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Listen in: Livelihood seekers and providers now have a solution

For this inside story, we sat down to discuss with Sridhar Seshadri, Founder and CEO of Jeevitam, an award-winning, disruptive and game-changing technology platform that is promising to change the livelihood ecosystem. Mr Seshadri was eloquent and touched upon various aspects of Jeevitam and we came away with some exciting food for thought which we are sure, our readers will find enjoyable, insightful and inspirational. Read on.

Jeevitam was conceived around 2018-2019 but was officially a company in 2019. Three passionate, ambitious and committed friends, Sridhar Seshadri, Munish Chawla and Vikas Jain, business partners prior to Jeevitam, got the idea from one of their earlier ventures which actually provided them with the fuel and the idea for Jeevitam. They saw the huge gap that existed in the blue/grey/ white collar livelihood segment and so it was a natural segue to Jeevitam in a sense and after a lot of brainstorming and ideating, the 3 came together and decided to start a venture that would be India’s go-to platform for livelihood.

An engineer by qualification, Sridhar worked in Google and ICICI among other corporates before venturing on his own. The co-founders and partners, Munish Chawla and Vikas Jain, also brought their years of experience having worked with ICICI and Citibank and other leading companies.

The name Jeevitam in Sanskrit means life and what better name to welcome the millions from the unorganised sector to join the workforce that could transform their lives! Jeevitam has only one focus: to redefine the perception of people towards employment and sustainable livelihood

“During our discussions with our friends and network we realised that hiring people for jobs from the unorganised sector in the informal category was difficult. There seemed to be no formal platform that we could go to, to hire people, quickly and easily,” Says Sridhar.

Be it their team, their clients, or their stakeholders, everyone believes in Jeevitam’s vision. What is their vision? It’s simple yet powerful: to be the Google of livelihood, the Amazon of earning.

Every initiative, hire or product development decision is driven by this one vision and propelled by one simple question: will this decision move Jeevitam closer to its stated objectives? While the company hires from India’s premier institutes such as IIMs and IITs, the underlying decision-making question is, do these young aspirants have the belief, and the fire in their belly to go out and change the world with, by and for Jeevitam? Because at Jeevitam, focus and faith are integral to what they do as a team.

Firstly, Jeevitam is an audio-technology driven solution that is available to Indians in 21 Indian languages. The sector that Jeevitam has been designed for does not necessarily have 5G bandwidth or expensive smartphones like the millions residing in urban cities in India.

Jeevitam provides easy access without going through an App Store, downloading an app, and trying to understand what to do next. While Jeevitam does have an app, its easy registration process through simple step-by-step instructions that one can hear in the language of their choice makes it convenient, real and lowers the barrier for work seekers.

Secondly, work providers find Jeevitam to be the perfect bridge, solving for hire, today. With the Artificial Intelligence data algorithms, organisations seeking to recruit are able to get matched profiles that are curated, validated and relevant. For organisations seeking to hire large numbers, Jeevitam is its foot solider on the ground, with deep outreach and proves to be a cost-effective and time-saving solution, since sourcing
profiles from a rich 16 million database is far more effective than outsourcing to staffing agencies.

Jeevitam partners with a large number of CSR arms of organisations and works with them to provide young, skilled but inexperienced people, suitable work opportunities.

A large portfolio of clients in Banking, Finance, Insurance and startups, just goes to show that if you go where the opportunities lie and providing a solution, people will adapt and adopt.

The culture of a company shapes the organisation. A sensitive, empathetic and people-centric work culture always helps any organisation stay the course and achieve tremendous success. Jeevitam believes in this precept and encourages independent thinking, decision-making and team spirit.

“We do not curb ideas from whichever quarter it comes, and no idea is small. Even if it’s as simple as creating a Google Form, or ideas on tech and product improvement, every team member has the freedom to make suggestions,” adds Shridhar.

Covid-19 has disrupted normal life as we know it. Organisations have been compelled to rewrite the rules of work overnight. However, for startups like Jeevitam, this is just one more challenge that is part of the ongoing journey. Keeping your team motivated and working remotely, meant that the utilisation of digital enablers for collaboration and communication was optimised, which also led to a lot of bonding and camaraderie beyond just work-related discussions and meetings.

Fun Fridays over calls, homedelivered pizzas and biryanis, birthday celebrations over Zoom, surprise games and laughter, besides the regular dayto-day operations have ensured that Jeevitam’s family of employees continue to remain inspired and committed to their goals. Also, when any of the team members or their respective family members were diagnosed with Covid-19, Jeevitam focused on the wellbeing of the employee and did not institute salary cuts or leave cuts, which only brought everyone closer together and instilled a sense of kinship.

“Challenges are part and parcel of life and it’s no different in the life of a start-up and its team” Adds Sridhar

There will always be Catch-22 questions such as— revenue growth vs marketing budgets, hiring vs investment in technology and so on. And though decision-making is hard, it is easy when you’re guided by your unshakeable belief in the founding principle of the company. All the founders of Jeevitam are unwavering in their mission which propels them to make sometimes difficult decisions, prioritising different aspects as required.

“I do believe that entrepreneurship is a team sport and being decisive, assertive and yet taking people along with decisions is what has helped Jeevitam grow and establish itself as India’s premier livelihoods solutions platform,” commented Sridhar.

Jeevitam works with several CSR departments of large companies such as IBM SkillsBuild or Deshpande Foundation. When you reflect upon what Jeevitam is trying to do, you realise that Jeevitam can in fact be considered a social impact cause, as it deals with one of the most basic things required for the wellbeing of human lives – livelihood.

For more than a year now, Jeevitam has been conducting Virtual Work Fairs addressing different sectors including Startups, MSMEs, BFSI, Rural, and women empowerment which are 100% free for work seekers as there is zero registration cost and no hidden commissions, and the same holds true for companies leveraging Jeevitam’s platform to serve their hiring needs. With more than 30,000 calls per day, and as many as 18,000 pin codes covered in India, Jeevitam has helped provide gainful employment to thousands in the last 8-9 months.

It is no surprise that Jeevitam is being hailed as the Tech Startup of the Year, given its path-breaking idea and its mission to achieve #MissionLivelihoodforAll. This has been vindicated by the several accolades that have recognised Jeevitam’s goal including being declared as the “Emerging Company of the Year 2021” award by Indian Achievers Forum, and winning the Silver for Tech Startup of the Year 2021 at the internationally acclaimed Stevie awards, beating over 2000 applicants.

Today, more than ever, the question of livelihood and meaningful work is the moot question for everyone as we all grapple with the future of work in an unpredictable and volatile world. But Jeevitam seems relentless in its mission to change the conversation around livelihood and make it available for all

“For each of us, our paths are different. Perhaps the one binding factor for most entrepreneurs is the belief in their idea and the faith to see it through. If you’re setting out to be an entrepreneur, remember it’s lonely and hard. Be pragmatic, and don’t feel ashamed of failing, but at the same time, like Steve Jobs said, stay hungry and stay foolish.” -Sridhar Seshadri, Founder and CEO.

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