Before Sumir Meghani and Saureen Shah became Google engineers, they dipped their toes into much smaller ventures. Meghani was raised by two small business owners, and Shah used to be a McDonald’s cashier.
Now the 34-year olds have teamed up to launch a Y Combinator-backed startup called Instawork to combat the pain small business owners have to go through when it comes to hiring employees.
These struggles can range from finding new hires when turnover rates are high, difficulties reaching potential applicants with physical postings, and spending long hours sifting through applications.
Instawork promises to connect owners to qualified job candidates that they won’t see on sites like Linkedin and Monster — chopping that time down to just 24 hours.
There are currently 25 million small businesses in the US, and only 70 per cent of job openings are listed online.
“Hospitality positions are in especially high demand, particularly restaurants,” Meghani told Business Insider. “Turnover rates are really high. We’re talking like 60 to 80 per cent a year.”
Meghani and Shah said it’s also hard for small business owners to adapt to the latest technology and constantly revamp themselves the way tech powerhouses can with their connections and squad of engineers.
“If you think about the process today when a small business is hiring someone, they have to go to a job board, and it’s time consuming to fill in all the information,” Shah said. “We accelerate and standardize the process to make hiring easy and reduce friction.”
Why can Meghani and Shah tout such a rapid turnaround? Ultra-responsive tech is their answer. Everything is automated: matching up schedules, automatically verifying references, and parsing only the most important parts of a resume to send out to recruiters.
If a family coffee shop owner wished to have more baristas on deck, all they would have to do is go online, fill in the bare basics of the job in a few lines and click “find me candidates.” The process takes around one minute.
“The hardest part about building up Instawork is that small business owners are hard to reach,” Meghani said. “We really have to work on our connections, and that’s what makes our company special. Some approaches have been working, but it’s too early to say what they specifically are.”
Meghani and Shah are staying tight-lipped on these business connections aside from some reviews on the site, but they say that there are hundreds of small companies in the database. Since they launched Instawork two and a half months ago, they have processed around 8,000 job applications.
An Instawork app is also in the works to adapt to the mobile world.
“Our long term vision is to treat and connect 25 million small businesses and that underserved market,” Shah said. “The time is right now, and we’re the right team to do it.”
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