How a Hyderabad-based Startup Ensures an Easier Hiring Solution for Recruiters

TurboHire, an AI-powered recruitment automation company, focuses on developing an AI solution for the screening process, sourcing and interview automation to the core product in response to customer feedback. It also provide the solution that covers screening, sourcing, interviewing, and requisitions and offer letters. We are publishing an interview with Mr. Deepak Agrawal, CEO & Co-founder, TurboHire:

Q.: What is the problem you are trying to solve? Please share with us any insights that led you to believe that this is a big enough problem?

Ans:  Some of the challenges that we are trying to solve can be provided as follows:

  • How to automate various tasks involved in HR processes?
  • Looking out for solutions that will help multiple systems utilized by HR to conduct various tasks to be managed in a centralized manner.
  • Every job opening will have multiple profiles applying. While some are selected other eligible profiles tend to become trapped in the database. A solution that can help utilize these profiles for further selection is one of the major lookouts.
  • With a higher volume of candidates screening for talent and finding the relevant profiles based on job openings can be a task, and finding a solution for the same is important.
  • Automation of emails and other messages sent to candidates especially when there are thousands of candidates applying for a specific role.

Q.: Please tell us about the founders

(e.g., No. of founders, their names & roles in startup, What’s the Story? When did you start working together etc.)

Ans:  Our startup has 5 founders namely,

  1. Deepak Agarwal – Co-founder & CEO
  2. Aman Gour – Co-founder, Product & Revenue
  3. Abhishek Kabra – Co-founder & CTO
  4. Rakesh Nayak – Co-founder
  5. Gaurav Kumar – Co-founder & VP

Q.: List all the names of the core Team Members, along with their Designated Roles – How you see them evolving over time. What would be each of their Skill Sets? – Elaborate also if any of the team members has a specific domain expertise.

Ans: Sure.

1. Ridhhi Sanghi – Director, People Success: Ridhhi has played an active role in scaling talent at hyper growth stages which also helped sharpen her abilities such as taking quick decisions, becoming comfortable with the aspect of failing, quickly adapting and delivering which ensures that she never loses focus on long term repercussions on culture and talent. Ridhhi has also evolved into a person who could understand right from the basics of understanding and working with the core drives and motives of people. Some of the core expertise that Ridhhi has shown excellence in would be Organization Development, Talent Management, Business Partnering and Coaching.

2. Shoan Shinde – VP, Marketing: I have known Shoan since the time he studied at ISB while I was engaged there in CAS. From then to now, it pleases me to see the professional and leader he has become. Particularly over the past 2 years that he has been with TurboHire, I think he has grown furthermore as a pillar of our growth. His ability to adapt to scenarios and to work with different personalities of our young team has simply matured all the more over the past two years. Shoan has been the go-to person for all the leaders at TurboHire given his people management skills. Balancing empathy and pragmatism, he focuses on the growth and development of all the TurboHumans he works with. Having been an entrepreneur himself and having been involved in various other leadership roles through his career, he has brought to the table a significant value of chutzpah to our team.

With over 15 years in the field, Shoan is one of our most experienced leaders. His forte is marketing and he has truly given the growth engine and brand of TurboHire the shape and form we see today. Given his ability to think one step ahead at all times, he ensures that we build robust and scalable systems in everything that we do in marketing.

3. Abheet Aggarwal – Chief Data Scientist: Abheet during the last couple of years at TurboHire has actively participated in creation of a powerful system which expands across industries. As a part of the team he has also developed a daily growing dense Talent Knowledge Graph, which has served as a backbone for our multiple AI products. Deep connections in Talent KG has allowed us to deep dive into insights of hiring which are difficult for a single recruiter to capture. Abheet has also assisted in creation of various products that help recruiters in hiring on a daily basis, like creating Job Description through system, quickly finding candidates similar to the relevant shortlisted candidates, etc.

As a data scientist, Abheet has excellent skills in problem solving & data exploration apart from which he has also shown great interest within AI which also understands more about NLP in depth.

As far as expertise is concerned Abheet has a great expertise in Mathematics which helps him to understand machine learning models in depth and use the concepts to solve critical problems in both NLP and Computer Vision.

