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‘Artificial Intelligence and analytics are the driving factors in HR Technology world’- Arjun Pratap, Founder and CEO, EdGE Networks

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“Today, there is a shift in focus from a system of automation and record to system of engagement. This has resulted in the genesis of People Management systems which are employee-centric with focus on empowerment, learning, retention, outcome. Hence HR is looking for solutions that build engagement and not just those that are easy to integrate, as it was a few years ago. HR Technology industry has evolved to cater to this need. It has experienced growth and consolidation every time there is wave of innovation. Today, Artificial Intelligence and analytics are the driving factors in HR Technology world with cloud and social becoming a hygiene factor.” Arjun Pratap,
Founder and CEO, EdGE Networks.





Arjun Pratap-Founder & CEO, EdGE Networks
EdGE Networks was founded in 2012. We are a next-gen HR technology solutions provider, offering solutions to large organizations for their most pressing HR challenges. Our strength is in harnessing Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Data Science to solve the toughest talent acquisition and workforce optimization challenges faced by organizations.

In an exclusive interview with Startup Terminal; Arjun Pratap, Founder and CEO, EdGE Networks shares more insights about his venture and future goals.

Excerpts
ST:
What inspired you to make your mark in the field of entrepreneurship? 

Arjun
Pratap:
A huge
portion of my career has been associated with startups and entrepreneurs. In
fact, my first stint as an employee was with a startup in Australia, to which I
owe my DNA in entrepreneurship.

I’ve always wanted to start
something on my own and the issue of skilling youth was what stirred me the
most. I started my entrepreneurial journey with a digital learning platform,
aimed at creating a more industry-ready youth population, that would enable our
country to leverage the demographic dividend. However, challenges along the way
made me change direction and look at the problem statement differently. 

It was during my first
venture that I realized the scope and need for next gen HR technology solutions
– and how it would help organizations build future ready workforces.  And this led to the start of my next venture.

This venture was built on the
premise of a powerful search and match and how that could alleviate search
friction for people and jobs using technology. We started with resumes and job descriptions
being the start point and our ability to build technology to read and match the
two like a fantastic hiring manager. This led to building an HR technology
platform, backed by Artificial Intelligence, Data Science, Analytics and
Machine Learning that would enable workforce transformation.





ST:
When did you start your venture? Please tell us more about your venture.

Arjun
Pratap:
EdGE Networks
was founded in 2012. We are a next-gen HR technology solutions provider,
offering solutions to large organizations for their most pressing HR
challenges. Our strength is in harnessing Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Data
Science to solve the toughest talent acquisition and workforce optimization
challenges faced by organizations.

Our unique value proposition to clients is that we
use Natural Language Processing (NLP) Algorithms with a Data Science and AI
based approach to analyze job descriptions and profiles/resumes, and provide a
scored and stack ranked set of people for the job in question. This is further
bolstered with our ability to do this for an internal workforce and to acquire
talent from portals. Done using advanced technology with minimum human
intervention – the disruption we create is the value of time and accuracy, delivered
consistently.
While our product and solutions are based on some
of the most cutting-edge technologies, we have also worked towards creating a
responsible and agile organization that is ready to partner with customers to
build game changing HR tech solutions.
Our key distinctive offerings include the following:
HIREalchemy is our innovative Talent Acquisition Product that enables the search,
rank and recruitment of talent with amazing ease and accuracy.
Our Talent Analytics Suite helps in predicting attrition,
forecasting resource demand and more – enabling fact-based decision making
across the HR value chain.
Our Workforce Optimization Solution forms the intelligence layer on
top of HR systems and helps effective organization building.
ST:
What business opportunities do you see particularly in your sector?

Arjun
Pratap:
HR Technology
market, the one we operate in, is worth USD 15 billion. The industry is
undergoing a disruptive change owing to digital technologies and the millennial
workforce. The industry comprises of multiple segments: Talent Management
Tools, Recruitment Platforms, Application Tracking Systems, Learning Management
Systems, Engagement Platforms, etc.

