How this SaaS-based HR tech startup is promising a better appraisal for employees
The HR tech industry has seen a rapid growth in the last five years. The technology in this space continues to evolve, so much so, that employers today are looking for better technological solutions that will address every need of the employees.
Almost every company has an appraisal cycle or salary increment. However, the process is tiresome. For an employee, a performance cycle begins with setting their goals for the year, updating the managers on their achievements and finally closing with an annual appraisal.
To make the process more user-friendly, two human resources management professionals, Samarth Masson (36), and Sanjeev Grover (37), started a SaaS-based HR tech startup, Dockabl.
Started in 2017, Dockabl is an employee experience platform that enables organisations to do continuous performance management with tech-based tools like structured goals, tracking progress, real-time feedback and peer recognition. The app is built for the benefit of employees, managers, HRs and leaders equally.
Casual chat turning into business idea
A casual conversation about the HR industry between the duo led to the idea of launching Dockabl. Having worked as HR consultants for years, Samarth and Sanjeev agreed that there is one problem they must go after.
“We realised that there is no interconnected system for people to manage their work, performance, reputation, and development in an organisation,” Samarth says.
A serial entrepreneur and the Founder of Cogitohub, , Samarth exited it in early 2017, to start Dockabl. Prior to this, he worked with consulting firms that included Right Management, PwC and Aon Hewitt.
Similarly, Sanjeev worked as a Director at Deloitte and managed business development and client delivery for Human Capital Consulting Practice, where he focused on organisation design and effectiveness, performance management, leadership development, change and transformation, etc.
“We realised that most organisations have their processes either broken or extremely siloed, which means there are different sets of people looking at your performance, engagements, development, rewards, compensation, and recognition, etc. These silos do not have a good interrelation and employees sometimes get destroyed by this experience,” he adds.
A report published by People Matters TechHR said that, while adoption of technology in HR is increasing among the Indian companies, levels of automation in crucial HR functions like identifying high potential individuals, succession planning and strategic workforce management, remains considerably low.
The study also found that, while tech adoption is prevalent and, on the rise, with 70 percent companies having some level of automation in the HR processes, it remained low in critical areas like identifying and incentivising High Potential Employees (HiPos). In HiPo management, only 23 percent of Indian companies have automated more than half the HR functions.
While digging up the market, the duo realised that there is no tech-based market solution or enterprise resource planning (ERPs), that can solve the issue.
“There were mostly glorified workflows, none catering to overall employee experience. Managing performances, recognition and career progression is the role of team leaders and managers. This must be done in the flow of work. It’s currently done ceremonially by HR,” he adds.
“Organisations today are seeking a point solution which can deliver continuous performance management, on-going feedback and recognition for the employees. They are desperately wanting to move away from legacy tools that bog them down. These end-to-end tools suffer from complex and inflexible processes, which often fail to translate the actual processes that are defined by the organisational modus operandi and culture,” Samarth continues.
The duo raised a seed capital of $160k from friends and family, established the product roadmap, created tech architecture and coded the first modules, to start Dockabl.
App for all
Speaking about the offering, Samarth says, . “For the employees, we are an easy-to-use platform that manages the daily work, development plans and conversations around performance. For managers, we are a handy app that manages team productivity and motivation. And, for HR and leadership, we provide a digital interface to the key people practices, which not only helps deliver but, also gives back insights on the process and people.”
“Dockabl enables users to track their progress on a real time basis. It also enables peers to recognise each other for the good work done. Dockabl also ensures that all reviews, ranging from quick pulse surveys to monthly catch-ups and even annual appraisals, can be done with ease,” he adds.
Initially in 2016, the Delhi-based startup took time to get its product fit for the market. Once they got it correct, in 2017, the founders never looked back.
The startup runs on a subscription-based business model with a per user per month fee structure. “It ensures repeat revenue year-on-year,” Samarth says.
From one client in March 2018 to currently serving 25 clients, that includes Flipkart, Becton Dickinson, Tata Realty, Clix Capital among others, the company’s monthly run-rate is at $14.4K.
“We have a projected ARR of $0.5 million for FY20,” Samarth says. Dockabl, which is yet to turn profitable, is expecting to close revenue of $9.41 million for FY21.
Currently, Dockabl is working to enhance its platform for a global market. It is planning to launch Dockabl 2.0 early next year, for India and the US markets.
“We will also be enhancing the platform by including machine learning and AI capabilities. In the latter half of 2020, we will be building a data analytics engine and enter the south-east Asia and Middle-East markets,” Samarth says.
The startup is also developing a plug & play version of Dockabl, which will be available off-the shelf for employees and managers, to indulge in and enhance their productivity.
The company has raised a total of $1.26 million in funding till date from various sources. It is now exploring Series-A funding round in the next six months to build Dockabl 2.0 and Dockabl Plug & Play.
(Edited by Suman Singh)