4. Fahad Mistry – VP, Sales: Fahad’s evolution at TurboHire has been from being a product specific person to more of a solutions selling person. Being a consultant to being a full time sales head has its own challenges, and Fahad ensured that he always focused on the bigger picture of how one would want the industry to perceive TurboHire and deliver the right perception to every client.

Fahad has a great skill of understanding and relating to the problem statement of the client quite well especially since he is from a similar background. As the VP of sales, he combines this skill with the ability to sell products and hence acquire great achievements.

Fahad expertise could be pointed out as selling SAAS products especially in the APAC market where client’s expectation is quite significant in terms of value for money.

Q.: Tell us about the Product / Solution. How did you get your first customer? Explain how you went about the Product-Market Fit Process.

Ans: TurboHire’s AI-powered recruitment automation product was initially focused on building an AI for the screening process. However, customer feedback prompted the addition of sourcing and interview automation to the core product, creating a market-fit solution for screening, sourcing, interviewing, and even requisitions and offer letters.

To help organizations find the best-suited candidates, TurboHire developed a database of resumes that can be easily searched by pharma or healthcare companies, for example, to find potential candidates that meet industry-specific requirements. GCIT was TurboHire’s first client and recognized the potential of the product in providing a long-term solution for recruitment.

Q.: What is your USP?

Ans: TurboHire provides a highly customizable and configurable recruitment solution, enabling 85% automation across various activities to adapt to each client’s recruitment process. Its AI-powered screening engine allows for 98% accurate scanning and screening of candidates, with additional options to promote jobs and communicate via email, SMS, and WhatsApp. Detailed reporting on all data points obtained throughout the recruitment process is also available. The platform’s simple user interface promotes quick adoption, even among basic users. With user experience at its core, TurboHire can interact with all stakeholders, including Hiring Managers, Approvers, Interviewers, and candidates, without requiring them to be active users of the platform. In under six months, TurboHire can provide a return on investment by reducing time to hire, cost to hire, and improving the quality of hire.

Q.: What were your assumptions when you entered the market, learning that you have? Who in your mind is your ideal customer? Do you have at least one of them signed up?

Ans:  When TurboHire first entered the market, their main assumption was that screening automation would be a great solution for large-scale enterprises with 100,000+ applications. However, these organizations required a lot of demos to understand the product’s value. So TurboHire shifted its focus to medium-sized enterprises, where the added sourcing automation was beneficial in getting more applicants. But since SMEs don’t usually have many hiring cycles, they were excluded from TurboHire’s ideal customer range. The platform can adapt to the recruitment process of the client and offer up to 85% automation, including an AI-powered screening engine that scans candidates with 98% accuracy. Multi-channel communication options and detailed reporting are also available. The platform’s simple UI ensures quick adoption, and TurboHire can interact with all stakeholders without them needing to be active users of the platform. It can deliver ROI on reducing time and cost to hire, and improving quality of hire in less than six months.

Our ICP can be provided as follows:

  • Size: 300 – 5,000
  • Industry: ITeS, Computer Software, Banking, Financial Services, Accounting, Healthcare, Pharmaceutical
  • Location: APAC, ANZ, Middle East, North America

Some of our customers who have signed up with our platform can be provided as follows:

  • PwC
  • GreyOrange
  • Zee
  • ICICI Bank
  • NPCI
  • Bank of Baroda
  • Accolite Digital
  • Tavant
  • Lenskart

Q.: What has been your biggest failure as an entrepreneur and what did you learn from it??

Ans: We faced a challenge in the past three years in matching the budget with revenue. We had created a forecast and a corresponding budget for our team, marketing, and other expenses, but when COVID hit, we couldn’t meet our revenue goals. The failure was not adjusting the budget to worst-case, bad-case, and good-case scenarios.

Another failure was not establishing distribution channels for TurboHire. As an enterprise product, having strong sales and marketing engines is important, but we failed to build the right distribution channels.

Lessons learned include being conservative with budget spending and building channel partners early on to establish a distribution network. If there are doubts about renewal forecasts, throttle the budget immediately.

Q.: How are you pricing the Product? What is the logic behind it? What is the model you are following – Free / Freemium / Premium etc.? Explain your thought process.

Ans: TurboHire provides 4 tiers such as follows:

Pro: This is the best option for mid-market companies that are planning on moving from excel files to structured recruitment.

