Recruitment is a big business and Giraffe has revolutionised the way jobs are sourced and opportunities made available via the mobile phone. Shivdasani discusses how his Johannesburg-based start-up, Giraffe, aims to address SA's high unemployment rate by linking job seekers with employment opportunities, and to help employers recruit the most suitable staff, quickly, and at a low cost.
This relatively small start-up made the news in 2015 first for the major uptake of nearly 10 000 job-seeker registrations for its recruitment services in just two months, followed by winning top South African start-up by Seedstars World 2015 – a global seed-stage start-up competition for emerging markets. Shivdasani will elaborate on how Giraffe did this, what it has accomplished to date, and where to from here.
ITWeb Events: What is a disruptor in your opinion?
Shivdasani: The word ‘disruption' has become overused recently. Everyone is claiming to be a disruptor of something or the other. A true disruptor, in my opinion, is one that reinvents an entire industry in a manner that frightens incumbents. Someone that not only challenges the status quo and established norms within an industry, but builds an alternate version of reality within that industry.
ITWeb Events: As a disruptor in the recruitment market, can you tell us a little bit more about what you did, why you did it, how you did it?
Shivdasani: Giraffe has effectively created an automated mobile recruitment service that helps businesses recruit medium-skilled staff faster and more affordably than any other way, and gives jobseekers access to opportunities for free.
Recruitment is a major pain for all businesses, which spend an inordinate amount of time and money to get the right people. Similarly, jobseekers face major challenges to find work, with access being a key problem. Giraffe's solution is to use the ubiquity of mobile, as well as advances in cloud and algorithms to automate the entire recruitment process. We are doing this because we believe that reducing unemployment and helping businesses with the right talent are both key to driving economic growth in South Africa.
ITWeb Events: Why are disruptors considered to be a threat to incumbent business? What in your opinion should they be doing to stay in the game?
Shivdasani: They are often considered a threat because they enter the market with innovative solutions that are extremely competitive to incumbent offerings.
Disruptors do not suffer from the bureaucracy and inertia that paralyses incumbents and stifles innovation.
To stay in the game incumbents need to continue innovating and challenging themselves. They should also proactively monitor the activity of would-be disruptors and leverage their ability to make acquisitions where relevant.
ITWeb Events: What do you see as the biggest drivers/motivators of change in the next five years?
Shivdasani: This is a broad question, and it depends on which specific field you are talking about.
However, I would say that one of the biggest drivers is the growing availability and granularity of personalised data, and the ability to interrogate and derive insight from it. The ability to acquire and manage data will enable companies to acquire more customers, personalise value propositions and create more value.
ITWeb Events: Why did you say yes to presenting at the upcoming Digital Economy Summit? What is it that you bring to the table and what do you want attendees to take away with them after your presentation?
Shivdasani: This is an important discussion and critical for South African businesses to ensure they continue to drive the economy and become globally competitive where relevant. We bring the tech start-up perspective – with all its challenges and opportunities – to the table, and would like to provoke attendees to question the fundamentals of the way they are doing business.