Indian small and medium businesses (SMB) were among the worst-hit amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. And, to survive the economic stress, digitisation was the only way forward. However, they remained hesitant to hire permanent IT employees due to the liabilities involved in managing their own business.
Enter Vadodara-based Sharedpro —a talent mobility platform — that helps SMBs and startups hire full-time engineers from large IT companies when they are underutilised. In fact, Sharedpro allows them to work with the best talent without paying agency and payroll fees.
“We create a bridge between employers, especially for SMBs, to hire talent from IT/ITeS companies for up to 12 months in a flexible manner. This way, the IT/ITeS companies who have on an average15 percent underutilised resources get to decrease their underutilisation rate, thus creating a win-win solution for everyone in the industry,” Vikas Agarwal, Co-founder of SharedPro, tells YourStory.
According to NASSCOM, India houses about four million IT and ITeS employees, and each IT major has at least 10,000 engineers on the bench each year. Sharedpro enables these underutilised talents to share their work on a dynamic basis, thereby making engineers more effective. At present, the platform is accommodating for engineers but would open up other job roles once the product scales.
Sharedpro is the brainchild of IT engineers Sujit Singh and Vikas Agarwal, who graduated in 2016 from the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Institute of Technology. While working at a medtech startup in 2017, Sujit realised an unusual problem of hiring.
The said that the medtech startup was looking to hire marketing and sales professionals, but couldn’t attract the right talent, even after looking at hundreds of applications for nine months.
“Out of curiosity, Sujit dived deeper to find the main causes of this problem, only to realise that the hardships faced by SMBs in attracting talent were because nobody wanted to work for them. One of the primary causes to this problem was the mismatch in salary expectations as SMBs have relatively low budgets,” Vikas says.
To solve this problem, Sujit made the medtech startup collaborate with another SMB to hire an employee on a sharing basis. This idea worked as both the companies were able to build their solutions with a collaborative effort.
Sharedpro was the result of this hiring conundrum. In August 2018, Sujit launched the startup, and roped in Vikas, who was working in a corporate, to commercialise and build a business around the idea.
The duo left their jobs and started working in the healthcare industry to help hospitals hire professionals like biomedical engineers on a sharing basis.
Talent acquisition and sharing
Employments are of three kinds — regular, contractual, and freelancing work. For SMBs, hiring contract employees can be exorbitant.
Sujit explains, “SMBs don’t like freelancers because of the fear that working with freelancers may create the risk of losing out on IP if the project is not handled properly. Our solution lies in creating a new employment model by taking on the benefits of both worlds.”
Sharedpro helps large companies with underutilised resources list their employee’s profile and CVs on the platform. Then, the startup’s software extracts details like skill sets and experiences and matches them with the jobs posted by the SMB clients.
“Based on the job details, our matching algorithm automatically rates candidates based on different parameters, including non-competing nature of work, that many companies worry about. The client then schedules interviews and hires candidates. The best part of our platform is that clients can find immediate joiners without any notice period,” Sujit explains.
According to the Society for Human Resource Management, the average time to hire a candidate in the tech industry is 36 days for any company. On Sharedpro, the hiring process concludes within three to seven days. “Our platform eventually acts as a cloud bench for participating companies with access to readily available talent,” the co-founder adds.
Sharedpro has seen a huge demand from employers, including Fortune 500 companies, to hire employees through its platform. Although it is onboarding companies in phases by giving preference to those who have employees on the bench, it has onboarded 64 companies that are presently either sharing or hiring employees or are on the waitlist on the platform.
At present, Sharedpro competes with global companies like Curasion, MoBerries, and Final Stage.
Spearheading through challenges
For Sharedpro, convincing the IT companies about listing their employees’ CVs on the platform was one of the main challenges. These companies feared that their employees could get poached by their competitors.
The startup worked on these concerns by providing more control over the listed profile to the IT firms, who can hide the employee’s name, email id, phone number, and the company’s name in their employee profile listed for sharing.
In fact, companies can also mention what kind of companies they wouldn’t want to match with, and the Sharedpro software even allows the companies to share resources with SMB companies that they feel will benefit from this partnership.
The startup takes five percent commission, on top of the quoted salary price of the candidates. It only earns after a candidate is successfully hired through the platform.
“We started with the healthcare sector and began selling to doctors. This was very difficult, which we realised only after catering to twelve hospitals in our hometown. After the pandemic hit, we started catering to the IT industry, which has been relatively easy now because companies are open to hiring remotely,” says Sujit.
The co-founders have personally invested Rs 11 lakh, and have raised undisclosed funding in a seed round from 100X.vc in 2020. At present, the Vadodara startup is in talks with multiple investors for its subsequent round.
As he declines to share Sharedpro’s revenue numbers, Sujit says that its product has just begun to grow only after pivoting to the IT industry. The co-founders believe that FY2022 will determine its growth and success.
It believes that the Indian economy will bounce back in the next 18 months.
The startup’s immediate focus will be to ensure that SMBs are not left out in this upward journey as they will need to increase their hiring over the next 12 months. It plans to onboard 125 SMBs and 750-plus candidates onto its platform.
“We’ll also be developing an API for project management systems like Jira and Rally to make it seamless to share or hire talent. Our employment model also helps employees to upskill themselves as they get to work on diverse projects in the industry by collaborating with their peers from different companies,” Sujit says.