Re-imagining the IT freelance job market

Kamalendu Singh talks about starting NearLancer, a HOT 100: Race to Grace winner, that helps IT companies find and hire freelancers in 60 seconds. By Shweta Gandhi

Developed by Kamalendu Singh and Amod Singh in 2015, NearLancer is website and app that aims to help the IT industry around the world find smart, reliable freelancers for creative or technical work from among a ready pool of candidates.

In 2005, Kamalendu, who had just finished his engineering in IT, founded Parth Infosystems Pvt Ltd where he helped clients across the globe with their IT needs. “Soon, the demand for resources and IT services increased in India, and it became especially difficult to find people based in Gurgaon, NCR and Delhi. That’s when Amod and I decided to fill the gap in the market with freelancers from around the country,” says Kamalendu. In 2015, they first started with a website, and then launched an Android app in November-December as nowadays all resources are mobile-based. “In the next four-five years, there are going to be enough opportunities but not enough resources available, and that’s where NearLancer will prove beneficial to employers,” says Kamalendu.

Understanding how it works
NearLancer’s main focus is to make it easier for freelancers to find work while on the go. The app is free to download; freelancers need to sign up, create a profile and upload relevant documents. Once their registration has been approved, all they need to do is switch on the app to get work allotted. Once the job is finished, they can raise an invoice within the app itself.

“Currently, we are on the level 2 of our app—readying it so that employers can use it too,” says Kamalendu. The app promises employers a pool of IT freelancers from which they can hire a candidate matching their profile within 60 seconds. For this, the duo utilise various tools and keep experimenting and adding the latest technology so that the process of filtering and validating the resources becomes fast and easy. “We cater to a global market,” he says. “Pushing hiring onto a mobile interface requires us to keep the back end and dashboard open on the Web as the data is quite large.”

Counting the numbers
The two have a team of ten behind them, assisting them in the operations. “With the kind of traction we are garnering, we are looking to convert our business model into a subscription-based one,” says Kamalendu, who right now earns 10 per cent commission off the fees employers pay freelancers. He hints at expecting revenue of Rs 2,00,000 within the next quarter.

The app has seen more than 5,000 downloads till date; while the website and app together boast of more than 10,000 registered freelancers from 14-15 countries. NearLancer uses different channels to market itself including social media and engaging in partnerships and participating in events and competitions. It has more than 8,000 followers on LinkedIn. “We use technology and engineer tools for marketing,” says Kamalendu, and this way they don’t have to spend money on marketing the app.

The app is witnessing a growth of 200 per cent month-on-month, and if they score angel funding Kamalendu is looking at having two crore freelancers registered on the platform in the next 18 months. “If not, we aim to get at least 15-20 lakh freelancers,” he says. “We are the first global mobile platform that deals with the hiring needs of professional freelancers, and our biggest challenge, apart from capital, has been developing an easy-to-use app for a market that is underdeveloped in India,” says Kamalendu. So far, 20 companies have signed up, some of which are based in NCR, Bangalore, the UK and the US. “Around 120 freelancers are getting jobs right now,” says Kamalendu.

Planning for tomorrow
“We will be fully engaged with branding and marketing ourselves for the next three-six months. We need to expand our reach,” Kamalendu says. “We are just finalising our plans for the iOS app, and we may launch it simultaneously with level 3 of the Android app (which will be for recruiters and consultants).” In the future, Kamalendu and Amod also plan to share some of the commission they earn with freelancers in the form of health and insurance benefits. “This is to ensure that freelancers, like working mothers and the disabled, have some safety while they work.” 

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