Job portals look to help out founders of failed start-ups

Bid to bail out founders of start-ups at a time when the ecosystem is witnessing multiple shutdowns because of waning investors’ interests


According to data compiled by Delhi-based research firm Xeler8.com, over 40% of start-ups set up in the last two years have already shut shop. 
Photo: Priyanka Parashar/Mint
According to data compiled by Delhi-based research firm Xeler8.com, over 40% of start-ups set up in the last two years have already shut shop. Photo: Priyanka Parashar/Mint

Mumbai/New Delhi: With entrepreneurial activity slowing down in the country and start-up mortality rate at its peak; online job portals such as Naukri.com and iimjobs.com are looking to focus on ex-entrepreneurs as a separate category for jobseekers.The aim is to bail out the founders of start-ups at a time when the ecosystem is witnessing multiple shutdowns because of waning investors’ interests.

Naukri.com is evaluating creating a section highlighting ex-founders; while iimjobs, which has a page for ex-founders, plans to give it more visibility and special badge to the profile of these candidates calling them “entrepreneurial”. The Delhi-based job portal, iimjobs, which is run by Highorbit Careers Pvt. Ltd, will also ensure that whenever an ex-founder applies for a start-up job, his or her score/ranking is boosted by 30%. So, they will move up and increase likelihood of click by employers.

According to Hitesh Oberoi, managing director and chief executive at Info Edge India Ltd, the company which owns Naukri.com, commercially the section doesn’t make much sense however such initiative might help in boosting the entrepreneurship ecosystem in the country further. “We will do our analysis. If the number is a few thousand and growing then one can look into it,” he said referring to the number of founders shutting shops.

According to data compiled by Delhi-based research firm Xeler8.com, over 40% of start-ups set up in the last two years have already shut shop.

Also Read: A guide to start-up metrics

Xeler8 took a sample size of 2,281 start-ups that had initiated operations after June 2014 from across food-tech, e-commerce, health-tech, robotics and drones, augmented and virtual reality, logistics, online recruitment and business intelligence and analytics sectors.

It also said that of all the founders, whose start-ups got shut, over 75% went to take up jobs in corporate or start-ups and only the remaining started up again.

Last week, pseudonymous Twitter account holder Unicon Baba tweeted tagging the founders of different job portals asking them if a special category for ex-startup founders could be created.

The start-up ecosystem in the country is currently dominated by young, straight out of college students versus those who have 10+ years of experience, according to Harminder Sahni, founder at Wazir Advisors, a consultancy firm, adding that the second lot being much larger in number.

Sahni, who is also an angel investor, said; “The founders [in one of my investee company] were fresh out of the college and they realised that “start-ups were not their thing”. “Some of them may join other start-ups since they want to continue to work in similar environment,” he said.

“There is always a lot of interest in hiring ex-founders. Prior start-up experience demonstrates passion, initiative, ambition, etc and most technology companies are happy to hire such folks. We don’t think it will be any challenge at all,” said Tarun Matta, founder of iimjobs.com, talking about the demand of such candidates in the jobs market.

Interestingly, not only start-ups or multi-national corporates look to hire ex-entrepreneurs but even investors rope in resident entrepreneurs.

“We, as a fund, actually scout for such resources that have aspirations. We absorb them and allow them to engage with other start ups in our portfolio to groom them, or match them with our portfolio companies for the role of co-founder or take other leadership roles,” said Anil Joshi, managing partner, Unicorn India Ventures.

Last 12-24 months saw several start-ups shut shop, including food-tech firms Eatlo Tech Solutions Pvt. Ltd, Internet-first kitchen Spoonjoy (Emvito Technologies Pvt. Ltd), restaurant aggregator Dazo (TapCibo Online Solutions Pvt Ltd), online recruitment firm Talentpad (Zobtree Ventures Pvt Ltd), online apparel rental start-up Klozee, auto- rickshaw hailing app Autoncab among others.

Vinti Doshi, founder of Autoncab, said that though most of the entrepreneurs would want to set up their next venture and start thinking about a new idea, not all can pursue it right away referring to financial and family constraints.

“There are different reasons because of which many entrepreneurs cannot afford to start a venture again right away and rather start looking for a job,” Doshi said.

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