Paytm Sniffs Deal in Laid-off Tal­ent Seeks to snap up ex­pe­ri­enced peo­ple los­ing jobs due to busi­ness re­cast in star­tups like Snapdeal

The Economic Times - - Front Page -

Shamb­havi Anand, Richa Ma­hesh­wari & Surabhi Agar­wal

New Delhi | Ben­galuru: For startup tal­ent stung by right­siz­ing, saviours seem to be emerging from within the ecosys­tem: Alibaba-backed Paytm is the lat­est to throw a life­line to tech­nol­ogy and prod­uct ex­ec­u­tives, many of whom are hunt­ing for jobs af­ter the re­struc­tur­ing at Snapdeal and the moth­balling of Stayzilla.

Early Fri­day morn­ing, Paytm founder Vi­jay Shekhar Sharma tweeted: “Hello, Tech/Prod­uct peo­ple in Delhi NCR, feel­ing heat of busi­ness re­struc­tur­ing? We wel­come you @Paytm and @Payt­mMall with open arms.” Sharma’s tweet didn’t men­tion any com­pany, but his of­fer came amid job losses at the two star­tups that have sig­nif­i­cant staff pres­ence in the na­tional cap­i­tal re­gion (NCR).

A Paytm spokesper­son said the com­pany is ex­pand­ing its ecom­merce busi­ness, Paytm Mall, and has 250 va­can­cies. The com­pany that be­came a house­hold name in the im­me­di­ate af­ter­math of de­mon­eti­sa­tion will fill po­si­tions across the hi­er­ar­chy—from se­nior man­agers to vice-pres­i­dents.

“We are re­cruit­ing for our mar- ket­place and the bank: Hence, trained and do­main ex­perts are wel­come. We be­lieve star­tups have great peo­ple and they will fit well in our en­tre­pre­neur­ial cul­ture,” the spokesper­son said in an email.

Ear­lier, An­jali Jain of EVC Ven­tures of­fered jobs through her LinkedIn post: “Snapdeal em­ploy­ees that are be­ing laid off that live in Gur­gaon, please con­tact …”

Gur­gaon-based startup OfBusi­ness, an on­line mar­ket­place for busi­ness-to-busi­ness (B2B) com­merce, has re­ceived over 100 CVs from Snapdeal em­ploy­ees. “They are now go­ing through the nor­mal HR process of hir­ing,” said Bhu­van Gupta, chief tech­nol­ogy of­fi­cer.

ET re­ported on Fe­bru­ary 22 that ex­ploratory talks were held on merg­ing Paytm’s mar­ket­place with Snapdeal in an all-stock trans­ac­tion about a month ago.

Alibaba, the world’s largest ecom­merce com­pany, has a 40% stake in Paytm and around 3% in Snapdeal. Paytm has spun off the mar­ket­place busi­ness into an en­tity called Paytm E-com­merce Pvt. Ltd, which is rais­ing cap­i­tal from Alibaba and SAIF Part­ners.

Alibaba is also re­port­edly lead­ing an in­vest­ment ini­tia­tive to raise up to ₹ 1,700 crore for the on­line re­tail mar­ket­place of Paytm, mark­ing the for­mal en­try of the Chi­nese ma­jor into an in­dus­try that will re­quire it to com­pete with Ama­zon and In­dia’s Flip­kart for busi­nesss in Asia’s third-largest econ­omy.

Sharma’s tweet has also at­tracted the at­ten­tion of em­ploy­ees from other failed star­tups and en­trepreneurs them­selves.

Manik Khosla, 25, who quit con­sul­tancy firm EY to start a res­tau­rant, has reached out to Sharma.

“I am an op­er­a­tions and lo­gis­tics per­son and any startup def­i­nitely has peo­ple in the op­er­a­tions role. There­fore, I thought of ap­ply­ing to Paytm,” Khosla told ET. He shut his res­tau­rant busi­ness 10 days ago.

TRIM­MING WORK­FORCE

Sev­eral com­pa­nies in the startup do­main are plan­ning to trim their work­force to re­duce over­heads. The big­gest one is NCR-based Snapdeal, where a fresh round of job cuts be­gan this year, a move that could af­fect about 1,000 em­ploy­ees, ET re­ported this month.

A size­able chunk of those af­fected will be in tech­nol­ogy and prod­uct roles, al­though ex­act fig­ures are not avail­able.

Sep­a­rately, home­s­tay startup Stayzilla de­cided to shut shop this week, adding to the list of firms af­fected by in­creas­ing in­vestor at­ten­tion on prof­itabil­ity in busi­ness mod­els.

“Hir­ing such tal­ent works in our ben­e­fit. The ex­pe­ri­enced staff will come at a rea­son­able price and won’t ask for a hike over their ex­ist­ing salary,” said San­deep Pa­doshi, co­founder, WOW Ex­press, a two-year-old lo­gis­tics startup. “There is tal­ent crunch in the mar­ket, es­pe­cially in tech and core se­nior man­age­ment. If such tal­ent is laid off, we will be happy to hire them.” WOW Ex­press han­dles about 30,000 ship­ments a day and had raised ₹ 15 crore fund­ing in May.

TAL­ENT NOT AN IS­SUE

Ex­perts said mass lay­offs aren’t be­cause of tal­ent is­sues. “These lay­offs are due to or­gan­i­sa­tional con­text such as du­pli­ca­tion of roles af­ter merg­ers, or to cut cor­po­rate costs af­ter buy­ing a com­pany,” said Tham­ma­iah BN, man­ag­ing direc­tor of Kelly ser­vices, an HR con­sult­ing com­pany.

Ac­cord­ing to in­sid­ers in the startup in­dus­try, at least 10,000 peo­ple have had to switch jobs in the past 18 months be­cause of merg­ers, con­sol­i­da­tions or clo­sures.

Jap­preet Sethi, head of mar­ket­ing at YoS­tar­tups, an HR con­sult­ing com­pany for star­tups, said: “Smaller play­ers get to pick tal­ent dur­ing this time, be­cause most lay­offs hap­pen across the in­dus­try at the same time to read­just the cost of rev­enue.”

This is not the first time that em­ploy­ees have been greeted with a flurry of of­fers af­ter los­ing jobs else­where. Two years ago when Ya­hoo down­sized its op­er­a­tions in Ben­galuru, al­most 400 en­gi­neers were flooded with of­fers from star­tups such as Zo­mato, and rel­a­tively smaller firms such as Ur­ban Eye, Price­baba.com and Min­jar.

Deepin­der Goyal, founder of Zo­mato, had tweeted a pic­ture with “Yeah, Who?” in a font and colour sim­i­lar to the Ya­hoo logo. “We are (al­ways) hir­ing,” read the cap­tion.

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