South African startup Giraffe wants to massively reduce unemployment in the country. The way to do this, the founders say, is to improve access to job listings for the low and medium skilled jobs market – using mobile.
Jobseekers sign up to Giraffe by sending a shortcode via SMS or visiting the Giraffe website. The platform asks a series of questions, culminating in a short digital CV.
Employers log onto the platform and submit a staffing request. Giraffe’s algorithm automatically contacts all suitable candidates via SMS, and asks if they would like to interview. It then automatically schedules interviews for those who respond affirmatively, and forwards their digital CVs to the employer.
The result of this process, is that Giraffe guarantees a two day turnaround on staffing requests.
“Nothing like Giraffe exists,” says co-founder and head of product, Shafin Anwarsha.
“Giraffe is cheaper, faster and has wider reach than recruitment agents, portals and labour brokers.”
Since launching in January this year, Giraffe has already logged over 21,000 jobseeker registrations, and has sent out over 3,000 job opportunities to its network.
The founders believe they have found the way to solve the problem of access to job listings which much of the low and medium skilled workforce suffers from. This lack of efficient access to job opportunities is one of the key contributors to high unemployment levels, Anwarsha says.
“One of the reasons unemployment is high in South Africa is due to lack of access. Jobseekers often live in townships that are segregated from cities, public transport is poor and expensive, and there is limited internet access. This means jobseekers often find jobs opportunistically through word of mouth – this is inefficient and not very effective,” Anwarsha says.
Similarly, employers struggle to find the right employees. It takes them time, resources and money, and they are faced with high attrition. Employers need a cheap and effective way to source, screen and hire candidates.”
According to Anwarsha, mobile is the best way to solve these obstacles to recruitment.
“Mobile penetration in South Africa is very high, even in the lower [income segments]it’s over 80 per cent. Mobile allows jobseekers to register on Giraffe at anytime, anywhere and at little or no cost,” he says.
The Giraffe platform has been designed to consume low amounts of data, so Anwarsha says volatile connectivity and high data costs don’t affect the platform’s functionality. Further, users only need to consume data for the initial registration and CV build – following which all communication is send via SMS.
“Giraffe has been specifically designed for Africa and its connectivity constraints,” he says.
For now, the startup continues to iterate the platform, and sign up users. Anwarsha is targeting 260,000 jobseeker placements by 2019. However, the startup also has plans to expand around South Africa, and in the long term, to other markets across Africa.
Giraffe is one of the 12 startups to have pitched at the Johannesburg leg of global startup pitching competition Seedstars World, and was crowned the “best startup in South Africa”. Giraffe will represent South Africa at the global finals in Switzerland next year.