WorkIndia aims to bring the blue-collar workforce into the organized economy.

WorkIndia makes it happen! Founded in 2015 by a graduate from NYU Stern School of Business, Kunal Patil, who wanted to start a venture towards the blue-collar segment.

While conducting market research on the Indian job market he met Nilesh Dungarwal, who is an MBA and techie, they both wanted to do something impactful for the blue-collar job seekers. So, they joined hands.

In recent research, it was found that unemployment in India increased by 8.5 percent in October from 7.2 percent in September 2019. The study by CMIE tells no different story, the unemployment rate among graduates stood at 60 percent. 

The blue-collar segment that includes drivers, security guards, on-demand service providers and many more comprises 450 Mn people from India. The shocking part is, 92 percent of this sector is unorganized and only 1 percent of this population has access to formal banking services.
WorkIndia aims to bring the blue-collar workforce into the organized economy. With the shared aim of the company to create a socio-economic impact in the lives of 23.7 Cr blue collar individuals in India, the company built the platform that helps job seekers and recruiters to connect with each other with zero human intervention.

The platform is fully automated, geo-tagged, dynamic, algorithm-based that facilitates a diligent screening process so that employers get the right candidates and who meet their requirements.

The platform allows systematic approach to hiring by eliminating the intervention of third parties or referrals. The process is simple as one can download the app from Play Store and fill his/her details like qualification, skills, age, location etc. and based on that application jobs are displayed.

Based on the available options, the job seeker can select the job and call the employer and they take it further from there.

More than 92 percent of the app users belong to the SMEs and since most of these firms hire online for the first time, the platform offers them a freemium model and promotes them to use the portal for free at first, later the platform gives them an option to all the subscriptions offered.

The main idea behind it is to generate the trust in online hiring from both the ends and once the trust is built, a minimum and fair amount is charged.

There is an immense opportunity in the blue-collar workforce but there are equal numbers of gaps and lags in the same due to the unorganized hiring techniques, the middlemen or third parties charge unreasonable amounts from employees and employers as commission free.

This causes the lack of trust in the system. Below are some challenges that the company faces:

  • The initial challenge with the company was the struggle to convince the people about their product and the benefits that came with. The team of 20 people including seven co-founders would approach the people, show the app and take their feedback then make necessary changes. During this testing phase, the team had done more than 350 plus iteration of the product to reach the current stability and still, the platform is constantly updated to make it more user friendly.
  • Another challenge was internal hiring, till mid-2019, the five-year old start-up was unable to hire the right people for the core team and later they shifted their unit from Mumbai to Bengaluru. The hiring follows the model of pay-on-hire revenue. 
  • The main challenge with the blue collar segment was unlike the white collar, their behaviour is not documented i.e. there is very little data available with companies to make meaningful interpretations but with extensive research company managed to overcome the challenges and within the six days of the launch, the app trended number 1 on Android New free apps in the business section category

Recently, the start-up raised INR 42 crore from Chinese tech major Xiaomi. Earlier investors who have done a couple of investment rounds include Beenext Pte Ltd. and Asuka Investment among others.

At present, the platform provides employment to over one lakh blue collar job seekers and gig economy workers and till now the WorkIndia app has been downloaded by over 15 Mn job seekers, has over 21 Mn unique app sessions per month with presence in over 763 cities across India.

The start-up succeeded on two aspects— first is extreme innovation, second the excitement of becoming a global pioneer in the blue collar segment.

The future plans are aligned with the above two aspects, as they are in process of tailoring the product for Tier II and Tier III cities focusing upon adding adding local languages and location preferences. 

Future target is to completely remove the informational asymmetry and embark on 1 Mn job posting by the next fiscal year 2021 and. The global aspiration of WorkIndia aims at providing a meaningful livelihood to 120 Cr blue collar individuals. 

Edited by: Swati Jha

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