Excerpts of Mr. Sanjeev Bikhchandani’s interview published in Enterprising India.
The beginning of Naukri.Com Web Ventures
In 1989-90, I was working in the marketing department of a consumer product company. I used to see that when the office copy of Business India came, everybody would read it from the back page to front, just because in those days, there were 35-40 pages of appointment ads in the back pages. That told me that jobs were a high-interest category of information—and that insight stayed with me. When I quit my job in 1990, I had worked for three years in advertising and two years in marketing. We started our business with small stuff… odd jobs here and there, whatever came our way. We had no money. Shortage of capital was a major problem that entrepreneurs faced then, especially in the services sector. So, you had to do it on your own, and we started off doing salary surveys, some databases, direct vending, corporate training…whatever came our way. In 1996, when I saw the Internet for the first time, we went ahead with the jobs idea and it became an instant hit. In 2000, ICICI Venture put in Rs73 million for 15% of the company and got a very, very good return when we listed.
Naukri.Com Maturing From Simple Text to Complex Database of Million Resumes
Yes. Initially, the job site was a simple rudimentary text-only site with only job listings, and no resume gathering or sales team. It was simply a browse, no search. Of course, we learnt the business, competition entered, we raised capital, smart talent joined.
Naukri.Com Market share
Naukri had 47% traffic share 15-20 months ago as per Comscore, and today it has 60-65%…so, while we have been impacted by the slowdown, I think competition has been hit much harder.
Recruiting for Senior Position through headhunters
We have got a very large number of senior jobs in the site. Perhaps there is a perception that this recruitment portal thing is for junior or maybe junior-middle positions, but that’s not true. Our clients include some 4,000-5,000 head-hunters, and many of them are engaged in hiring for senior positions. We have recently launched a senior jobs section in Naukri and that is getting good response; if you go on to that section—it has a tab in the home page you will find a lot of jobs there.
Online Vs Offline – Revenue Breakdown
The bulk of our revenues (>90%) come from our Web properties. I think more than 90% and these are products consumed online, both by surfers and by the people who have the money. But, businesses in India do not make payments online, although they buy our services. So to sell and to service our paying clients, we use the offline mode, which is our sales team, so we are an online company, but one that collects money offline.
Naukri.Com Going Global
We have an operation in the Middle East, Naukri Gulf.com, but largely we so far have not pursued any international operations outside of India with any degree of seriousness; we are unlikely to do it at least in the short term.
Stay tuned we will present more views of Mr. Bickchandani on VCs and Entrepreneurship in India.