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Why these serial entrepreneurs chose to found a startup in the talent and recruitment space

With 15 years of experience, serial entrepreneurs Vikram Ahuja and Ashwin Kasturirangan had found a gap in the recruitment industry. Vikram had earlier founded Byond Travel and has been a partner at the accelerator Kyron. On the other hand, Ashwin had founded Gadzet, before joining Ansr

They realised there was a burgeoning problem when it came to hiring for senior and leadership roles.

“As entrepreneurs who have built and grown our own teams, we have faced this challenge of hiring top talent within our teams,” explains Vikram. This led them to start Talent500 in Bengaluru in 2018. 

A part of the larger recruitment firm Ansr, Talent500’s vision is to help the top 10 percent of the talent discover ways to accelerate their careers, simplify the process of talent acquisition and make the career growth fair and faster, for both talent and enterprises. 

The platform curates exclusive opportunities from leading Fortune 500 companies and global industry leaders, which offer higher-than-market compensation and provide access to the latest technologies. 

What does it do?

“Our AI-enabled matching service and suite of dynamic assessments allow talent to present their skills fairly and transparently, thereby ensuring a faster and more efficient matching process for recruiters. Through, ‘Talent-as-a-Service’ we help enterprises access workforce-on-demand and provide talent with the opportunity to work on exciting opportunities with the freedom of being a gig-worker,” Vikram tells YourStory

Talent500 is a privately held company with about 60+ employees. In early 2020, the team acquired an AI and data science company called FastNext (founded by Akhyansh Mohapatra, Naveen Benny, and Girish Kumar) and is incubated by CoffeeBeans. The three founders and FastNext team are now a part of Talent500. 

“We’re trying to disrupt an incredibly competitive industry and one which has functioned in a very standard manner over the years. The challenge here is changing the mindset of customers and building trust, while continuing to be innovative. Our track record and ANSR legacy has made this easier,” adds Vikram. 

He explains that Talent500 is an accelerator for the top 10 percent of the talent.

Vikram Ahuja

Vikram Ahuja

Its offerings 

The platform offers:


  • Curated Marketplace for opportunities and jobs sourced from some of the world’s leading companies.


  • Career Accelerator provides insights, experiences, masterclasses, mentoring from industry experts and leaders, and enables fast-tracked recruiting.

The application process encourages candidates to create 360-degree profiles that cover external and validated assessments to map skills; video CVs, which have become especially crucial post-COVID-19; and auto-mapping skills and detailed experiences concerning what specific jobs need via Talent500’s proprietary AI-engine. 

For enterprises, Talent500’s platform offers a workflow automation tool called Canvas that allows: 

  • Offline and online multi-channel sourcing: from the proprietary talent pool to third-party job boards and passive sources like LinkedIn. 
  • AI-based matching: It identifies candidates who are best-fit for jobs based on hundreds of parameters from our years of experience of understanding “ideal profiles”. The startup says that the tool currently shows 80 percent accuracy.

Workflow automation maps each part of the candidate’s journey, resulting in 40 percent faster time-to-hire.

“We have recently launched Talent-as-a-Service (TaaS) model. It is a flexible workforce model that allows enterprises to access high-quality talent on-demand, allowing teams to scale quickly with proven resources from anywhere in the world. The TaaS model benefits skilled talent as they have access to more opportunities, enabling them to work with multiple, high-quality employers on a project-basis,” adds Vikram. 



Market and differentiator 

The global HR technology market is poised to be worth $34 billion by the end of 2021. According to an IBEF report, almost $3.6 billion worth of that business is expected to come from Asia, including India. 

Some of the players in the field include, ZingHR, DarwinBox, greytHR, and others. 

“Our biggest differentiation includes our ability to curate opportunities from the world’s top companies and insights, mentoring from industry leaders through the candidate’s career journey. We help candidates best represent themselves via 360-degree profiles, including validated assessments and video profiles, and fast-track their recruiting journey,” says Vikram. 

He adds under the hood, their proprietary AI analyses hundreds of parameters concerning skills, experiences, and participation in past jobs to drive the best-fit match between candidates and companies. 

“Having built these models over millions of data points from our 15 years of experience building remote teams, we use this to drive better conversion and faster hiring through our funnels,” says Vikram. 

The model is free for candidates. For enterprises, the team provides free access to list curated jobs on the marketplace but thereafter, the team offers multiple revenue models, including a simple subscription-based model for enterprises to build a talent-acquisition engine at scale. The team has refused to share the revenue or subscription costs. 

Talent500 is also partnering with education and upskilling platforms to launch upskilling programmes for experienced professionals around tech skills, leadership, collaboration, and more to get them ready to work in globally distributed environments.

“We are excited about bringing the world’s best companies to India and helping Indian talent access opportunities to do incredible work. We have an incredibly strong pipeline around fast-growth startups and SMEs looking to work with us. We hope to further refine our AI to make the process simpler and more transparent for both candidates and enterprises,” Vikram signs off. 

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