With no dearth in funding and rising consumer affinity for new-age products and services, Indian startups are firming up ambitious hiring plans for the coming year. Competition in the space is stiff; a slew of new firms promising distinct offerings are almost cropping up overnight, pushing companies to constantly innovate and deliver. Not surprisingly, most startups have allocated the bulk of the recruitment budgets to product, tech and data science branches.

Infra.Market that turned unicorn earlier this year on the back of a $100 million funding round led by Tiger Global said it is looking to ramp up headcounts across product, technology, analytics, data science and various roles in the business functions in the coming months.

“We offer ESOPs (employee stock ownership plan) for critical resources that go a long way in attracting the right talent,” chief human resource officer Sheetal Bhanot Shetty told Fortune India.

India currently boasts of the third largest startup ecosystem in the world. About 50,000 startups have been recognised by the department for promotion of industry and internal trade (DPIIT) as of June 3, 2021. An estimated 1.7 lakh jobs were created by them during the 2020-21 period alone, according to a release issued by the government earlier this year.

Emergence of startups has expanded the local job market, creating wider scope for fresh graduates and experienced job-seekers. As startups grow and expand their businesses, it also opens up miscellaneous work opportunities, helping the broader economy.

Fintech startup Slice plans to hire close to 800 people by the end of next year. With more consumers signing up for the company’s services, the strategy is to add more people across product, design and engineering teams, said founder & CEO Rajan Bajaj.

Razorpay intends to double its intake across IITs this year. The firm will hire 600 employees in all, said Chitbhanu Nagri, senior vice-president, people operations. “This year, competition has intensified, and Razorpay has doubled down on efforts to recruit good students. We are growing rapidly and the increase in hiring is in line with our growth targets,” added Nagri.

ShareChat and Moj parent Mohalla Tech, which has garnered close to $913 million in funding this year across three investment rounds, is looking to bolster its AI, product, engineering and ad-sales teams. The company will leverage the expertise of its AI talent team to augment the recommendation engine of the products and deliver a customised user feed to each user. The creation-tech team will be focused on camera work which is essential for content creation, explained Sudhir Nair, vice-president, talent acquisition at ShareChat and Moj. The two platforms jointly claim to have a monthly active user base of 340 million.

Nair, though, pointed out that there is a dearth of adequate AI talent in India, especially those required to service niche areas within AI. “To address this, we are hiring AI talent from diverse geographies. Being a remote organisation has helped us scale our AI department without restricting ourselves to just India,” Nair said.

Local jobs and professional networking platform apna.co also plans to deploy about 65% of its more than 400 fresh hires for 2022 across engineering, data science and product teams.

Bengaluru-based startup Yellow.ai, which helps businesses automate their customer experience service, will expand its employee base to over 1,000 globally from the current strength of more than 700. About 85%-90% of the firm’s workforce is based in India. “We are looking to ramp up hiring across our sales, marketing, service and core engineering, that is, product and platform, departments. The bulk of our hiring would be from a pool of experienced candidates, with 20% of it focussed on hiring freshers,” said Co-founder & CEO Raghu Ravinutala.

Social commerce startup DealShare will add more than 5,000 staff in 2022. A large part of the fresh recruits will be used to build on its tech capabilities. The firm banks on gamification and personalisation to draw more consumers. Owing to the lack of equipped tech talent in the market, DealShare plans to invest heavily in employee skill development and training programmes.

MyGate said it has about 200 open positions largely in tech, product management and business development departments. New unicorn Spinny aims to recruit more than 5,000 new employees by the end of the next year. Digital app-based health platform BeatO said the firm’s 2022 focus will be to augment middle and senior leadership across product, technology, data science, growth and operations.

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