Gurgaon-based Kickstart Jobs has raised an undisclosed amount of seed funding from ah! Ventures. Vivek Joshi, Founder of Wyzen, Mohit Satyanand, Chairman of Team Works Art, Amit Banati, President-Asia Pacific of Kellogg's, Arun Khanna, President-Asia of Dun and Bradstreet, are few of the other investors who participated in this round.
It was something I felt very strongly about. There was a huge chunk of people who just couldn’t find jobs. And even when organisations like Pratham were focussed on ensuring that people from different backgrounds find their jobs, found that the process wasn’t easy,” says 28-year-old Abhishek Srivastava, Founder at Kickstart Jobs, who was earlier with Pratham for Education, Literacy and Vocational Training.
A recent report by LinkedIn suggests that close to 80 percent of graduates aren’t employable. The situation is direr when it comes to entry-level and blue- and grey-collared jobs. In order to solve this problem Kickstart Jobs was born.
The core idea of Kickstart is to solve the inherent problem that makes it virtually impossible for entry-level workforce to find jobs. The team currently is working on building a platform that helps entry-level candidates connect with prospective employers and vice versa.
Abhishek adds that the main problem is that there are several candidates for different entry level jobs that do not have access to technology and data like we do. “The key here is to build a unique and interactive play of an online and offline model,” says Abhishek. However, the exact details of the model is currently in stealth mode.
The founding team comprises of Abhishek and his friend and ex-colleague from Pratham Samriddhi Malhotra. Abhishek comes from a varied tech, oil industry and skill development background. While Samriddhi, an XLRI Jamshedpur alumnus, has worked with several rural communities across the country at grass root levels.
The idea currently is to build ‘leaders’ within the community of job seekers, who in turn use their existing strong network and connect with entry level job seekers.
“It is a deep understanding that we believe will crack into the market, we currently are working on the leader-centric app, but it is too soon to comment on anything else,” says Abhishek.
Currently operational in Noida, Gurgaon and Delhi, Kickstart has two promoters and ten employees and already claims to have enlisted 3,000 vacancies, conducted more than 2,000 interviews and registered more than 5,000 candidates. The startup claims to be growing at 100 percent MoM.
Speaking of their investment in Kickstart Jobs, Harshad Lahoti, Founder and CEO of ah! Ventures, says that they look at the startup idea and the team.
It is about whether the team has the right drive, hunger and humility. With Kickstart, I realised that the founders had a strong passion and motivation to solve this problem and we believe that the team have found a viable solution to this problem. As an investor I believe that the entry-level job sector is a massive opportunity that is yet to be solved, and we believe that Kickstart Jobs has the right motivation to solve this problem," says Harshad.
Skill gap is turning out to be a big challenge in the country. Apart from startups like UpGrad, GreatLearning, Simplilearn, Coursera and Udacity focusing on the white-collared skill gap, organisations like The Nudge Foundation too are working to transform blue-collared and entry level jobs in the market.
While there are definitely different players in the space, we believe our unique play will help achieve better results. With this funding we are looking to focus on further strengthening the product and test it out to a larger use case,” says Abhishek.