What does it take to successfully build HR tech solutions that improve people's productivity, experience, and engagement? For Sajith Pai, Venture Capitalist with Blume Ventures, it is identifying those critical pain points that HR leaders face today and tuning solutions to solving them. People Matters sat with the experienced venture capitalist and a People Matters TechHR India 2023 Startup Mentor to understand more about his vision and approach to invest in the HR tech startups of tomorrow.
Below are a few excerpts from the conversation:
What has been your guiding vision and principle behind your advent into investing and supporting startups and young entrepreneurs finding their way to success?
At Blume, our vision is to be the leading venture platform that sources, funds, nurtures and creates value for India's brightest young startups. Beyond the capital that we provide, to our founders, they also have on-demand counsel and support, via access to our services partners Constellation Blu (financial and legal advisory-cum-compliance), MetaMorph (recruitment), as well as our in-house resources providing access to growth capital, sales and strategic partnerships and community. But beyond capital and counsel, we also provide conviction, sticking and standing by our founders through all the winding paths they take to achieve scale and success.
What are some crucial aspects you assess when identifying startups within the people and work landscape and investing in their journeys?
As with all startups we assess, we primarily look at the pain or problem (and the resultant market opportunity), the product or solution, and finally the people or team (here we look at the founder-problem fit and experience). It is no different for HR Tech (people and work) startups; that said we do look specifically for experience with the space and a deep understanding of the dynamics of the sector, and experience with the business models that have worked in the space.
How critical economic and behavioural factors for HR tech startups prioritise them today to serve the community better and enable business success?
As I said earlier, its imperative for startups to have a robust experience with the space and a deep understanding of the dynamics of the sector, and experience with the business models that have worked in the space.
Today all startups (and even HRTech startups) are attempting to solve a deep customer pain or create a product that yields customer delight. Sometimes these startups (incl HRTech startups) look to take advantage of technological or regulatory changes that are underway which imply an inflexion point for the opportunity.
How do you see the people and work landscape evolving in the coming years? What would be your advice to entrepreneurs and CEOs who are part of the Tech HR 2023 Startup Program to be able to scale fast and sustain success?
Today more and more companies are understanding that people are a critical resource and are looking to invest in technologies and business models that help them serve these human resources or help them leverage this better. The rise of Generative AI and technologies that could potentially replace or amplify human talent also creates an urgency for HRTech investments in retraining or redeploying resources, and hence creates an opportunity for HRTech startups.
For CEOs and entrepreneurs, focusing on the deep and vital pain points in the lives of HR leaders is necessary. Only then can they create a compelling product that addresses the right problem. Strive for being frugal till you hit product market fit, and then focus on scaling.
With the vision and wish to fund and nurture India’s brightest young startups, Sajith Pai will be among the team of mentors at Asia’s largest confluence of startups, VCs, investors and work tech enthusiasts, People Matters Startup Program. So, get ready to pitch a compelling product that addresses the problems in the lives of HRtech leaders and find potential investors and customers.