Vijai Bhatti, App-A-Minute

California

West / California 49 Views

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We recently met with Vijai Bhatti, founder of App-A-Minute to talk about his new and exciting business. App-A-Minute is platform designed specifically to address the high turnover rate that business owners in the service industry often face.

Q: Hi Vijai, thanks for sitting down with me today. Tell me a little bit about your background and how you came up with the idea for the app.
A: Of course! So, I’ve been an employer in all the industries that we cater to. Our app is a web and mobile app to address high turnover rate industries. In home care, child care, transportation, restaurants, these industries see 30%-90% turnover. I’ve been an employer in all of these service industries that have high turnover rates, so I know that pains of the hiring process – it can be a real pain. We wanted to alleviate that with App A Minute and make it as fast as possible as well as cost effective to hire employees and have them ready to work the same day. It’s different from day jobs – there are a lot of websites that cater to freelance work and the gig economy that offer zero value to the employer. I’m also an angel investor – I’ve invested in and advised a lot of technology companies, so I understand the tech side as well.

Q: Where do you guys currently get your customer base for both employees and employers?
A: Employers are purely through telesales at the moment. We have a staff of telesales calling businesses every day to have people sign up through cold calls and it’s been very effective – we’ve had some big names use our platform. It can be a tough route to make sales, but it’s been working for us. We’re a staff-based business, not a consumer app, so sales are an important part. Were also running aggressive social media campaigns and partnering with influencers to get our brand out there. On the job seeker side, we do the same thing – we run social media campaigns, and we have the app on the Google Play store, so it gets recommended to people in those relevant industries. We have a resume data base as well, so we give job seekers job alerts who are looking for these particular positions and they go through App A Minute. That’s also been effective, were almost at 2,000 job seekers on our platform. We’ve been live about 5 months, October was the first month reaching out to customers.

Q: So currently an employer would pay to be on your platform?
A: That’s correct. The first few months were free for beta testing, now its paid. With the service you can post jobs, interview people, conduct video interviews, manage documents, upload and share training videos, and also message employees. Since we’re industry specific, we focus on those four industries so that we can guarantee the employer qualified candidates – that’s a big pain point in these industries. You post on Indeed, on Craigslist – you’ll get someone who doesn’t fit at all. Very rarely do you get qualified candidates. It’s a sentiment I can relate to personally because I went through that. Our “Hire Fast” package takes care of every aspect of the hiring process in one platform to get employees in as quickly as possible. You can upload documents, have them sign it, show proof of ID, insurance, any certification you might need and vice versa. This ensures that you get someone for the exact position you’re looking for. We’re resolving a lot of pain points – getting people qualified candidates at an affordable price and getting them hired as fast as possible. These industries are posting all the time and hiring every day. They choose the cheapest option but it’s usually not the most effective solution. That’s why we target these industries, so we can be a cost-effective, fast solution for them.

Q: What areas are you currently located in?
A: We’re in Sacramento, LA, the Bay Area, also just starting to get into San Diego.

Q: Which would you say is your largest market right now?
A: Probably Los Angeles and Sacramento. We’re starting with a heavy bay area presence as well, so its catching up quick.

Q: What would you say are the top two benefits of your app over traditional methods?
A: One, we’re industry specific so we can guarantee qualified candidates. Two, we have every aspect of the hiring process in one platform. Eventually, everything is going to be digitized. Now you can hire someone the same day using technology – you don’t have to wait for all the paperwork, the person doesn’t even have to be on site for the interview. That’s one of the problems in these industries, half the time the person doesn’t even show up – I’d say 60% of the time. We’re using technology to make it easier for the employee and the employer.

Q: Are there any similar apps like this on the market?
A: There are apps in the space like job boards – those are pretty saturated. But we’re doing it differently, we’re catering to specific industries. I haven’t seen a product that does what we do. There also employee management apps, but then those aren’t job boards, they’re just mangers. With us, we’re both a job board and management platform.

Q: How many employees do you expect to place this year?
A: Short answer? A lot! Job posts will be in the tens of thousands. Businesses using our platform in general are projected for up to 20,000.

Q: Where do you see the app in five years?
A: We plan to go nationwide. By this summer we should be in Texas and then in a couple years we hope to be in five other states who have the biggest hiring needs nationwide.

Q: Are you looking to add services or just focus on these industries?
A: We’re going to focus on these industries right now because they need it the most. We do want to hit other countries as well where the workforce is increasing – India, for example, increases 40% every year. With App A Minute, it’s not just for the employer, it’s for the employee as well. Your resume stays on file and you can send it out to multiple employers with one click.

Q: What are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced starting up?
A: One of the biggest was doing everything from scratch. Technology companies in particular are very difficult. Putting the right team together, building the product, and getting it market fit. Getting people to pay for the product and keep them satisfied is one of the hardest things to do. Also, getting job seekers to join was pretty difficult for the first couple months until we built up some credibility.

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