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MyRefers pivots to marketplace model, focuses on consultants and individuals to drive hiring for businesses

Jai Vardhan
7th Mar 2016
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While hiring is a big problem for startups and corporates, securing potential opportunity in desired ventures is not an easy task for job seekers. Traditional recruiting platforms like Naukri and Shine reduce the problem to some extent, but filtering noise and cut through it is a herculean task. To make hiring process easy, Lalit and Kashish Bhagia stared MyRefers, a referral recruitment platform, in July 2014.

Team MyRefers
Team MyRefers

MyRefers has now pivoted from peer-to-peer referral platform to one-stop referral network for individuals, consultants, and freelancers. Lalit (38) says:

While individual based external referrals was the initial focus , we realised a lot of consultants and freelancers were registering as referrers and using the platform. We decided to enable them, rather than keeping them out of the process.

Moving to marketplace fabric also makes sense for MyRefers as excluding consultants (brokers) is not feasible in Indian market. Horizontal classifieds like Quikr and OLX also failed to flush them out and are eventually moving towards verticalisation. Currently, the recruitment space is valued at $1 billion opportunity. However, the market cap of Naukri, Shine, and others constitute barely $100–$120 million.

Currently,over 85 per cent of market is being catered by consultants and freelancers. Lalit adds,

On an average, a consultant sits over 1,00,000 CVs; however, they don’t have the technology and required skills to use it. We simply want to marry this database with our tech capability.

Besides consultants, MyRefers focuses on freelancers and individuals. Freelancers usually deal with over 50,000 CVs,whereas individuals have about 30,000 connections (email, social and jobs board). “Over the past six months, we’ve been developing algorithms to filter these data across different buckets and make it usable for hirer,” says Lalit.

MyRefers analyses data from one’s email and mine data and look for affinities. Lalit explains,

Our algorithms rank every profile on three key parameters, skills (coming from CTQs), culture (where we match the attributes of the current employees Vs. the applicant using social data) and trust (basis the relationship skills and past referring history of the referrer and the candidate)- to arrive at the most relevant hire for a particular position.

Hiring mandate lies with mandate of picking employees but actual hire is being driven by HR executive. He observes that JDs prepared by HR are unnecessary as it hardly explores affinity for define openings. This mis-match often inflict losses of money and time, high attrition and low performance.


Recommended read: A slew of tech savvy startups are redefining the online hiring industry in India


The marketplace approach has enabled MyRefers to target bigger slice of the overall recruitment space. “We are gunning for only 10 per cent of $1 billion recruitment space to become bigger than Naukri,” says Lalit. The platform drives recruitment through 60 per cent consultant, 30 per cent individuals, and remaining from direct application.

While individual external referrals was the focus initially but MyRefers has now expanded to include consultants and freelancers. The company is building AI and cognitive technology based algorithms, bucketing data capability across various classes/points. Myrefers analyse data from ones' email and mine data and look for affinities.

MyRefers claims to maintain steady growth of 15–20 per cent every quarter. “We are close to breakeven. At present, we make little over Rs two million on a monthly basis,” says Lalit.

(From R to L - Lalit, Kashish, Piyush Mittal
(From R to L - Lalit, Kashish, Gunaseelan mani and Piyush Mittal)

MyRefers, a Delhi-based startup, secured an undisclosed amount of pre-Series A funding from VC firm Bedrock Ventures during October 2014 and now plans to secure Series A funding. “We’re in talks and confident to close Series A by May this year,” concludes Lalit. It also plans to roll out its mobile app.

Future prospects

About 12 million people are entering the job market every year in India and thus offering immense potential for new-age recruitment platforms. A recent report indicates that there is 90 per cent increase in the number of users who use mobiles to look for job opportunities and 75 per cent increase in the users who apply for jobs through this medium.

Instead of creating a new platform in crowded market, MyRefers focuses on making existing data usable. Weeding out consultants and brokers appear to be very challenging tasks across various verticals like real estate, jobs, automobile classified, etc. MyRefers decision to see consultant as major enabler in entire process looks interesting.

P.S. We have updated the post with a few changes

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