Bangalore-based Evenrank helps companies find the right candidates with data science.
At NIT Raipur, where he studied computer engineering, Shreshth Tanwani (30) was head of the placement committee. After Mu Sigma, which he joined after college, he went to McKinsey, where he was active in recruitment and made a small fortune through referrals. “My HR manager used to say that I should work in recruitment, as what I earned through recruitment was more than my salary,” Shreshth says.
At McKinsey, he met Rishi Thussu (40), a doctor with an MBA from IIM Ahmedabad who was working as a consultant. “I have been involved with recruitments ever since I started working after my MBA in 2007. Our interest got intense in the last 4-5 years, and we started thinking about recruitment as a business opportunity,” says Rishi.
Without spending too much time mulling over it, the duo came up with the name Evenrank for their startup to denote a level playing field for everybody in recruitment, where only merit matters. Their USP: candidates need not upload their resume; potential employers can still find them.
Rustling up some money from friends and family, they registered the company in February 2016. Rishi, who was associated with Power of Ideas 2015 and PowerStart, where he mentored clean tech startups, is now CEO and takes care of finance and human resources as well. Shreshth is CPO and CTO.
Addressing an opportunity
Recruitment has many elements to it: sourcing of resume, screening profiles to ensure relevance to a particular position, calendaring and scheduling, on-boarding, offer letter rollout, attrition management, etc. These spaces are all so large that there are companies to do each of these roles. Says Rishi,
“Our interest was in the sourcing and screening space; it is the most upstream function. Traditional players like Naukri.com and monster.com rely on candidates to sign up and companies to sign up to access these candidates. Our model is a little different.”
The first question to answer was: how do you ensure authenticity of applicants without hurting the candidate’s confidentiality? To ensure the genuineness, the only way was to get it from public sources, and create a database.
“How do I cherry-pick the best people for a particular profile? We took a lot of public information that is accessible through Google search—LinkedIn and social media, specialised websites, people who ask questions on portals like Quora—and matched it using data analytics and created a profile of the candidate, with their contact information,” Rishi explains.
According to Shreshth, other job portals are all about mass recruitment. “Say, you need to find coders with experience in Microsoft and Amazon, no platform exists to help an employer find them. With Evenrank, you can specify which employer you want to poach from, so you see former and current employees from the particular firm,” he says.
Solving a problem
Different companies have different needs. An Infosys and a Google would need different types of Java coders, despite identical job descriptions. Says Shreshth,
“We show them completely different results. We study the company’s historical hiring pattern, and create a model out of that to predict the kind of persons they need. Any other portal will show you identical results.”
However, getting recruiters to change their recruitment style is the biggest challenge. “Getting them to move away from LinkedIn and Naukri, recruitment consultants, etc, to something brand new, even if it is something more effective, is a challenge. But we will overcome it,” says Rishi.
According to its clients' feedback, Evenrank has made some additions to the portal. For instance, more filters are added if they are useful for multiple clients. In fact, a diversity filter was added when a client stated that they were looking for female employees. Evenrank also has filters for IIT, IIM, etc, as some companies are particular about degrees or certifications from those institutions, says Rishi.
Structuring the business
Evenrank monetises through an annual subscription model. It usually charges Rs 2 lakh per seat, but also offers bespoke packages to enterprise users, SMEs and startups, depending on usage requirements. Clients for recruitment from IT make up about 30 percent, and the rest come from banking, financial services, infrastructure, real estate, construction, healthcare, retail, entertainment, and journalism sectors.
The subscribers can connect directly with the candidates through the portal. Evenrank’s database currently has more than 50 lakh profiles. Rishi claims that unlike players like Naukri.com, all of them actually fit an archetype. He adds: “We don’t have freshers on our portal. Experienced people are picky about what makes sense in the long term. They want to be reached out to. Recruiters are also surer about the kind of person they are looking for.”
Most companies use recruitment consultants for such hiring with high commission rates. But Rishi claims that Evenrank makes it cheaper and simpler. “Passive recruitment is when you won’t look for a job but are open minded; about 50-60 percent professionals come under this category. They don’t even upload their resume; we help find them,” he says.
EvenRank currently works with Fortune 500 companies and startups including Treebo Hotels, TheHomeSalon (owned by Jean Claude Biguine salons) and OnePlus. Shreshth says: “We want to scale globally. We will launch in countries in south-east Asia and the Middle East by the third quarter.”
Bangalore-based Evenrank is currently a team of nine, with half of them in tech. “We want to build on data science, business development, sales etc. But we are a product company; we want a super-tight organisation–not 100 employees,” adds Rishi.
Globally, belong.co is a similar player, but they follow services model, whereas Evenrank is a product company. Rishi is confident that they will break even in four to five years. Recruitment is generally a profitable business. Whether it is one person or 50 using the portal, the company’s spend is the same. But when it becomes 5,000, you need to spend more on technology, which can support so many users at the same time, build help desk, customer care, etc.
Although the founders have not spoken to any VCs yet, Rishi says that they are open to investment from those who understand what Evenrank does.