2000, he started selling assembled desktop computers from his bedroom - to his family and friends.
In 2003, Karthik, along with some of his friends, physically connected the computers of all their friends within a one km radius through underground LAN and cabling, to form gaming stations.
The lure of entrepreneurship has made Karthik earn the laurels of a serial entrepreneur. In 2004-05, he founded blogsavvy.com, which aimed to serve as a community place (a social site - like Facebook) for all techies. It gained good traction but had to shut down due to lack of maintenance.
I could not afford the servers, and scale. With the internet being available only through cafes, and costing up to Rs. 80 per hour, it was almost impossible to have found VCs who would fund such a venture.
After that Karthik wrote a series of tech articles after being approached by a national newspaper (VT, now a part of the Times Group).
Karthik completed his engineering in Electronics and Communications from GMIT Davangere (VTU) in 2006; and secured a campus placement into TCS. Later in 2009, he joined Cognizant Business Consulting.
Finally, in 2010, he shifted to UK. He started consulting with large retail and investment banks in the Content Management Space.
My companies have constantly been profitable and have made good revenues, year on year, in UK. And I established a good network of business professionals through my work.
The journey of BeatMySalary
Around the end of 2014, Karthik met Swash, who was born and brought up in London. He was an investment banker and a Qualified Chartered Accountant with over 20 years experience in investment banking [Morgan Stanley, JP Morgan and Deutche].
Karthik was eager to come up with a product that could potentially revolutionize the recruitment space, and streamline the hiring process by empowering both candidates and recruiters. That’s when he discussed the idea of starting BeatMySalary with Swash. Swash was equally excited about starting the venture as he had personally undergone similar pains in the job market. He decided to put in the seed capital of $50,000.
BeatMySalary was launched in India (Bengaluru) in May, 2015, and it soon started gaining more than expected traction in the very first month. The anticipated number was 500 candidates and 5 recruiters, but it reached 1500 candidates and 75 recruiters!
We had to develop the product in India for two reasons – one, we knew India is where the skill is and all my network was; and second, we had to keep the costs low due to the shoestring budget we had.
Karthik roped in Ronak Jain, an ex-Infosyian, to outsource the user interface to a Bangalore based design company. Karthik himself drew up the blueprint for the prototype to save on costs. In order to accelerate the process, a small team of logo designers and content writers has been hired to support the operations in Bangalore.
The startup is registered in London, but as of now, the product has been marketed only in India. It will soon be available in UK by the end of September, 2015. Karthik says that the product is pending approval from data regulatory authorities in UK. They will soon be able to launch their operations, post the regulatory and compliance approvals.
The product is currently focusing on the Indian market and has gained huge traction with over 12,000 social media engagements. We have 260 Linkedin followers - with over 75 per cent at the senior manager and VP levels. Over 70 per cent of the candidate base is coming from senior levels of the industry with educational backgrounds from IITs/IIMs and other premier B-Schools.
BeatMySalary's recruiters and candidates come from retail, finance, IT, automobile, logistics, FMCG, manufacturing, marketing, sales and business development.
How BeatMySalary works?
Karthik claims that BeatMySalary (BMS) is a first of its kind marketplace for recruiters and senior candidates in the industry. It facilitates and streamlines the hiring process.
Candidates register on BMS, and recruiters search for candidates using skills, keywords, location, current and expected salaries, experience and availability. The candidate information is turned into a sleek candidate card (like a playing card) which makes it easier for a recruiter to add these cards into a ‘basket’ that they can ‘reach-out’ to in one-go.
Multiple candidates matching particular search criteria can be reached out to using one job description, by using BMS’s internal email systems. A candidate who gets an email with a job-description, can accept or reject [in terms of allowing the recruiter to contact them]. If accepted by a candidate, the recruiter gets the candidate’s details in their “accepted” list (recruiter’s dashboard). They can then call, using internal BMS systems, to make further contact.
When recruiters reach a candidate using our internal email or even phone facilities, the recruiter does not get to know the candidate’s phone number or email address. Also, if the recruiter does not address a candidate’s expectations or constraints, they cannot reach out to that particular candidate with a job.
Recruiters have to pay a subscription charge to use the portal. The subscription charges are based on the talk time the recruiters buy in order to make calls to candidates, using BMS’s own in-house telephony systems. The subscription is based on a model called ‘we grow as you grow’ where the recruiters get 50 minutes of talk time and five responses from candidates free per month, after which they would need to select a bundle (like the number of concurrent logins, responses they would like to get per month, and talk time).
BMS has close to 130 registered recruiters: this includes startups, agencies, and large blue-chip companies like Exotel, Zaicus, TML JustDial, Amazon India, Target Corporation, Walmart-Lowes, and many more.
Candidates register for free. We do not charge any fee to the candidate being hired. We just charge a subscription fee to recruiters for using the portal to generate leads, and make connections with the candidates. Currently, we have only approved close to 100 recruiters as we follow strict policies to verify the authenticity of the recruiters.
In the next twelve months, BeatMySalary aims to have 75,000 senior candidates and 1000 paid recruiters. And in terms of revenue, it is eyeing a number of around Rs. 50 crores.
The startup plans to launch both the iOS and Android apps by mid September; and start marketing the product in UK around the same time.
The product will make its way into US, Australia, Japan, France and the Middle East by the end of 2016, with projected revenues of over $70 million. The product is currently valued at $2 million by a UK deal-broker firm, and is seeking funding from UK and Indian VCs. We are looking to raise close to $2 million over the next 15 months, in multiple tranches - both from early stage angels and VCs.