This HRtech SaaS startup is helping SMEs with virtual recruitment
Despite the availability of tech and a number of job platforms, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) struggle to hire qualified candidates even today as they do not have the required resources or the know-how to buy and operate expensive software licenses, database access, or premium job ads. Resultant skill gaps get critical for them as a wrong hire and the inability to hire can threaten their survival.
To offer hiring solutions to SMEs, Kanishk Shukla and Akshay Gugnai founded Expertia AI in 2021. The Bengaluru-based startup is a deep learning, NLP-powered Virtual Recruiter that is helping SMEs automatically source and identify top candidates from a pool of applicants.
“We wanted to build an AI-powered Virtual Recruiter for SMEs, which could source, screen, and identify top 10 candidates automatically,” says Kanishk, who is also the CEO at Expertia AI.
The HRtech software as a service (SaaS) platform, which is backed by Chiratae Ventures, claims that over 500 companies, 1,000 recruiters, and over 1,00,000 professionals are actively using the platform today to automate the sourcing of qualified candidates and find relevant jobs.
How does it work?
Expertia AI first broadcasts job vacancies for companies on over 25 job boards like Google for Jobs, LinkedIn, or Glassdoor on a single slick. It then screens and ranks the applications and shortlists qualified candidates.
It has an algorithm that helps identify hidden skills in the resume and also mines the web for professional data of the applicant.
The platform also has a centralised talent pool where the data of both new and old job applications are saved, and it makes use of this to identify the best candidate.
It finally shortlists the top 10 candidates, one of whom will most likely get hired by the company.
According to the founders, the platform is industry-agnostic and serves across industry verticals, but as of now, most jobs published and job applications received are from the IT industry.
At present, its core product offerings include Career Advisor, Top 10 Jobs, and Upskill - Reskill recommendations for professionals registered on the platform.
As per Kanishk, “The ability to identify top 10 tech profiles instantly from hundreds and thousands of resumes in seconds sets us apart from solutions available in the Indian HRtech space. On the basis of skills alone, the company claims to have 75 percent accuracy in predicting the winning candidate.”
“Originally designed for identifying tech profiles, the self-learning algorithm can also identify non-tech profiles and will deliver at par accuracy before the end of the year across all industries,” Kanishk says.
The founders say there are no direct competitors in India as of now. Some of the global platforms operating in this space include Eightfold.ai, Phenom.com, and Seekout.com, mostly targeting Fortune 500 MNCs.
Expertia AI is built for SMEs around the world, with ease, accuracy, and affordability being its core value proposition. It also offers a free version for bootstrapped startups with unlimited job posts and user accounts.
The end-to-end hiring service is planning to roll out AI-powered career advice for professionals, helping them identify relevant jobs and pick a career path with confidence.
Akshay and Kanishk met at the EF Bangalore Cohort in late 2020 and launched Expertia AI’s beta version in June 2021.
Akshay Gugnani, Co-founder and CTO, is an AI researcher having peer reviewed research papers in skill identification, extraction, and career path generation at MIT and IBM Research. He has five patents and seven peer reviewed research papers, some of them highly relevant to the work done at Expertia AI.
Kanishk Shukla co-founded Koovs.com in 2009, which listed on AIM, LSE in 2014. Post Koovs, he went on to work and invest in a couple of startup ideas; one of which was an executive search firm, which made him realise the inefficiencies and inaccuracies of the solutions available in the HRtech space.
With a team of eight people, Expertia AI now wants to increase its team size to 15 by the end of the year.
Funding and monetisation
The HRtech SaaS platform operates on a freemium model, offering unlimited sourcing and screening of candidates to startups for free, and charges a minimal monthly fee to large organisations for premium opt-in features. It charges a fee to the companies to publish unlimited job postings and access unlimited screened candidate applications organically from 25 job portals.
“Unlike all other platforms which offer premium job posting, Expertia has kept it free, thanks to its unique partnership with job boards and aggregators across the world. By the end of June, premium assessments will be available as an on-demand service on the platform, further improving the confidence of making the hiring decisions on the platform,” adds Kanishk.
The startup recently raised $1.2 million in seed round from Chiratae Ventures, Endiya Partners, and Entrepreneur First, with plans to deploy it towards building a team of AI researchers and software engineers, developing product pipeline, and creating product awareness in the market.
While the startup did not disclose its revenue, it claims to reach break-even in FY23.
“We are targeting zero CAC (customer acquisition cost) through strategic partnerships and viral campaigns. Expertia AI would always have profitability in sight while chasing revenue,” says Kanishk.
The market and future
According to Fortune Business Insights, the global HRtech market size is projected to reach $35.68 billion in 2028, at a CAGR of 5.8 percent during forecast period.
“Later in the year, Expertia AI plans to offer skill advisory solutions to companies to reskill, upskill, and retain professionals, and close the $8.5 trillion global skill gap,” says Kaushik.
The startup, which receives about 800 applications every day from cities like Bengaluru, Ahmedabad, Delhi, Hyderabad, Kochi, Indore, and Jaipur, claims to have acquired over 350 businesses and 150,000 professionals across India in the last four months. It is now planning to onboard 10,000 companies and a million professionals during this calendar year.
“With plans to go international early next year, Expertia AI counts any English speaking country as a natural market for expansion,” states Kanishk.
The startup is also targeting 100 job board integrations in FY23, up from 25 at present, to improve the accuracy of its top talent recommendation, up from 75 percent to 85percent by the end of the year.