He is CEO at Aasaanjobs.com
He’s a Chemical Engineer, graduated from IIT Bombay.
An Analyst with Deutsche Bank.
He had worked with Unilever and Star Network while at campus.
Q1. What is aasaanjobs.com ?
Aasaanjobs is a recruitment marketplace, looking to connect the job seeker and the employer effectively, with the help of recruitment consultants. The focus currently, is on entry level job seekers. Going ahead, the company would look to expand to other job roles as well.
Q2. How you got the idea of building such a platform ?
The two thoughts in the beginning were: To work in a large market segment and to address a problem which has a substantial social impact. Recruitment is a broken industry. There are too many moving parts. Inspite of so many platforms and offline channels, the stakeholders in the ecosystem are not happy with the process. Hence, the thought of creating a seamless online product to help the job seeker as well as the employer.
Q3. How it all started ? Who all helped you out ? What is the story from ground level ?
* Quitting the job :-I quit the job and did some basic market research for a couple of months, operating from home. Lack of focus (which is very difficult to get in non working environment), led me to rent an office space in Powai Plaza. It was a roller coaster ride post that.
We hired a couple of full time employees and 10 interns from an MBA College to help us with sales and operations. We hired 4 tech interns to help build the platform.
For the next 7 months, we juggled with all sorts of issues: product development was slow and poor, catch 22 issues with the marketplace: not enough data on either side, understanding the existing business models
Q4. What are the major roadblocks you faced while building this platform ? How you tackled them ?
*Product Development :-I do not come from a core tech background. It is difficult to find good techies to work for a bootstrapped startup, when you have other startups in the vicinity offering a fat package.
I Gave up on getting a techie after 2 months of search. Tried to get a good freelancer or a reasonable agency to do it, with no success. Voila. I had to learn coding. – And to my nightmare, I picked up Django on 5th March 2014 (when I could have developed the product with relative easy on a php framework, which I had used in the past). Alongwith a friend Praveen, who had been a phenomenal help, I developed a really bad, completely non-scalable, yet functional product by the end of June.
Q5. Was there any moment when you felt like you lost everything, during the journey of Aasaanjobs ?
Nopes , there was no such moment.
Q6. What mistakes you did that you don’t want others to repeat ?
* Lack of Focus :-– In the early days, after quitting my job, I was doing multitude of small activities alongwith Aasaanjobs. I was trying to solve many problems at the same time, ending up solve none properly.
– Took a call 9 months later to stop investing time in the other small projects and focus on only 1 problem at a time.
* Hiring :-– Do not hire part time co-founders. There is no concept like a part time co-founder. If someone does not believe in the idea as much as you do, he should not be a co-founder. He/She can best be a consultant.
– Tags add little value to the talent/value add people might actually bring on the table.
* Firing :-– Do not shy away from firing people. The higher up the hierarchy a person is, the more stringent should be his/her KPIs.
Q7. Share a happiest moment of aasaanjobs with us.
It is not actually a moment, rather an outcome of a process that has been implemented well. We wanted to train people (and build a culture) to think in terms of ROI. We wanted people to be problem solvers. We wanted them to question and be dissatisfied. We wanted them to question the status quo. We wanted them to ask “How can I make it better?“. I think we have been able to build that culture.
Q8. What lesson you’d like to conclude from your entrepreneural journey till now?
The journey has helped me understand the true meaning of scalability. Contrary to how we started out, branching out into multiple products (and problems), we have narrowed the focus to few problems. We are trying to solve few problems for a lot of people, rather than solving a lot of problems for few people.
Q9. In your opinion , Taking funding in early stage of startups is good ? If so , then in what circumstances ? If no , then what is the ideal time of taking funding according to you ?
It completely depends on the nature of the business. If the business is heavy on tech development and would need substantial investment before seeing revenue, it makes a lot of sense to take funding in early stage. Bootstrapped startups do not have the luxury to deploy the best resources to development. In such a scenario, the final output (which would be sub standard) is a poor judgement of the potential the idea could actually achieve. More often than not, entrepreneurs are too attached to equity and delay the fund raise, ending up burning a lot of months operating much below the expected pace.
Q10. Do you agree that there will be no ideas/problems left after some years for startups ? If no, then why ?
Startups are about solving problems. As long as there would be problems in the world, there would be potential for startups to come up. Would love to see governments being run by companies (startups), which are addressing some of the biggest problems in the world (just not, very well).