How this recruitment startup grew 400 pc with clients like Amazon, Swiggy, and Zomato
At the moment, a successful socio-economic picture for India Inc. essentially depends on mitigating the unemployment rate in the country, which has been the highest in 45 years. This year, India is projected to create around 16 lakh fewer formal jobs in the government and other low-paying sectors.
Even the informal sector paints quite an abysmal picture, with the very chain of the untrained youth in the country picking up skill on-the-job getting disturbed. But all is not lost.
While battling one of the worst economic slowdowns and country-wide protests, certain governmental reforms, including a boost to upskilling and ease of doing business, have ensured that businesses have the right environment to flourish and create opportunities for the talent here. Market reports also indicate a spurt in opportunity in the retail, construction, and food processing sectors.
The only things that remains now is to bridge the gap between India’s talent and the growing pool of opportunities. A challenge that Bengaluru-based Avsar has taken upon itself.
Founded in December 2016, Avsar is the brainchild of four entrepreneurial minds - Navneet Singh, Satyabrata Sethy, Nitish Rao, and Prateek Jha.
“At Avsar, we believe in rooting out the existing one-approach-fits-all strategy in terms of recruitment,” says Navneet. “In fact, we do not just work towards ensuring talent fit, but also factor in the organisations’ culture fit as well as candidate aspirations.”
Essentially an end-to-end HR service provider, Avsar takes into account the aspirations of both the jobseeker and the employer, providing in the process a plethora of services including contractual staffing, payroll and compliance management, CXO and executive level hiring, lateral recruitment, and volume hiring.
The founding story
All the four entrepreneurs hail from different verticals, bringing to the table diverse perceptions, driven by one shared vision – to help bring in as many into the bracket of employed population as possible.
“The idea was simple - to tag talents to businesses,” says Navneet, adding, “This core bottom line came with a plethora of opportunities in terms of addressing the talent acquisition needs of employers as well as that of candidates seeking new opportunities.”
Currently, in the Indian job market, there has been a shift in focus towards temporary employment. Thanks to the rapidly emerging gig economy, between 2019 – 2020, out of the 21 lakh jobs projected across select job verticals, the gig economy is said to account for over 14 lakh jobs.
According to Navneet, an estimated 56 percent of the new employment generation in India will be by way of the gig economy companies across both the blue-collar and white-collar segments. While this trend might not immediately affect the market composition, it is a sure-shot indicator of the emergence of a brand-new breed of players explicitly servicing the gig economy.
For Avsar, this is where the sweet spot lies. The company, which started off with just two clients – Swiggy and Bigbasket – when the e-retail boom was finally settling down, would have faced a tougher time had it tried to break into the segment where major players like Amazon and Flipkart were already being serviced by established names.
Instead, Navneet and his team chose to focus on the other side of the e-retail story (a segment that was just picking on with gusto) – the food and grocery delivery industry.
“Considering how these were niche markets, which had still not attracted monopoly from bigger names, supplemented by how the forecasts for these were very positive over the next five years, these industries stood out as the best bets to start off with at that point of time,” he says.
Expansion and building a portfolio of clients
Starting with just two clients in 2016, Avsar has since grown from strength to strength, building an expansive portfolio of over 150 clients over the last three years, representing a total of 15 industries – a feat Navneet deems as a defining factor in terms of the startup’s market presence.
Among its clients today are various market-leading players like Amazon, Flipkart, Udaan, BharatPe, Google Pay, Dunzo, Swiggy, Zomato, Bigbasket, Kotak, HDFC Bank, Mphasis, and Capgemini. These names, he says, is ample evidence of Avsar’s penetration in the market as well as recognition as one of the more eminent names in the country’s HR industry.
The company has emulated a similar success on the jobseekers’ side as well, placing more than 30,000 candidates for the year 2019. Even in terms of the team composition, the growth has been promising. What started out as a HR solutions provider with 12 members has grown today to become a workforce of more than 200 dedicated employees across all the locations.
Mission ahead: carving a niche in the HR industry
One of the first and biggest challenges the recruitment startup faced in its early days was breaking into newer markets. With just a few months of experience and no previous performance to show for those in markets, the only feasible way out was to provide clients with such a customer experience that stood way beyond the set benchmarks of the industry at that point of time.
Avsar managed this with what Navneet calls a four-pronged, unique value proposition comprising expertise, wherein a team of industry veterans strives to understand clients’ requirements; flat organisation structure that empowers the frontline employees to deliver the most innovative services; their guiding principles, ‘people matter to us’ and ‘you come first’.
The company also has a multi-channel sourcing model in place – comprising portal sourcing, social media, etc., – through which it sources candidates and appoints them according to their skills set. We also use our in-house database management system (DBMS) for reference, says Navneet.
“We believe in going beyond just filling a position, helping both clients and candidates to truly realise their goals,” he continues, adding, “we also focus on reconsidering our clients’ requirements and drafting flexible and personalised service agreement for each.”
With this approach in place, the company has been setting commendable benchmarks within HR tech industry, as its revenue curve traces an upward trajectory for the past two years. In the previous period, (for 2018-2019 over 2017-2018), the company’s revenue growth was at 380 percent, says Navneet.
“The YoY growth for this year stands at a remarkable 400 percent over the revenue figures for 2018-19,” he adds.
In an ever-evolving and tech-driven recruitment market, Avsar, which competes with the likes of TeamLease, Adecco, Randstad, Innov, and Ikya, is truly making its presence felt. With dozens of clients onboard, the startup is serving a dual role - carving its own niche while also bringing together India’s superlative pool of talent and the immense market opportunities.
(Edited by Megha Reddy)