Delhi-based virtual employee provider Wishup bridges the gap between entrepreneurs and people looking to work from home.
Mallika S, a flight attendant with Air India gave up her job when she conceived her son. Not keen on leaving her child with a nanny or at a day-care facility, Mallika started looking at work-from-home options that also offered growth opportunities.
It was then that she heard of the term virtual employee.
Delhi-based virtual employee provider Wishup, through its various selection processes and interviews, aggregates talent and matches the skill sets and past-experiences of Virtual Employees with the needs and demands of their clients.
Founded in July 2015, Wishup’s clients mostly include entrepreneurs, self-employed workers, and professionals. Their virtual assistants are graduates, have experience and are better alternatives to more expensive full-time employees.
Besides managing social media activities, virtual employees can accomplish a wide range of tasks such as client management, sales excellence, recruitment support, e-mail marketing, creating databases and managing CRM tools, admin tasks (invoice creations, and followups, arranging services and secondary research.)
Saloni Bagaria, mother of a two-year-old, working with Wishup, says, “The flexibility of time helps increase the efficiency. As a new mother, I wanted to work from home so that I could take care of my child. With Wishup, I have my career along with family.”
The Wishup team
Neelesh Rangwani and Vivek Gupta, batchmates at IIT Madras, have known each other for more than 10 years. They were looking to bridge the gap between a talented workforce and businesses/entrepreneurs looking for smart employees who work remotely.
Twenty-eight-year-old Neelesh, after completing his MTech in Mechanical Engineering, worked with KPMG's Management Consultancy Division. He then joined Rocket-Internet’s Fab Furnish as a marketing manager before moving to Germany to join another venture of Rocket Internet.
Vivek, on the other hand, holds an MBA degree from IIM-Ahmedabad. Before co-founding Wishup with Neelesh, he worked with Boston Consulting Group's Operations Project.
Wishup began by helping customers with their personal tasks on chat. The initial challenge was to win trust in a remote working setup.
"Delivering high quality work by skilled remote employees has helped us get referrals and testimonials from our clients," says Neelesh.
From then to now
In March 2017, Wishup changed from being a chat-based concierge to a virtual assistant service. It moved further and to become Virtual Employee (VE) company. According to the founders, in the last decade, 50 to 70 online tasks have come up that a VE can do. Currently, Wishup has 45 to 50 VEs working with them. As many as 90 percent of them are married women with children, from Tier-I and Tier-II cities and majority of them are between 27 and 45 years old.
The new model
VEs applying to Wishup.co have to undergo several rounds of filtration and training. The platform a client side and a VE side.
- Client side - Clients come with various demands and requirements, the kind of tasks they want to get done and the skills they are looking for in VEs.
- VE side - An average of 500 applications are received every month from various remote professionals, highlighting their skills and work experience. Applicants have to undergo a rigorous hiring process - tests and interview rounds where they are evaluated in over 30 different parameters including their communication skills, internet skills, and problem-solving skills.
- While VE applicants are rejected, only two to four percent are shortlisted. Once hired, VEs have to go through a four-week training programme, where their skills are upgraded for 50 common tasks by managers at Wishup.
VEs with the maximum matching skill sets are introduced to the clients, who then choose to go with one or more VEs and the pay is planned accordingly.
The platform also tracks the performance and time taken spent by each VE to complete each task for each client, on a daily and monthly basis.
According to a report by Manpower Group Solutions, economists predict that India's workforce will exceed 900 million by 2020 thereby moving ahead of China as the largest workforce economy. Neelesh and Vivek believe, over the next decade, most of the world would be working remotely, without actually having to go to office.
While there are a lot of VE players in Eastern Europe and the Philippines owing to the cheaper workforce market, Wishup's nearest competitors include Zirtual, AskSunday, Freelancer.com, VirtualEmployee.co.in and Actitionalscience.com, among many others.
Wishup's low price point makes it more desirable than their global competitors. According to the founders, Indian VEs provide services at a lower price, despite having experience of five to 15 years.
Cost and revenue
Wishup has an average rate of revenue of $500,000 and claims to have more than 500 business clients, including 91Springboard and co-founder of Nearbuy. The team adds that the company has grown about 10x since its inception.
Wishup has spent more than Rs 2 crore in tech, marketing, recruitment and training of the VEs and it took the founders 18 months to reach their current stage. Clients are the main source of revenue for Wishup since they do not charge the VEs for the training as of now. Employees are paid a fixed salary on the very same day that they receive revenue from the clients.
"We add our commission, operating cost and recruitment costs as a premium over employee's fixed pay," says Neelesh.
Wishup is funded by Inflection Point Ventures and client Vinay Bansal and some of his colleagues. It has also been funded by Tracxn, 500 Startups and other angels in the past.
Deepak Chandran, CFO of Wipro Consumer Care, who invested in Wishup through IPV says, "Wishup solves the complex and unique problem of connecting entrepreneurs and fast-growing businesses with experienced professionals who want to work remotely. I see a huge market on both demand and supply, which is set to grow fast as the number of entrepreneurs grow globally."
In the next five years, Wishup plans to remove the extensive recruitment process and thus, avoiding heavy hiring costs. It wants businesses or startups to be able to log in, choose a set of VEs and start working immediately.