A startup based on “Giving is inherent to our culture”

MyRefersMyRefers was triggered by a spiritual talk on ‘Good Karmas’. As a child, Lalit was always taught about being good, kind, and helpful. While growing, he was seemingly atypical lad – calmer, more settled, and a very happy-go-lucky kid than the rest. He didn’t know then that this had any bearing to what he may start to do in future. There wasn’t a wave that swept him, it happened conscientiously yet naturally.

It was all started in May, 2012, when he was spearheading the digital strategy and execution of ‘Satyamev Jayate’, a show that created endearing social effects soon after going on air. In fact a ‘Eureka’ idea to let people sms to donate along with various opportunities for people to participate and be part of the change made him realize that people were more than willing to help, it was part of their intrinsic nature, and they only needed a platform.

With his team, he was creating and rolling out as many digital platforms for Satyamev Jayate to help broaden the belief of its concept creators – Aamir Khan and his STAR TV team. It was a butterfly moment for him, not only in terms of transformation but an awakening, a reinstatement of his own self.

Parallel to this, his professional interactions were significantly increasing as per his role and title, consultants would call him for referrals and he was personally also getting more and more involved in the ‘right’ hiring maze. He was realizing the power of referrals as possibly the best and most effective source of hiring suitable candidates.

One day, after office hours, back at home he got into an interesting spiritual talk with his wife Kashish, they were pondering upon the course ‘Karma kiya jao, phal ki chinta mat karo’ (keep doing good karma and do not worry about the fruits) and she had her contentions about how practical the ‘Bhagvadgita’ learnings are in today’s world! Doing ‘good’ for others is an intrinsic motivation and honestly doing it without an extrinsic motivation arguably ‘money’ may limit incentivization of sharing the goodness.

Convinced by the plan, Kashish took the plunge first; she left her job and started building the alpha product. Soon they started to check the product and seek assertions with industry experts. And cliché it may sound but true, Lalit left his cushiony job and fat pay cheque. He did forgo his plush office cabin and started working from a room in the house.

MyRefers

Clockwise: Lalit Bhagia, Avnish Anand, Roshan Singh, and Kashish Bhagia

MyRefers is a brainchild of Lalit Bhagia, a digital expert who previously built large ventures from scratch for companies like STAR TV and Digitas. Lalit, CEO-MyRefers is an Engineer, MBA and has specialized in International Business Management from IIM – Kolkata. Lalit in his past digital avatars won various industry awards and recognitions among the top digital leaders in the country.

Kashish Bhagia, Co-founder and Chief Finance Officer at MyRefers, is a Chartered Financial Analyst and also Lalit’s better half. It was her conscientious efforts that lead to the initial success of a working prototype and then the alpha version of the product. This is what convinced the rest to finally leave their fat pay cheque salaries and team up.

Avnish Anand, Co-founder and Chief Product Officer, is a MBA in Finance and Marketing from IIM – Lucknow and a Bachelor in Statistics, Economics and Mathematics from Indian Statistical Institute Kolkata. He had previously led Techgig and StepAhead and was also part of the core founding team that built CaratLane.com, India’s first and largest online jewellery store.

Roshan Singh, Head – Engineering is a technical lead with expertise in front-end and text analytics. He has worked in companies like Adobe and C-Dot. He is a tech geek and a coder at heart, is passionate about UI and design. He is a Bachelor in Technology from NIT Bhopal.

MyRefersMyRefers is an external job referral platform that helps companies’ crowd-source the best quality candidates using the power of people’s social connections. The platform is built like a job marketplace powered by social referrals and enabled by big data intelligence.

MyRefers is creating a network of referees, CXOs, and recruiters who help connect the best resource pool with high quality jobs, which are then ranked for best fitment through a soon to be patented algorithm before it is shared with clients. It is set to benefit the entire ecosystem with the help of social scores derived from karma and skills. It is reinforcing a transparent and open platform for the industry to follow.

