Article: Exclusive: PeopleStrong’s Group CEO Pankaj Bansal on Wheebox’s acquisition by ETS

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Exclusive: PeopleStrong’s Group CEO Pankaj Bansal on Wheebox’s acquisition by ETS

Wheebox, by PeopleStrong, was acquired by ETS, a global NPO in education and research assessments, for its advanced auto-proctoring and assessment technology. Here's Group CEO Pankaj's vision for their upcoming HR technologies.
Exclusive: PeopleStrong’s Group CEO Pankaj Bansal on Wheebox’s acquisition by ETS

Amid the increasing demand for new HR technologies that facilitate seamless candidate assessment and screening, innovative HRTech platforms are emerging with cutting-edge tools for auto-proctoring and assessments. One such tool is PeopleStrong's Wheebox, which garnered attention and was recently acquired by ETS, a global nonprofit organization specializing in educational research and assessments. This move was prompted by Wheebox's cutting-edge technology, positioning it as a leader in India's HRTech landscape.

In an exclusive interview with People Matters, Pankaj Bansal, Co-founder and Group CEO of PeopleStrong shares his vision for Wheebox and his aspirations for upcoming technologies.

Q. What are your sentiments regarding the expansion of Wheebox into a global landscape?

This is a moment of pride, given ETS's significant contributions to global education through initiatives like TOEFL, TOEIC, and GRE. It's an exciting juncture where an Indian company can take a pivotal role in supporting ETS. The team is enthusiastic about collaborating and exploring new avenues of growth.

Q. How and why did PeopleStrong decide to partner with ETS for the Wheebox? What factors related to expansion and leadership strategy influenced this decision?"

Amit Sevak, the Global CEO of ETS, was exploring technology leaders in the education and assessment sectors during his visit to India. The Wheebox leadership team was invited to join this quest, marking the beginning of our collaboration. ETS's renowned expertise in assessments made it a natural choice for partnership.

Wheebox has a track record of successfully conducting large-scale assessments in the Indian market, including multimillion tests, which further solidified our connection.

As we set our sights on expanding our global reach and diving deeper, particularly in government and global enterprises, teaming up with ETS became the clear choice. Their strategic capabilities are exactly what we need to support our growth.

Q. What are your aspirations for PeopleStrong’s other HRTech products and solutions?

PeopleStrong can be aptly described as a consortium of entrepreneurial ventures, amalgamating three significant industry domains. The first is the most comprehensive, SaaS HR Tech platform across Asia & GCC encompassing everything from ‘hire to retire’. Used by 2M+ employees, it is voted as Customers' Choice in Gartner Peer Insights 'Voice of the Customer' Report consecutively for two years (2022 & 2023) in the enterprise segment.

In the Indian market, Taggd has firmly established itself as the leader in Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO). Notably, each of these businesses is helmed by accomplished CEOs, with Sandeep Chaudhary leading PeopleStrong and Devashish Sharma heading Taggd

Wheebox, as an entity, that houses two platforms that have attained self-sufficiency and profitability. With the recent acquisition of Wheebox, our leadership's determination to pursue global expansion has only grown stronger. To realize this vision, we remain committed to exploring global partnerships that will contribute to the growth of PeopleStrong and Taggd.

Q. PeopleStrong (PS) has experienced substantial growth over the past two financial years. What is the revenue for the current year (FY 2023), and do you have projections for the upcoming years? 

PeopleStrong is presently on an upward trajectory, with a trending revenue of approximately INR 300 crores, and this figure continues to demonstrate consistent growth. Our Annual Recurring Revenue (ARR) exceeds this amount significantly, and we anticipate that both of our businesses will continue to grow at a rate of approximately 50%.

Our unwavering dedication remains centered on building SaaS products that simplify work life for employees & HR equally, underscoring our commitment to maintaining a strong presence in these sectors.

Q. In this evolving landscape, what are other areas of the employee lifecycle that PeopleStrong wants to focus on with new technologies?

PeopleStrong is the most comprehensive HR Tech platform in the enterprise segment today. Top brands like Flydubai, Oman Air, Axiom Telecom, Paytm, Kotak Mahindra Bank, Aditya Birla Capital, etc. across Asia & GCC partner with us to elevate their EX (employee experience). It is probably the sole prominent HR tech player that possesses its own payroll engine, learning and development resources, and collaboration platform.

As we look towards the future, our foremost investment focus is on generative AI, where we foresee substantial growth. Additionally, we are placing significant emphasis on job tech, says Pankaj

Job tech is currently undergoing a thorough reinvention. Although its potential is vast, job tech is not yet a substantial category within the Indian market. The investment in this sector has yet to match its potential. However, we maintain a positive outlook, expecting SaaS to unlock the untapped potential of job tech within the HR tech domain. 

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Topics: Business, HR Technology, #MergersAndAcquisitions, #HRTech

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