Online furniture store Urban Ladder is planning a three-fold increase in headcount this calendar year as it looks to hire experienced professionals in technology, operations and logistics domains. Having raised $20 million in a Series B funding last month, the e-tailer is likely to get on board furniture designers from Europe, besides Harvard and Stanford graduates.
Apart from adding 300 professionals to its 150-strong workforce, the e-tailer will invest in packaging improvements to reduce damages in transit. Plans are afoot to use GPS devices and RFID tags to keep track of the orders, co-founder Rajiv Srivatsa said.
In a big push to its growth plans —becoming a R500-crore company by 2016 — Urban Ladder will embark on an extensive campus recruitment drive next fiscal, hiring engineering and design students from the NITs, Srishti School of Art, Design and Technology and IIT-Bombay.
“Hiring and training takes up 40% of the founders' time. It's not just a volume game we are playing. Until we have confidence on the recruits, it's tough to put them in front of customers,” said Srivatsa.
“We won't hire many freshers this year because we don't have the management bandwidth to train them. But, next May there will be a massive push for freshers, the process for which will start in September,” he added.
Launched in July 2012, the store has so far raised $26 million from Steadview Capital, Saif Partners and Kalaari Capital. The e-tailer receives 100-200 orders a day, with an average ticket size of R20,000.
Urban Ladder's hiring plans are in line with industry trends, wherein the top 10 e-tailers, including Flipkart, Snapdeal, Amazon, Myntra and Jabong, together plan to hire 60,000 professionals this year. Flipkart is likely to hire 12,000, including 1,000 engineers, while Snapdeal is slated to double its headcount.
Instilling confidence in the customer is the only way to be on top of the country's $18-million home décor industry, added Srivatsa. Consequently, Urbanladder has instituted a training academy in Bangalore, and will open two more to train its logistics and delivery personnel.
“Quality control has a different training, delivery staff have a different training, delivery lead has a different training...” Srivatsa said, adding that this expansive training mechanism and investment in technology would lead them to the goal of achieving five-fold annual growth and reaching 25 cities by 2016.