Online job referral service Round One in talks to raise up to $2M in pre-Series A round

Round One Network Pvt Ltd, which runs an online job referral platform Round One, is in advance talks to raise around $1.5-2 million (Rs 12.5 crore) in a pre-Series A round from two individual investors, a senior company executive told VCCircle.

The investors include top executives with Info Edge (India) Ltd, which runs a slew of consumer internet properties such as Naukri, 99acres, Jeevansathi and Shiksha, besides another leading online company.

The money will be used for product development and global expansion, Nishant Mathur, founder of Round One said, declining to divulge further details.

He added, however, that there is no conflict of interest by one of the investors who is in Info Edge. "Naukri and Round One compliment each other. While Naukri helps users find the right job, we help you get recruited," according to Mathur.

Set up in April 2011 by Mathur, an MBA and a Computer Science graduate from John Hopkins University in the US, Round One claims it has around 1.8 million registered users and over 2,500 companies on board.

The venture is also looking to expand to the US and other geographies soon.

The platform helps users create profiles and then get calls or interviews arranged after making some payment. A user begins with logging into the website and creating a profile and can filter the search by the company and job category. For instance, if he/she wants a job in software engineering in a leading firm, the platform will show a list of employees who are interested in meeting and referring candidates.

Once the job seeker makes the payment online to Round One, he/she can request a referral from any of the listed employees. If an employee agrees to speak to him, a telephonic interaction is arranged, on the basis of which the job referral is secured.

The calls are arranged through an automated call forwarding system. When the job seeker makes the payment, a six-digit code is sent to his/her e-mail account registered with Round One. Once the referrer fixes a time for the interaction, the job seeker has to dial a specific number and then punch in the code. Once the code is entered, the call is forwarded to the referrer.

The firm charges the job seeker for each referral he/she earns through Round One. However, the platform is free for referrers. Before each interaction, the job seeker is required to deposit approximately Rs 500 (subject to their experience) in Round One. Post interaction, if the employee decides not to refer the job seeker, the payment is refunded.

Even though India has many job portals, including Naukri, Monster India, Timesjobs, Shine etc, Round One is in a niche space. However, it is not a unique business model.

Some others in the space include Delhi-based GrownOut Solutions Pvt Ltd, which offers an online referral hiring platform that enables organisations to leverage their employees’ professional network. GrownOut recently secured its first institutional round of funding from Matrix Partners India.

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