Once an entrepreneur, always an entrepreneur. Nothing can describe 47-year-old Deepak Agrawal better.
Deepak, who graduated from IIT Delhi in 1992, successfully exited his startup – SmallbizExpress, a web services and CRM product company - in the US nine years ago. He returned to India soon after, and while most would bask in their success, that was not for Deepak.
He joined the academic fraternity, teaching 'learning and development' courses for eight-and-half years at the Indian School of Business (ISB) in Hyderabad. “Most students used to come to me to talk about their careers, and say their CV was not shortlisted,” says Deepak. For the majority of his tenure at ISB, Deepak was the point-of-contact between ISB and recruiters from technology companies.
While on one side, he noticed his students facing rejections from companies, on the other, potential employers would tell him that candidates did not match their requirements.
That’s when he decided to create an Artificial Intelligence (AI)-based platform to use ‘common sense’ and solve the most difficult problem of recruitment - matching the right candidate with the right company in the shortest possible time.
A technologist, Deepak has also worked with organisations such as Infosys and PwC.
Deepak cites an example where a student with work experience at a small company was not recruited by an MNC. When he sought to know why he was rejected, the recruiters said they did not know about the candidate’s previous company. However, they were quick to change their decision once Deepak told them what the company did.
This helped him see the fundamental weaknesses in the recruitment process. “On a resume, there is just one word on the company and if somebody can change the meaning of this, it gives a completely new facet to employability,” he says.
In March 2018, Deepak set up TurboHire in Hyderabad, an AI-based recruitment platform that analyses the details of a candidate in terms of skills, educational qualifications, and work experience etc. and matches it with prospective recruiters. Its database already has a bank of 28,000 candidates with technical degrees.
The team of bootstrapped TurboHire includes Co-founders Abhishek Kabra, Gaurav Kumar, Aman Gour, and Rakesh Nayak. Abhishek, Aman, and Rakesh are from IIT Bombay while Gaurav is from NIIT Trichy. All co-founders have experience working at Google and Microsoft.
Building AI solution
The team of TurboHire started building AI-based algorithms that define the various skills of a prospective candidate spanning their technology expertise, companies previously worked at, education, and a host of other factors. The co-founders say most of this information is available in a resume, but being unstructured, is difficult to sift through. TurboHire’s AI tool structures the data to make decision-making easier for employers. Deepak says,
“The employment market is in a jam because of the lack of ability to take a quick decision, and we plan to solve this problem.”
The team at TurboHire worked on the AI-based platform for 18 months before taking it to the market in September of 2018. Deepak claims the solution has been received well, and the company already has a large IT services company as its first customer. “This company receives 85,000 applications every month, and there is bound to be error and delays due to the sheer volume,” he says.
Speed is the key
The TurboHire platform does not decide who the ‘right candidate’ is, but throws up matches based on a company’s criteria. It summarises each CV, with details like what a candidate did, where, when, and for how long.
“All this happen in minutes, and one can do with a single round of interview to make a decision,” says Deepak.
Additionally, TurboHire also has a solution for prospective candidates, where they can simply upload their CV on the website, and the platform will structure it in a manner that recruiters can easily zero in on the kind of people they need. “This changes the entire flow in the recruitment process. An early no for the candidate has an enormous value for the entire system,” says Deepak.
Amidst all this, TurboHire is very clear that technology should be used in a manner where it makes practical sense. “We have built an AI platform which is based on information of the real world and one should use this sensibly,” says Deepak. He adds, “Just because you have a hammer does not mean one looks for nails to hit.” It is often seen that there are models created using data which do not find much credible application.
TurboHire’s AI hiring solution is currently focused on the requirements of the technology sector, and the company plans to address other segments like pharmaceutical, BFSI, and retail soon.
On the business model, TurboHire charges companies either for the number of CVs it processes, or the number of people hired.
It is now looking for funding to fuel its expansion plans and get into newer verticals, though Deepak is clear they will not take money until they have eight paying customers. “I am the kind of guy who believes that money should not to be taken unless it can be returned,” he says.
The Co-founder of TurboHire believes their solution can fundamentally change the pace of hiring for the entire ecosystem, which includes the candidate, search consultant, recruiter, interviewer, job portals and professional networks. All these, with just using AI to get the best out of a CV.
Other stories by Thimmaya Poojary: