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Data collection throughout recruiting cycle, the SkillSoniq's asset to grow rapidly

SkillSoniq, a USA-based startup, is mulling its foray intoIndia in near future

Abhinav Verma, Founder and CEO, SkillSoniq.com
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Abhinav Verma, Founder and CEO, SkillSoniq.com

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SkillSoniq is an AI-powered recruiting concept of giving companies the ability to try out workers on a freelance basis, before deciding to switch them to their payroll. This reduces their hiring risk, provides them with affordable talent and makes hiring extremely convenient for companies. "We are all set to launching our product and services in Asia and Europe in the next few years," says Abhinav Verma, Founder and CEO, SkillSoniq.com in an exclusive interaction with Bizz Buzz

Tell us about SkillSoniq and what problem it solves?

The recruiting process across the world is broken, in that there are many more jobseekers than job openings. That makes hiring a huge pain for companies as they struggle to sift through hundreds of resumes for one job, without even knowing if the candidate they hire will turn out to be a perfect fit.

I started SkillSoniq to solve this problem - SkillSoniq is an AI-Powered recruiting app that was started with the concept of giving companies the ability to try out workers on a freelance basis, before deciding to switch them to their payroll. This reduces their hiring risk, provides them with affordable talent and makes hiring extremely convenient for companies All of this on one digital platform powered by Artificial Intelligence.

How's the journey been so far?

After onboarding a critical mass of jobseekers on our platform in 2018, we launched our app for companies in New York in early 2019 by partnering with WeWork and all the other co-working spaces in New York. Since then, we have onboarded hundreds of companies on our app and won a large list of repeat customers who love hiring on SkillSoniq.

Over the last couple of years, we have built a core team of early employees across sales, marketing and tech, a high-profile board of advisors including tech executives and venture capitalists andhave raised a round of seed funding from over 240 investors. We have had garnered Rs 5 crore in gross revenue in just under two years, and we now operate in five major cities across the US and Canada, All this without spending a single dime on ads! We will be launching in India soon, which presents an $80 billion market for us. Over the last couple of years, we have stress tested various sales channels, and now know which channels are working for us. We have also on boarded over 10,000 job-seekers on our app and work with over 300 companies to help them hire great talent.

How does your product work?

SkillSoniq is an AI-Powered recruiting app that connects companies with skilled, local and remote talent in the same city or country. On SkillSoniq, companies post jobs and are connected with the best talent whom they can instantly hire on a freelance basis. If they like working with them, they can simply click a button to switch them to their payroll. We have a utility patent filed for our proprietary matching algorithm, and are in the process of filing many more patents to protect our technology.

SkillSoniq is making it extremely easy for job-seekers to find jobs. They simply submit their profile on skillsoniq.com in under 10 minutes, and once they are approved by SkillSoniq, they sit back and relax as our technology sends them interview and project offers. They then start working with multiple clients on projects, knowing that one of their projects will convert into a full-time role. This process removes the need for job-seekers to aimlessly apply for hundreds of jobs without ever hearing back from companies and allows them to test out various companies before diving into a full-time job.

What is your business model and how do you make money?

We charge jobseekers a 10 per cent commission from every dollar that's paid to them on our platform. We also charge companies a "buyout fee" everytime they convert a freelancer to a full-time employee. Our business model allows us to keep costs very affordable for companies and charge companies only once they have tested a worker and find them to be a perfect fit for the job.

In the future, as our platform begins to get hyper-personalized to both sides of our marketplace, we will explore subscription models.

How big is your market and competition?

The freelance market in the US, Canada, India and other parts of the world is growing rapidly. In the US, more than half of the workforce will freelance by 2024, and in India, there are 15 million freelancers today. We estimate our addressable market to be roughly $30 billion in the US and $80 billion in India – This market is growing north of 20 per cent a year, now more so because of Covid.

We compete with job portals, staffing agencies and existing freelance websites, but have clear differentiators from each of them. Over time, we believe the level of data we collect on our platform throughout the recruiting cycle will become our biggest asset, one that will help us grow faster than our competition.

What recommendations do you have for India to get back millions of jobs that were lost due to Covid?

For India's economy to rise rapidly in this decade, it is important for the Government to promote the use of digital freelance platforms locally in India. The government should also revise Indian contract labor laws to support freelancers in India. This is already underway with a bill to establish a social security fund for contractors in India. Such initiatives will encourage more local digital freelance marketplaces, such as SkillSoniq, to operate in India.

In the Covid era when millions of jobs have been lost, promoting the Indian freelance ecosystem will help generate millions of jobs, while helping companies grow rapidly by staying lean. Such change is sure to propel India to get back on its pre-Covid growth trajectory, and back on track to achieve the $10 trillion GDP goal set by the Prime Minister of India for the next 15 years.

What is the impact of Covid-19 on your company?

We are extremely optimistic about the future of SkillSoniq post Covid. As global economies get back on track with prospects of a vaccine, companies are relying more than ever on hiring flexible talent at low hiring risk and extremely low fixed costs, with the option to convert their hires into their payroll when the time is right.

Workers are also realizing the importance of working from home and at their own time, and will now be more comfortable with the concept of freelancing. This will present huge opportunities for them to try out our platform to source jobs.

What's your goal for the next few years?

We are at an inflection point within SkillSoniq with proven sales channels, attractive unit economics, happy customers, rapid release of new product features and a great deal of learning. With momentum rapidly growing around freelancing and remote work, we are excited about growing rapidly in North America and launching our product and services in Asia and Europe in the next few years.

Kumud Das
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