  • Monthly platform fee – $249
  • Monthly recruiter license – $49

Premium: A premium is a suitable option for mid-market companies that already has a pre-existing process in place.

  • Monthly platform fee – $399
  • Monthly recruiter license – $75

Enterprise: Enterprise can be best suited for enterprises that are looking to adopt an intelligent platform for all their recruitment needs.

  • Monthly platform fee – $699
  • Monthly recruiter license – $99

Free: A recruiter can access certain selected features for free via our free ATS version. This enables the recruiter to understand how TurboHire features work and how it will help in the hiring process.

Q.: Please tell us about the investors (if any)

Ans:  

Investors

  1. Prabir Jha
  2. Monish Darda
  3. Siddharth Mehta
  4. Sanjay Balram
  5. Venkata N Peri
  6. Prashant Gupta
  7. Rajesh Rege
  8. Ashok Shenoy
  9. Jayesh Ranjan
  10. BVR Mohan Reddy
  11. Taj Haslani
  12. Leela Kaza
  13. Maran Nagarajan

Investing Firms

  1. Kiaora
  2. Pentathlon Ventures
  3. Chennai angels
  4. T-Hub
  5. Mumbai Angels Network

Q.: Is there any interesting success story of your startup? If yes, please write about it. ?

Ans: There are two success stories to highlight. The first is that TurboHire has been able to attract top talent, including founders who are graduates from prestigious institutions such as 3 IIT Bombay Computer-Science graduates, one NIT, and one IIT Delhi, along with ex-Microsoft and ex-Google employees. TurboHire has also been successful in attracting young talent from other great institutions like ISB, IIT Madras, and IIT Kanpur.

The second success story is that when there was a mismatch between our revenue and budget, we enrolled in Microsoft’s startup programs, which provided us with $120 worth of Azure cloud credits. This helped us take care of a significant cost component, ensuring the longevity and success of TurboHire.

Q.: Since inception, give us a sense of the value of business done by your venture?

Ans: Total number of visitors on website – 2M+ users

Number of people registered – 10k+

Current Platform users – 4k+

Free ATS users – 1k+

Q.: What is the big picture of your startup? Is this Product/service leading to something bigger? If so, how?

Ans: Our startup addresses the hiring problem through a systematic approach rather than providing individual tools. While many HRMS or HCM platforms offer various functions for hiring, such as interview tools, automated dialers, and background verification, these tools don’t solve the systemic issue. TurboHire’s approach is analogous to a car, where every component from the accelerator to the clutch pad to the engine and the transmission must work systematically to create movement.

TurboHire provides a comprehensive solution for the hiring problem with five automation modules, including sourcing automation, screening automation, engagement automation, interview automation, and offer letter automation. The platform is a compound SaaS platform, needed across different industries and segments of customers from $250,000,000 to several billion dollars in revenue. With the hiring process being a tedious systemic issue, TurboHire provides a one-stop solution to address all hiring needs in 2 to 6 weeks. The platform creates transparent and outcome-oriented results for organizations.

Q.: Who do You Perceive as Your Competition? How do you differentiate yourself with them?

Ans: While we do have a lot of competitors who are trying to be the best in the industry we try not to just compete but also go hand-in-hand with our competitors and create an ecosystem that helps provide its customers best solutions and one that can be customized according to their needs. 

Q.: What would be your goal to accomplish in the next six months? Any other information you would like to share?

Ans: A startup normally has multiple goals however if I am to talk about the three goals then we would want to achieve $2M  in six or near six-month duration. Second, we’d want to have a functioning, channel partner distribution mechanism for TurboHire. And third is that we would want to have about 25% of our revenues coming from outside India.

Q.: What message do you want to convey to fellow entrepreneurs? 

Ans: To succeed in entrepreneurship, it’s crucial for entrepreneurs to develop their emotional intelligence muscle. This allows them to display the right behavior even when they face failures, such as in meetings with investors or customers. It’s important for entrepreneurs not to let these failures affect their ability to motivate their team and maintain a positive attitude in subsequent meetings.

Entrepreneurs must learn to develop emotional intelligence so that they don’t carry the outcomes of one meeting into the next. This requires motivating oneself and maintaining a positive attitude, which can be achieved through serious introspection. With the right emotional intelligence muscle, entrepreneurs can approach each meeting with different expectations and behaviors, leading to more positive outcomes.

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