Today, there
is a shift in focus from a system of automation and record to system of
engagement. This has resulted in the genesis of People Management systems which
are employee-centric with focus on empowerment, learning, retention, outcome.
Hence HR is looking for solutions that build engagement and not just those that
are easy to integrate, as it was a few years ago. HR Technology industry has
evolved to cater to this need. It has experienced growth and consolidation
every time there is wave of innovation. Today, Artificial Intelligence and
analytics are the driving factors in HR Technology world with cloud and social
becoming a hygiene factor.

AI is a force
that will drive the new employment economy. From talent acquisition and
workforce optimization to workforce transformation, AI will act as a strategic
enabler to HR and get them a seat at the strategy table. Attached is an
infographic that depicts the transformation in a CHRO’s role and in turn the HR
function.





ST:
How has been your entrepreneurship journey so far? 

Arjun
Pratap:
This has been a great
journey so far – full of great learning, people, and experiences.

From the start,
our strength is in harnessing data science and AI to solve HR’s toughest Talent
Acquisition and Workforce Optimization challenges. Our GPU-accelerated machine
learning based platform provides outstanding speed and accuracy benefits. What
attracts large HR related firms to collaborate with us is our ability to act as
an intelligence layer on top of their existing solution/service.
The intelligence for the
search & match comes from EdGE Graph – a repository of 800K connected nodes
built from 4 MN JDs and 20 MN profiles.

We have grown steadily
since our inception in 2012.
Having established a strong base in the Indian market
with 2 of the Top 5 Indian IT firms and Top 10 global IT firm as our clients,
we have forayed into NA and UK market. We have stationed sales representatives
in each of these markets. As part of our GTM strategy, we have built an
ecosystem of partners that complements our solution.

We believe in
‘Design Thinking’ principle of innovation where we have ‘People’ at the heart
of everything we do. We espouse a human-centered, creative, iterative, and
practical approach to finding the best ideas and ultimate solutions to most
pressing of business problems. All this, with the goal of impacting the balance
sheet of our customers – an impact at a strategic level. While there is uniqueness
in every feature of our product and solution, be it in the underlying
technology, process, UI/UX or the feature itself, here are some examples of
innovative product features that we have implemented and received global
recognition for.

All of this has
culminated in some prestigious and notable market validations through award
wins. We recently won the UK’s India Emerging Twenty (IE20) Awards 2017 created
by London & Partners and launched by the Mayor of London. IE20 has
identified EdGE as one the top 20 high-growth companies in India with huge
potential to scale globally.

In the past few
months, we have also received awards and
including the Technology Fast 50 India 2016 awards
by Deloitte and MIDAS 2016, NASSCOM Emerge 2016 Awards in its list of top 50
emerging startups in India (featured among the “League of 10”), Best Show Award
at NVDIA GTCx – India 2016.
ST:
As an entrepreneur, what challenges do you face in your day to day professional
life, if any?

Arjun Pratap: Scaling a
business is an area of challenge for most startups founders. With scale comes
product decisions, team size, quality and timing decisions and more. Fortunately
for me, I have a talented and professional team who I include in my decision
making and working through problems.
ST:
How big is your team? Are you planning to hire more?

Arjun Pratap: Currently, we
are a team of 67 and counting. At EdGE, we have Product Management, UI/UX,
Devops, Sales and Marketing, Customer Success Management, Analytics and Testing
functions as distinct contributors – with finance and HR to power us. We are
also fortunate to have a stellar team of data scientists, full stack engineers
and super sales representatives to engage with product and customers to build
that dream team.
We also have EdGE Labs where we unlock data science
secrets – make sense of emerging patterns and trends – in order to innovate and
help our customers make strategic and informed decisions.
ST:
What are your future plans? 

Arjun Pratap: The next few years
will be very exciting in our journey as we plan to enter different domains, geographies
and partnerships. We believe we have a terrific opportunity to build the
intelligence layer across legacy HR systems that can’t be replaced. Also, to
replace systems that have workflows that are soon being built with a better
experience across our platform; these could be the HCMs and the ATS’ of the
world. We are also working on a stream of super innovations that will
strengthen our offerings to clients and impact customers’ business outcomes. We
have recently won the Deloitte-MIDAS award 2016 and the India Emerging Twenty
(IE20) Awards 2017 by London & Partners. This will facilitate our entry
into the UK in the next 6 months. Also, we have been selected into the Google
Launchpad Accelerator (batch 4) program and via this prestigious program we are
expecting to make a mark in the USA too.

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