Located in New Delhi, MyRefers was started in Feb, 2014. Though the initial seed funding of USD 150K was from personal funds, loans from bank, family and friends, the startup managed to receive an undisclosed pre-series A funding from a leading Noida based VC firm. It aims to break even in another few months.

MyRefers is in business for almost 1 year now and is growing exponentially. It is one of the leading and most exciting players in talent crowd sourcing with 35+ clients already on board. The startup uses external referrals to crowd source candidates and has 2,900 job openings and over INR 2.5 crore worth of referral rewards currently on the site. Clients like Gaadi, Yepme, 91mobiles, Limetray, HCL, M&M, Dentsu, Iprospect c2, WWO, Zapak, Webchutney, Trivone Digital among others are using MyRefers.

In today’s day and age where everyone is online, search and social media is the forte for products like MyRefers. The website is extremely viral in nature and engages with people across 1000s of groups/forums and communities. And also uses the google ad network, along with facebook ads for targeting users. There is also a dedicated team to send out company updates and information to press.

Apart from creating the right buzz in the market, the young company was voted as among Hottest 50 Tech Startups in India by Exhibit Magazine in 2014 and is selected by Microsoft for Microsoft Bizspark Plus program and by Google for the Google Startup Launch Program.  In 2015 it has also been selected as among the Top 100 Tech Startups to watch out for in India.

Speaking about the recruitment industry, Lalit says,

Though the market opportunity is huge the recruitment industry has long remained unchanged and challenging. The industry has long suffered from getting bad quality, irrelevant but large volume of profiles. The job boards remain old style classified ones which tend to deliver a lot of profiles, most of which are irrelevant. It’s time job boards should change.

The team at MyRefers, believe that they can change all that, and more, and hence believe that they have the entire market as the opportunity. MyRefers is a global product and has plans of launching in international markets. The team is currently evaluating a new developing Asian market and a large developed economy.

Lalit has always been inspired by entrepreneurs and inventors, from the rickshaw puller to Steve Jobs to Richard Branson or Nikola Tesla. During his MBA itself, he had decided to start on his own. Though he went into a job soon after his studies and succeeded tremendously through the years, going back to entrepreneurship was always at the back of his mind.

Along with building businesses, Lalit is a marathoner and has run 20+ half marathons, plays squash, and likes to swim. Lalit is also a Reiki Level 2 practitioner; follows Art of Living practices and is also associated with the Chinmaya Mission.

Lalit shares his travelling passion with his wife Kashish, also the co-founder of MyRefers and has travelled across 29 countries and 100 + cities. At the same time Lalit balances his personal life well with his parents, two kids Paarth & Prisha and enjoys playing with them as much as changing diapers.

Advising the aspiring entrepreneurs, Lalit states, “Passion, patience, and faith are the key traits an aspiring entrepreneur needs to have. It is important to know that success doesn’t come over-night, it takes many nights of burning the midnight oil and many days spent building a life around your dream. You have to eat stress for breakfast and learn to digest it very well. Along with this, you have to train yourself to balance the two worlds that mean the most to you – your family, and the love of your life- your business.”

He further adds, “the foremost factor to take care of while initiating a start-up is the finances. Managing the funds judiciously is very important to ensure hassle-free planning and execution. I would suggest you to be stingy and make the most out of your limited funds. Always be ready to evolve with your ideas and warmly welcome any feedbacks or changes. Don’t focus only on minting money in the beginning; your primary focus should be product development. At the same time do not take your eye away from generating some cash flows. If you have your product right, have some money going, you will be ready to take on the world, and everything else will always follow. It’s important to set the base right before building the business and innovative management techniques are a bonus. Try getting young, enthusiastic people to be a part of your core team as they are always with the freshest of ideas.”

Sharing exclusively for readers of PlanBmatters, Lalit says,”My young energetic team and my family members have been my backbone all this while, when I was striving to make MyRefers stand on its own. From holding me when things weren’t going right, to screaming in joy with me when things came back on track – I don’t think I could ever come this far without knowing they were with me all the time. I owe every moment of my success to them.”