Vahan, a Bengaluru-based company, has built an AI-driven virtual assistant integrated with WhatsApp that helps businesses automate various aspects of workforce engagement. To apply for a job, a candidate simply needs to send a “hi” message to Vahan’s phone number on WhatsApp following which the bot qualifies them, answers their questions and even schedules an interview.
Vahan Co-founders, Madhav Krishna (CEO) and Mohammed Abdoolcarim (Head of Product)
The start-up has created the virtual assistant in English & local languages and has tied up with clients such as Dunzo, Club Mahindra, Cure.Fit, Ecom Express and Flipkart.
As per Madhav Krishna, CEO, Vahan, “There are 200k delivery jobs in the country that grew by 20% last year. Recruitment for frontline roles such as delivery boys is done largely manually and is therefore hard to scale. Not to forget, the high attrition in this space (over 75% per year) means that there is a constant need for hiring.”
Recruitment is one of the toughest challenges for organisations. Sourcing the right talent and at the right cost is the key for growth-more so for the blue collar or frontline positions for which hiring is done in large volumes. Vahan, specializes in high volume recruitment of delivery boys for companies in the on-demand and e-commerce space.
“Our AI-driven virtual assistant helps companies meet their hiring requirements quickly and in a cost effective manner. The assistant can be integrated with WhatsApp to maximize reach and dramatically reduce sourcing costs,” says Madhav.
With WhatsApp recently announcing the release of its Business API, the playing field for a large set of businesses like Vahan opens up. WhatsApp has 1.5 billion monthly users globally with 200 million of them being in India. The engagement prowess of the platform is evident from the fact that 96% of the smartphone users in India use it and 97% of them are hooked on it daily.
Vahan is optimistic and is eyeing the huge opportunity with companies like Swiggy entering the unicorn club, Cure.Fit raising $120M recently, Flipkart likely to go head-to-head with Amazon in India on the backs of the recent Walmart deal, as hiring of delivery boys by these companies will be in droves.
According to Madhav, “The public release of the WhatsApp Business API opens up the playing field for a large set of businesses to build tools for commerce, customer support and workforce engagement on WhatsApp. Given the massive potential here, this announcement will trigger new ideas and help create many startups as well.”
Vahan, established in 2016, is building the “LinkedIn” for on-demand and frontline workers. It enables frontline workers to chat with an AI-driven virtual assistant on WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger or WeChat; no separate app download is required. The virtual assistant is customisable to align to employers’ recruitment, training, communication and reporting needs.
Its founders, Madhav Krishna (CEO) and Mohammed Abdoolcarim (Head of Product), have spent a considerable time in the Artificial Intelligence and Messaging space in New York and Silicon Valley.
Krishna, an alumnus of Columbia University in New York, grew up in Delhi, and is a Machine Learning and AI expert. He was part of several successful startups in New York such as Jetsetter (acquired by Tripadvisor).
A Stanford alumnus, Abdoolcarim grew up in Hong Kong. In the past, he worked at Google as a Product Marketing Manager, and then moved to Siri as Lead Product Manager (acquired by Apple for US $250 million).