MyEasyDocs brings together a network of document issuing organizations to share digital documents with relying parties - Thomas Tharakan, Co-Founder and CFO, Tharakan Web Innovations
Background, Check, Verification, HR, Ecosystem
What do you do when you need to authenticate your college certificates? Apart from the mandatory trips to the university, dealing with slow moving administration departments, expensive fees, lost time and energy, the whole experience could leave you frustrated. This is an experience that co-founders Avira Tharakan, Thomas Tharakan and Shameem Jaleel are intimately familiar with. As a team of trained Chartered Accountants and a telecom professional, they understood the difficulties associated with authenticating and verifying physical documents and decided to start an online verification platform. The product went on to win the award for Futurism in Recruitment category at the second edition of the Spotlight Awards held in a glittering ceremony at TechHR 2015.
The idea of an online verification platform came when a customer at ICICI Bank, asked Avira – then a regional manager with the bank, as to why it was not possible to submit documents online. Soon after in 2010, he quit his job and with the help of family and friends set up MyEasyDocs. It was incubated at IIT Madras Research Park in June 2010 with an initial corpus of Rs. 50 Lakh. Envisioned as a web platform, it uses a SAAS model for e-submitting and e-sharing authenticated documents.
The road to a fully-fledged business however was not rosy, the biggest road block was onboarding customers, “it took nearly two years to get the first customer” says Thomas. Only when customers had issues with paper document verification were they introduced to the application, where the “burden to draft, print, review and approve were made easy by a few clicks”. Things changed in the summer of 2012, when a premier college joined hands with the company, which led to a chain reaction. At the end of three years, there were 185 leading institutions accounting for eight million students, which joined the company. A further catalyst was when the largest visa processing office signed an agreement in December 2014.
The tool: MyEasyDocs.com
MyEasyDocs is not a background screening company. It is a platform provider that brings together a network of document issuing organizations such as universities, banks and corporates to share digital documents with relying parties such as visa offices or corporates. Such sharing is instituted after receiving the consent of the document owner, namely a student or employee.
Students have shared documents using the platform to more than 100 universities in the US. Some of the clients of the directverify services, a part of the MyEasyDocs platform include Embassy of Saudi Arabia and Ministry of Manpower, Singapore.
In FY 2014-2015, the company posted a turnover of over 1.4 crores. It collects a fee from each verification request raised by a user using a payment gateway. The fee is then shared with the verifier after reducing myeasydocs.com mark up of about 40 per cent to 50 per cent. Currently, the company charges Rs 1500 for state universities and Rs 800 for colleges, out of which Rs 500 and Rs 300 go tothe college and myeasydocs.com respectively.
A key learning for co-founder Thomas Tharakan through the early days of MyEasyDocs was hiring the right people. “There is a big difference between working for a faceless corporation and working for a small business,” says Thomas. “We have the opportunity to create a great company that people want to work for.” One way we keep employees happy is to let them come up with new ideas, give them a voice and listen to them, he notes.
HR ecosystem and the future
On the emerging HR technology space in India, Thomas believes that streamlining and automating the entire HR process can leverage the headcount required in HR. His advice to entrepreneurs with great ideas is to check for “positive feedback, suggestions and collaborations to ensure their solution reaches the right audience.”
Pioneering the idea places MyEasyDocs as the largest online network which connects verifiers, relying parties and users. The company plans to scale their commercialization and overseas plans and are seeking equity funding of US $ 5 million. The cloud has ensured that scaling technology can be done instantaneously. However, in order to increase the verifier base “we will have to add on a massive sales force in India and abroad,” says Thomas. He adds by saying that “the vision of an efficient, fraud free electronic document verification system can be achieved when the system becomes a truly universal platform.”