With clients like Uber and Swiggy, this remote hiring startup is making the top 1 pc of global tech talent available
Ask a startup founder about their biggest challenge and chances are a large majority will say hiring tech talent. Entrepreneurs, whether they run a fledgling startup or a high-growth unicorn, have been looking beyond metros to hire high-quality techies alike – especially after the pandemic.
However, it’s not easy to access top talent on mainstream job search platforms. On the other hand, candidates face challenges in job hunting, despite having the desired set of skills. Developers often struggle to find the right opportunities, especially for roles that allow them to work remotely.
This is where CrewScale steps in. Founded in 2018, the California-based startup works like a managed marketplace for remote talent hiring. GoScale Group, the parent company of CrewScale, was founded by IIT and BITS alumni Raghu Bharat, Dheeraj Lalchandaani, Shubhanshu Srivastava, and Nirmaan Agarwal.
Co-founder and CEO Raghu, in a conversation with YourStory, said, “There is a wide gap between demand and supply. We realised that building a remote, distributed talent pool - where skills and attitude, and not location, were the only parameters for eligibility — would be a key piece of the puzzle.”
The story so far
With offices in Bengaluru and Hyderabad, CrewScale functions like a global venture. The startup has more than 1,60,000 developers available on its platform. The tech pool is spread across 80-plus countries, but concentrated in India and South East Asia.
CrewScale essentially targets high-growth startups who work within tight timelines, and cannot afford to spend months on recruitment and training. It also targets medium and large global enterprises that are constantly rolling out new products and need niche skills.
CrewScale’s first set of clients included startups like Capillary, Swiggy, and Turvo. At present, it has 100-plus clients from across the globe.
It enables startups such as Ola, Uber, Vedantu, Fintso, BYJU’s, Pharmeasy, Tokopedia, and Traveloka to hire remote tech talent. In the enterprise segment, CrewScale’s client list includes Samsung and Domino's.
The startup claims to allow its clients hire the top one percent of global tech talent. More than 180 developers are at present engaged in live projects.
Meet the team
Raghu, a BITS-Pilani alumnus, earlier founded online laundry startup MyWash (later acquired by Housejoy). He worked as a product manager with Housejoy for a while before starting CrewScale. CMO Nirmaan worked as the Pre-Sales Head at Freshdesk before he joined the GoScale Group.
IIT-Roorkee alumni and COO Dheeraj, on the other hand, took the entrepreneurial route with his at-home salon services startup Polishlane. CTO Shubhanshu earlier worked as Senior Innovation Engineer at Snapdeal before he founded fitness-tech startup Orobind Fitness.
Polishlane were acquired by Housejoy; this is where Dheeraj and Shubhanshu met. Dheeraj and Shubhanshu were batchmates from IIT, while Nirmaan and Raghu were batchmates from BITS.
“Like most startups, our idea emerged from a personal pain point,” Raghu says.
Post Housejoy, Raghu worked as a freelancer himself, travelling across the globe. It provided him with global opportunities, but the process was fraught with friction -- “whether it was finding new projects, convincing prospective employers about his skills, or managing engagement”.
The bottleneck was clear: companies couldn’t find quality talent and freelancers failed to find opportunities.
This ultimately led the four founders to come together and solve this problem. Team CrewScale has now grown to more than 200 employees.
How does it work?
CrewScale focuses on screening and assessing developers, who eventually become a part of its remote community. “Employers who decide to work with us are able to view these verified, pre-assessed profiles and onboard the ones that work for them,” Raghu explains.
CrewScale has a proprietary software that takes care of the engagement, on-boarding, and management process. This enables employers to get immediate access to cutting-edge engineers from across the globe, “saving them thousands of dollars in recruitment and training,” he adds.
Candidates, on the other hand, have continuous access to global, long-term projects that enable them to get steady, handsome compensation while also working on complex, challenging problems.
“We are a managed marketplace— so we charge an hourly rate from our clients but ensure that it translates into a fixed monthly remuneration for our remote workforce,” Raghu explains.
The numbers game
For the managed marketplace for remote hiring, CrewScale’s charges start from $25 per hour, and rise, depending on the kind of resources employers require. The proprietary assessment, Talscale, can be used by companies. It works on a SaaS model, priced at $49 per month.
The startup’s annual revenue rate is at $4 million plus. “We want to scale it to $100 million-plus in the next five years,” Raghu says. Bootstrapped since inception, CrewScale focuses on unit economics and has been profitable since day zero.
“We initially faced challenges to convince both candidates and employers about the efficacy of remote hiring. However, with COVID-19, remote working has become completely mainstream. Employers and employees have realised that remote work can be just as productive as in-office work, if not more,” Raghu explains.
Earlier this year, CrewScale acquired US-based remote tech hiring startup Indiez to consolidate its growth and hit the ground running.
The talent hiring market
According to a report by Statista, published earlier this month, the US staffing and recruiting market is predicted to decrease to $119.4 billion from $151.8 billion, due to the coronavirus outbreak, a 21 percent decrease from previous year.
However, Raghu is hopeful about remote hiring. “Not only has COVID-19 transformed the way we work currently, but it’s also likely to shape the future of work. At CrewScale, we hope to be a big part of this transformation.”
Startups such as Upwork, Fiverr, Freelancer, and Gigster are operating in the remote tech talent hiring marketplace.
Raghu says, “While these platforms do bring freelancers and employers together, the undercutting of freelancers and the lack of a proper vetting process severely reduces the efficacy of these platforms.”
The founder says the presence of its proprietary assessment engine TalScale differentiates CrewScale from the competition.
“COVID-19 has cut the remote adoption curve by 10 years, perhaps more. We believe that this is the perfect time to scale rapidly, building the biggest remote tech workforce across the world,” Raghu says.
CrewScale is now open to raising money and aiming for hockey-stick growth.
Edited by Teja Lele Desai