Vanishri Deshpande, however, has been solving this “founder's block” with ConnectEcho, her “startup for startups”.
Vani started her journey as a leadership recruiter in 2004, and in 2011 joined Flipkart’s talent acquisition team.
“We needed a lot of audacity to pitch to top talent then, from companies like Bing, eBay, Unilever, Dell, and AOL among others. No one was ready to join an online ecommerce company, and the word ‘startup’ was akin to ‘risk’,” says Vani, describing her early days at Flipkart.
It’s important to note that by 2011, the poster boy of Indian startups had already raised more than $30 million in equity funding, attracting the likes of Tiger Global and Accel.
“I remember that we literally had one-liners as job descriptions: someone to head analytics, someone for digital marketing and analytics, or the private label function… Startup recruiters were also going through a steep learning curve. It took a while to convince talent that we were building a big company and their career trajectory would grow to a whole new level, and deadlines given were as short as a week. Following that were several ‘No’s’ to get one ‘Yes’ from the founders,” Vani recalls.
Almost a decade after she started out, the founder feels that while there is no dearth of talent and the narrative around Indian startups may have evolved, storytelling and the semantics of hiring haven’t kept pace in the recruitment industry.
“While the startup ecosystem is a little more aware in the ways it looks at talent, these companies still don't know how to solve for demand. The supply side is fully broken,” she says.
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