How Helper4U acts as the perfect matchmaker for India’s semi- and unskilled workforce
Remember that joke of how a woman who had to once choose between her husband and her maid, and she would pick the latter? Although a joke, it’s an example of how much Indians depend on their domestic helpers. To that end, Meenakshi Gupta Jain along with her husband Punit Jain founded, an online platform that aims to link domestic workers with employers.
How it works
Helper4U was initially started as a small community-based project in Mumbai to maintain a database of domestic helpers who were showing up for work. But when Meenakshi realised that they were subject to exploitation while hunting for jobs, she quit her lucrative job to devote her time and attention to the cause for a comprehensive and systematic approach to the problem.
“The objective was to create an easy-to-use application like Naukri.com but for people without an email-id. Besides, mobile application was at that time the simplest thing to do as mobiles were booming in India and even the poorest of the poor had mobiles at their place,” says Meenakshi.
Thus emerged the mobile application as the platform that became a common denominator between employers and job seekers. So, Helper4U serves as the database with all details of the job seekers, and employers just need to go online, filter their requirements, get the details, and call them directly. The pandemic has led the startup to recently introduce elderly care services.
The couple, along with 12 members comprises the operations and technical support team, where a major part of the operations is handled by people from underprivileged backgrounds. “This was a conscious decision as we realised that these people coming from slums have a certain sense of empathy and understanding while talking to job seekers,” says Meenakshi.
The founder boasts of the one lakh job seekers registered with them.
Reflecting identity with a .in domain
Helper4U got registered as an online business under the .in domain since it didn’t want to go through the operational challenges of a physical company. “Infact, our employers and job seekers find it easier to remember the .in domain as it is shorter. Also, it gives a local advantage with the Indian identity, especially beneficial for NRIs looking for services based in India,” adds Meenakshi.
Apart from the exorbitant cost of the .com domain, the growth potential of the .in extension led the startup to take the plunge. Having an appropriate domain name and extension is an investment for Meenakshi as it not only sets the identity but also helps to increase the SEO while people search for the company.
The National Internet Exchange for India (NIXI) is helping many businesses across the country to get a .in or .Bharat domain. Enterprises irrespective of their scale and size can avail a .in domain with the help of NIXI. It is affordable and can be availed in more than 22 languages for businesses coming from all regions of the country.
Market and revenue
Helper4U ensures hiring when you need, and where you need at the blink of an eye. In the days to arrive Meenakshi aims at proper training and orientation of the employees on a mobile platform before joining elsewhere.
Talking of operational growth, the startup had its base in Mumbai but soon had an organic growth with word-to-mouth publicity, receiving calls from every corner of the city. The website has almost 40,000 visitors each month. The starting package from the employers which was Rs 150 has now turned into Rs 1,000 within five years.
According to Meenakshi, the domestic sector bears the greatest opportunity for them which has ready-made jobs, is constantly growing, and always has room for employment. Discussing the future roadmap, Meenakshi explains, “Apart from the training of job seekers, we are focussing on two things that include proper training in a formalised manner, and create a mini-LinkedIn kind of network to grow the database.”
The ‘Shaping India Inc's Online Growth’ series chronicles the journeys of startups and SMEs in India and how creating an online presence on the .in or .Bharat domain powered their success stories.