Workforce management startup Smartstaff (previously known as qikworks) has raised $ 4.3 Mn in a seed funding round. Blume Ventures, Nexus Venture Partners, Arkam Ventures, Gemba Capital participated in this round of funding.
Founded in 2020 by Arpit Dave, Viral Chhajer, Gnanesh Chilukuri, and Aravind Reddy, Smarstaff is a platform that helps its clients hire and manage blue collar workers with their digital workforce management system.
In theory, the startup aims to replace the disorganised patchwork of contractors, middlemen, paper registers, and excel sheets that manages most worksites today. The startup currently employs about 60, and plans to deploy the funds raised to build the team further.
Currently, over 30,000 man hours of work is tracked everyday on the Smartstaff platform with clients including Raymonds, Enamor, Dixcy and more. It further plans to have over 10,000 workers on its platform by the end of the year.
Blue-collar workers form the backbone of an economy’s workforce. The labour-intensive primary and secondary sector make up close to 50% of our country’s GDP. Engaging with these employees and making them feel valued is crucial to the HR efforts of companies in the space.
In most organisations, these are the workers who are engaged in the most stressful and physically demanding tasks. But the disorganised nature of the workforce means that most of their grievances go unheard. HR Tech platforms have the opportunity to make employee-employer relationships more transparent.
In June, blue collar recruitment firm Apna raised $70 Mn in Series B funding led by Sequoia Capital India and Greenoaks Capital and later it grabbed $100 Mn which led to the startup’s entry into the unicorn club.
With India’s gig economy going ahead at full steam, more than 90 Mn people are expected to be gig-workers by 2024. A large majority of them are going to be blue-collar workers.
In September this year, gig workers platform Vahan raised $8 Mn in a Series A funding round and Betterplace raised $24 Mn from Jungle Ventures and others.
An IBEF Poll says that 7 Mn new blue-collar jobs will be created this year owing to easing restrictions and resuming business activities. This opens up more potential opportunities for HR Tech firms specialising in Blue-collar worker services.
“Over the past decade, smartphone penetration across India has triggered waves of new age platforms disrupting large markets. We see Smartstaff leading the change by digitising workplace processes for manufacturers, and enabling 100M+ blue collar manufacturing workers to use their smartphones as an instrument of productivity with information on shifts, payouts, savings, jobs, and communication,” said Bala Srinivasa, Managing Director at Arkam Ventures.
In 2017, approximately 71% of organisations believe that the people analytics technology that is part of HR Tech is a high priority. Trends suggest that Human Resources teams across companies will begin using HR Tech products and services to do everything from hiring and training workers to designing remuneration packages for them.