We are publishing an interview of Ms. Meenakshi Gupta Jain, CEO, Helper4U.
About the founders
Meenakshi is a JNU alumnus. She had 25 years of work experience across organisations, before she launched Helper4U. Punit is an IIT IIM alumnus with apprx 27 years of experience before he co-founded Helper4U.
What is the problem you are trying to solve? Can you share with us any insights that led you to believe that this is a big enough problem?
ABCDE: Aya, Bai, Cook, Driver and Everyone similar in the unorganised sector face multiple challenges in finding jobs with dignity and ease. Due to lack of network and education, they get exploited physically as well as financially.
ABCDE go door to door in search of job. This is not a good way to find a job for anyone. We found that women specifically have to shell out not only money, but also undergo physical abuse in their search for job. The numbers are huge. There were 10 million+ women working as just maids in 2014. On the other hand, employers for ABCDE also do not have direct access to the Helpers. Demand for domestic workers has actually undergone 222% rise during the past 17 years. So the problem is huge for both sides.
What is the uniqueness about your Startup?
We have created an employment exchange on mobile (simple mobile) for the ABCDE. They can get job opportunities, interview calls, as well as job related notifications in the form of sms and calls. There is minimal intervention from our side in the hiring process. Tech is used extensively to ensure self service is a good experience for the customer and to keep the database updated. No one else is doing that for this segment.
What is the revenue model? What is the logic behind it? What is the model you are following – Free / Freemium / Premium etc. ? Explain your thought process.
Employers pay us to get the contact numbers of Helpers they want to contact. We also offer an interviewer on demand to interview Helpers. The service is Free for the Helpers, because we may not be able to guarantee them a job in return for the money we take.
Who are the consumers that you are targeting? How is this going to affect them?
Home owners and small business owners wanting to hire Domestic workers, housekeeping staff, delivery staff or peons, without wanting to pay agencies. They can hire immediately, without any dependency on any middleman. They save money, as well as time.
What is the big picture of your startup? Will it lead to something bigger? If so, how?
We want to create a complete ecosystem for the ABCDE including training on mobile, verification services online, micro credit, doctor on call etc. we have already started work on most of these.
What is the success story of your startup in your own words?
What we offer is a very disruptive way of hiring since instead of ABCDE going door to door for job, employers now call them with job offers. When we started neither the Helper not the employer believed that the hiring could happen over a mobile. But now we have apprx. 30000 helpers registered with us. Customer return rate is about 25% which is good in our kind of business. It shows that once someone uses Helper4U they use it again whenever they have the need to hire again.
Any other information about your startup that you would like to share with us.
Our biggest high was getting the $250000 award from Internet.org, right after we started.