Blue-collar workforce management platform Smartstaff (previously Qikwork) has raised USD 4.3M in funding from Blume Ventures, Nexus Venture Partners and Arkam Ventures, along with Gemba Capital and some angels.
Smartstaff helps businesses hire and manage their blue collar workforce by digitising workforce management practices. Their goal is to enable 100 million blue collar workers in India to get access to better work by leveraging the power of technology. The funds raised will be used for further enhancing the product and building the team.
Blue collar workers bear the brunt of poor workplace practices, an inefficient workforce management system and processes. This is a space that has traditionally been managed by contractors and middle-men with notice boards, entry registers and excel sheets. The resulting inefficiencies and productivity losses are huge, with the average manufacturing plant seeing up to 30% monthly blue collar worker attrition, and as much as 20% absenteeism at the shift level. Workers also struggle with incorrect payouts from factories in addition to pay and PF embezzlement by middle men amongst other things.
Smartstaff solves for these challenges with an easy-to-use, mobile-based, workforce management and staffing solution. It helps the manufacturing industry upgrade from legacy processes, and dramatically reduces attrition and absenteeism while improving their workers’ visibility into payouts, statutory contributions and their timesheets. Currently, over 30,000 man hours of work is tracked everyday on the Smartstaff platform with clients including Raymonds, Enamor, Dixcy and more. The company expects to have over 10,000 workers on its platform by the end of the year.
Smartstaff was founded in October 2020 by four co-founders and ex-colleagues at Runnr – Arpit Dave, Viral Chhajer, Gnanesh Chilukuri and Aravind Reddy. Blume Ventures and Nexus Venture Partners were also early backers of Runnr. All four founders have previously founded and scaled-up startups. The fast growing team, currently at 60 members, comes with rich experience in Product, Tech, Marketing & Operations.
Arpit Dave, Co-founder & CEO, Smartstaff, mentioned, “With more and more industrial workers getting access to smartphones, we see a huge potential in using technology to reimagine workplace processes, and unlock massive value for companies and workers alike”.
Sameer Brij Verma, Managing Director, Nexus Venture Partners, added, “We at Nexus are very excited to partner again with Runnr’s founding team to re-imagine blue-collar recruitment and staffing for over 100 million workers in the country. Via their new-age work-force management platform, SmartStaff aims to drive game-changing efficiencies in the way manufacturing and supply chain companies source, retain, upskill, pay and incentivise their staff.”
“Indian manufacturing is silently powered by tens of thousands of SMBs and their workforces. And yet, the ability to enhance that labor discovery, employment, productivity and transparency – is alarmingly low. The Smartstaff team is all set to change that. Their solution has already wowed some of the smaller and largest employers in the space. We will soon see the core of Indian manufacturing be powered by Smartstaff”, commented Karthik Reddy, Blume Ventures.
“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,” commented Bala Srinivasa, Managing Director at Arkam Ventures.
Viral Chhajer, Co-founder, Smartstaff, said, “At Smartstaff the vision for us is to facilitate the digital transformation of the workforce management practises of India’s manufacturing and supply chain industries.”