Indorse is a blockchain startup wants to help you hire the best developers by validating their skillsets
I have written about Indorse a few times before. Awhile back, they were selling smart contracts as Attores. Then they raised a US$9 million ICO. Heck, I even met them in the early days of two people sitting around a desk hoping their idea would turn into a company.
And yet, I have never written about Indorse.
Over the past few years, the term ‘pivot’ has turned into a vulgarity. It is overused in the media, PR speak and advertising to describe a strategic shift that does not qualify as a pivot. If a media company decides to shift focus from pop culture to politics, that is not a pivot. Just because we use the word, it does not make it true. They are still a media company.
What Indorse went through over the past year is a true blue pivot. They transformed from smart contracts to social media before finally finding traction as a resume verification company. They want to endorse (Indorse) developers.
In a conversation with e27, Co-founder and CEO Gaurang Torvekar explained that the smart contract business was transforming into a consultancy firm, which is not the direction he wanted for the company.
“When we had to work with companies or government agencies we had to go through the entire tender process, and hence it was not a scaleable model. That is why it was hard to raise VC money with that model,” he said.
Now, the team believes they have direction, which is creating a sense of optimism because they can focus on other tasks like perfecting the product and growing.
“Blockchain is a solution in search of a problem. We had a great solution, but finding a product-market fit was a big problem for us. Solving a real problem. We have a product market fit. So now it’s about growing the company,” said Torvekar.
In the world of hiring coders, one of the biggest challenges is finding people who can actually perform at a satisfactory level. It very easily to write, ‘I code python” on a resume. While technically it is probably true, is it good enough to perform the job?
To combat this, most tech companies have a fairly stringent testing infrastructure to make sure they hire the correct person. But what if they could filter out the unqualified candidates before even beginning the test? That would save a lot of time, and of course money, for companies.
This is where Indorse wants to provide a solution. It would both validate their skills — helping them stand out from the crowd — while simultaneously assisting hiring managers searching for professional developers.
Plus, the code is given a Grab-style rating based on certain parameters like quality, design patterns and test coverage. The experts (Indorsers) also provide comments and insights based on the code. These comments are really valuable to HR people.
An interesting decision made by Indorse is to target job boards as their main customer. What will happen is a job board will send a bunch of developers to Indorse to go through the validation process. Once they have passed (or failed) the test, their profile will recognise their ‘Indorsement’.
Once endorsed, those developers are then free to apply to certain jobs. The job boards will be paying for this service.
In the revenue model, the blockchain is used for two reasons.
First, it provides transparency to the job boards as they can verify the endorsements. The term immutable ledger is often thrown around by blockchain companies, but this is a true test-case. Once endorsed, the verification is permanent, and unique to the individual.
More interestingly though is the blockchain allows for incentivisation to the people in charge of verifying the developers. The company gives tokens to people who are pushing out endorsements and Torvekar said their top person made US$1,000 worth of crypto per month.
He also said they are willing to pay in fiat currency if the person is not interested in earning crypto.
That being said, after 2018, a lot of blockchain companies are navigating a new reality.
Co-founder and CMO Avadhoot Kulkarni describes last year as a market “implosion” that tested the viability of companies across the blockchain universe. He thinks it means the quality companies are left standing and the next couple of years will see the “real blockchain” start to materialise.
“Perhaps that promise from 2017/18 will start to gain some results. Not the investment or anything, but real products like us. It took us awhile to have the actual business model to support the blockchain case, but now that we have figured it out we have a path forward,” he said.
Kulkarni said that with more stable solutions hitting the market, the next step is focussing on scalability. This is the focus for Indorse over the next year.
They are hoping to raise a Series B (they previously raised from the London-based VC Coinsilium). The team also has their eye on expansion, specifically into the UK, Europe and India.
After a year of trying to find a revenue model, Indorse seems to have figured it out and now can look towards the horizon.
As the saying go, “without rain, we would never value the warmth of the sun”. 2018 was an uncertain year for Indorse, but they survived and appear to have direction and focus for 2019.
“The best thing we have done so far is we haven’t given up. That [sounds like] fluff, but it’s not easy. Every day, every hour, you face challenges…If you just keep showing up, you will get there,” said Kulkarni.
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