Leveraging AI, how EdGE Networks ensures companies have the right talent for the right jobs
As companies begin to scale, managing talent and maintaining a healthy office culture can get challenging for any HR team. This led Arjun Pratap to launch EdGE Networks — an AI startup — that solves the talent management problem in larger organisations. At present, it is focussing on the IT services and banking sectors.
Arjun believes when it comes to managing employees on a large scale, sub-optimal talent management has serious business repercussions.
EdGE Networks helps industries manage their talent and rework their costs intelligently in three ways. First, it helps in the internal mobilisation of talent — what kind of jobs are available in the company, and what kind of skills are required for the employee to be the right fit.
“Next, we help talent transform into aspirational jobs within the company with the skillsets they possess. This addresses productivity and attrition for the company, and career visualisation and growth for the employee. Lastly, talent acquisition — if we can’t find the person on the inside, can I help organisations find the right fit externally,” explains Arjun.
He says the startup helps 10 percent of the IT services workforce in India to drive their understanding of demand and supply of talent pool.
“We take all this information that we have collected through the years and plan our insights through the state-of-the-art neural networks, deep learning, and understand the job descriptions and resumes to find the right candidates,” Arjun adds.
From edtech to talent management
The journey of EdGE Networks began eight years ago, in 2012, in Bengaluru. Initially, the startup wanted to connect students and employers on a platform. This, Arjun says, was before starting up EdGe Networks.
“We called it a Talent Management Exchange (TMEx). We got the Karnataka state government to sign off on this, and got 23 universities to onboard,” adds Arjun.
Before starting TMEx, Arjun worked for an online education platform that sold SAP IT courses to engineering colleges in 2008. The platform would get students to buy its courses for a reduced price, but there was no job guarantee for these students.
“I tried to solve this problem in my head and decided to connect these students to employers based on their aspirations and skillset through TMEx. However, I failed miserably because, I think, I lacked the tenacity and perseverance to deal with the education system back then,” recollects Arjun.
It was during this period that at a friend of Arjun’s and a fellow entrepreneur and advised him to make a simple product that would solve a global problem.
“Reading a job description, reading a resume to match a job requirement is a global issue. And, that’s when we created EdGE,” Arjun says. At present, the startup has a team of 95 people.
The edtech startup focuses on defining the training needs and job aspirations of an employee inside the company. For this, EdGE Networks uses artificial intelligence and analytics to identify the jobs, the upskilling or cross-skilling required, mobilise talent, plan the workforce, and predict the upcoming demands.
For this, the startup has developed an AI-based knowledge graph called Edge Graph, which works like an interconnected bubble, and has 34 million profiles and 11 million job descriptions on it.
“The nucleus of the entire product is our knowledge graph - the Edge Graph - our AI engine. We also use AI for our product, EdGE Pathfinder, a LinkedIn-like platform customised for a large-scale company,” explains Arjun.
EdGE Recruit — another product for talent acquisition — analyses job descriptions, resumes from job portals, and gets the company the right to chose from the talent pool.
A People Matters Report states that the global HR technology marketplace will touch $34 billion by 2024, and close to $3.6 billion of that business will come from Asia, where India will account for a sizeable chunk.
The HR Tech space has startups like Sequoia-backed Darwinbox, as well as Matrix Partners India and Sequoia Capital India-backed Belong, among several others.
Speaking of how it differentiates from others, Arjun says the startup focuses on the IT service and BFSI sectors. In fact, all of EdGE Networks data and insights have been gathered for these sectors.
“Our data is specific to the relevant industry, and as we have spent years in search of people in the job space, we have honed our data science. Today, employee data has become a hot topic in 2020, and I think we are ready for the upswing,” Arjun says.
While the team refused to share the revenue details, it says it follows an annual recurring revenue model. Its clientele includes Wipro, HCL, and Virtusa in the IT sector, while it caters to HDFC in the banking sector. It also caters to the non-IT sectors with Daimler Benz.
EdGE Networks has raised undisclosed funding from Kalaari Capital, Ventureast, and Exfinity in 2015. The startup is looking to expand to North America in a bid to become a global platform.
Arjun says, “The idea is to deliver more value to our clients and make our products into strong platforms. We will generate a better employee experience as a talent management platform. We will build an end-to-end talent management suite for organisations so that they have a 360-degree view of their talent supply chain. This helps them make informed talent decisions efficiently and build an intelligent workforce."