SA’s Britecap eases access to jobs for low-skilled labour

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South African startup Britecap is in the process of developing verification and on-boarding features it hopes will make those in the low and medium skilled labour market more discoverable for new employment.

Launched in June 2015 by co-founders Jacomien and Jonathan Van der Merwe, Britecap is based on the founding team’s discovery that those in this labour market were not discoverable for new or better employment, while on-boarding these employees was a tedious task.

The startup launched its MVP – an employer-employee connection platform – in January of this year, and is now in the development phase of its verification and employer on-boarding features.

“Our focus is on ensuring a verified ID number, SARS income tax number and verified banking account details to employers employing individuals from the Britecap platform which seamlessly integrated with the employer’s existing HR software,” Jacomien told Disrupt Africa.

The new features are set to be finalised within the next seven months, but the pre-revenue Britecap already has 2,600 job-seekers, mostly in Cape Town, using its platform. It has linked 750 job-seeker profiles with employers in the last four months.

“We will start turning revenue by month eight, charging employers a subscription fee for the refined search, verification and on-boarding features,” Jacomien said.

The low and medium skilled labour markets, she said, are often seen as generic resources and the personal, legal and professional information of these individuals is difficult to obtain.

“Thus, when employers seek to employ lower skilled individuals they rarely “know” who they are employing,” Jacomien said.

“Employers struggle to find socially trusted individuals, get their verified legal documentation and banking details. On the other hand, the lower skilled labour market faces long periods of unemployment and the barriers and cost of finding new employment are crippling to these individuals.”

Britecap fixes these problems by connecting users with employers, and verifies their legal, tax and banking information when signing up. The platform is able to track the full employment cycle of its users and uses their verified education, skills development, and social connections, among other things, to build a social credit and trustworthiness factor of each individual.

“This factor is used to provide employers with more targeted information of the job seekers and employees on the Britecap platform,” Jacomien said.

Another South African startup focusing on the lower-skilled labour market is Giraffe, a recent winner at the global Seedstars World competition. Though Jacomien said the startup is a “major competitor”, she said Britecap is more enterprise-focused and is not a closed database.

“We publically showcase our users’ profiles while giving employers the opportunity to contact them directly,” she said. “Giraffe does not track the employment cycle and has no integrated on-boarding facilities. Giraffe charges a recruitment fee, Britecap cuts out the recruitment middleman, making the whole recruitment process open, transparent and free.”

It certainly has an addressable market. Lower-skilled job-seekers make up 75 per cent of the labour market, around 15 million individuals in South Africa alone. Focused on South Africa for now, Britecap plans to expand its coverage to other developing countries in the coming years.

Both co-founders have extensive experience in developing software and infrastructure focused on the Bottom of the Pyramid (BoP), while they are funding the company themselves. Jacomien said, however, the startup is currently seeking investment for rollout of its new features.

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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent's most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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