[Startup Bharat] This HRtech startup connects medical staff to hospitals
Avnee Shrivastav Mathur started Jaipur-based HRtech startup Herald Hiring Solutions in a basement. It now operates as a healthcare staffing agency and job portal, and includes Columbia Asia, Fortis, NU, Apollo, and Medanta Hospitals among its clients.
The coronavirus pandemic has brought the healthcare sector into the spotlight like never before. Healthtech startups are announcing new innovations every day, and doing their bit to track, monitor, and control the spread of COVID-19. In times like these, when hospitals and clinics are the busiest, it is not surprising that the demand for healthcare staff has shot up.
While several job portals in India are easing the recruitment process, most have segregated their databases - either IT or non-IT. None of the established portals are solely dedicated to the healthcare sector.
This is where Jaipur’s Malviya Nagar-based Herald Hiring Solutions comes in. The recruitment service provider, founded in 2014, went through operational reconstruction in January 2020 to become a healthcare job portal.
“With more demand for hospital staff than ever before, our entire team is currently working from home and conducting regular telephonic interviews to ensure that hospitals and clinics are not short of good doctors in these desperate times,” Founder Avnee Shrivastav Mathur told YourStory.
The multiple challenges
Avnee, a 32-year old from Ujjain, is a BSc graduate in biochemistry. She completed her MBA from ICFAI University, in Pune, with specialisation in marketing and HR. Post her MBA, she worked for healthcare recruiter Eyrie Jobs and Mediplace Healthcare Consultants.
Avnee shifted to Jaipur after her marriage. In 2014, she single-handedly started Herald Hiring, a recruitment consultancy service, from the basement of her in-law’s house.
“I wanted to have my own identity. I wanted to earn my own living,” she says.
For the next 18 months, Avnee walked the entrepreneurial path alone. “The consultancy business was enough to help me to sponsor my travels, and some shopping too!” she jokes. Avne conceived in mid-2016 and a complicated pregnancy made her shut shop for an indefinite time.
In January 2019, when Avnee’s son was over 18 months old, she decided to restart her business. This time, she started with a team of three. However, that was not the end of her challenges. “I ran out of all my savings while trying to build a clientele from scratch,” she reminisces.
Buying a candidate database package from Naukri was never an option, as it was over Avnee’s budget, so she had to settle for the second-best job portal’s package.
“The healthcare profiles were not up to the mark and that is when it occurred to me that building a healthcare job portal made more sense,” she recalls.
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A change in plan
In January 2020, Avnee relaunched Herald Hiring as an economical and specialised healthcare job portal, besides continuing the consultancy service. “It was tricky to advertise Herald Hiring as a job portal while ensuring our clients were aware that we worked as staffing consultants,” Avnee says.
Currently, Herald Hiring has a team of five, including a doctor. The only man in Avnee’s team is her husband, Ankit Mathur, who helps the startup on-board new clients, and is responsible for digital marketing, promotions, and SEO-related work.
The HRtech startup has two operational models.
As a staffing agency, it works closely with hospitals and pharmacy companies across the country, helping them recruit medical and non-medical staff. Herald Hiring already has some renowned clients on its platform, including Fortis Hospitals in Bengaluru; NU Hospitals in Bengaluru, Shimoga, Ambur and Maldives; Apollo Hospital in Bengaluru; Medanta Hospital in Gurugram and Lucknow; Pristyn Care, and Clove Dental.
The other service it offers is as a healthcare job portal, where candidates and employers can create free accounts. Employers can post unlimited numbers of jobs, and candidates can apply for as many jobs as they want. The job portal is relatively new, but the startup has brought in 11 employers within the first two months of operations. These include Cloudnine in Bengaluru, Columbia Asia in Bengaluru and Mysore, and Star Dental Clinics.
“Employers are currently using free features and were on-boarded through our LinkedIn promotions,” Avnee says.
Until March 2020, Herald Hiring had closed over 75 healthcare positions, in 14 organisations.
The revenue streams
The HRtech startup charges hospital partners 6.5 to 8.33 percent of the annual CTC of the candidate recruited from its platform. The staffing agency business of Herald Hiring generated Rs 10 lakh in revenue in FY20.
“Fifty-five percent of it would be net profit from the gross revenue. We plan to achieve Rs 25 lakh revenue in the next financial year from the staffing business, and Rs 5 lakh from the job portal business, as we commercialise services in the beginning of the fourth quarter,” Avnee says.
Creating a profile on Herald Hiring is free for candidates; premium features are available between Rs 50 and Rs 200. The startup has made premium features available for free for the first 500 candidates.
Employers can buy the core healthcare candidate database from Herald Hiring for between Rs 3,000 and Rs 27,999. However, the startup has made this service available for free until the end of this year.
The jobs portal market
India is currently placed at 145 among 195 countries, in terms of quality and accessibility of healthcare facilities. However, according to IBEF, India is expected to rank among the top three healthcare markets in terms of incremental growth by this year. Additionally, one lakh new jobs are expected to be created by Ayushman Bharat, the National Health Protection Scheme.
The jobs market in India is mostly dominated by Naukri.com, one of the biggest portals, in terms of revenue and traffic.
“They are hard to compete with, but we are not aiming for that. We are aiming to become a preferred job portal for a niche market: healthcare,” Avnee says.
Other players in the market include Monster, Shine, Indeed, Medicojobs, Healthcareer, Medavancies, Curaa, and Perzue, among others.
The road ahead
Starting August 2020, Herald Hiring plans to offer a ‘Pay per Download’ feature to allow recruiters to download a single healthcare profile for as low as Rs 30. It also plans to introduce paid premium job postings, paid featured candidate profiles, paid candidate database, and pay-per-download resume features and services.
The HRtech startup plans to raise funds this year, to expand both its service offerings.
“The entire journey has been memorable and empowering for me. The long break until 2019 forced me to doubt the existence of my company. There were days when I almost gave up and got lost in my household routine and my family. But, the day I restarted my company was the most memorable one in my entrepreneurial journey,” Avnee says.
(Edited by Teja Lele Desai)
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