We talked to Armaan Vananchal of Futwork about gig workers and tele-calling, and he had the following to say:-
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Armaan Vananchal: We’re lucky and privileged to have good health – body and mind.
I’ve embraced the digital nomad lifestyle and am currently working out of Toronto, Canada.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Futwork.
Armaan Vananchal: I’m a business graduate from NMIMS University Mumbai.
I often joke that a lot of young people complain about their parents forcing them to pursue engineering – my complaint is the opposite. I wish I had pursued engineering. Regardless – tech and entrepreneurship always interested me, and I was lucky to meet like-minded people in college, with whom I ultimately started up in 2014.
Niranjan (co-founder) and I have worked together since, and we’ve been through a few iterations and pivots to get to where we are today ultimately. The journey has been immensely enriching, challenging, and a whole lot of fun.
How does Futwork innovate?
Armaan Vananchal: I like solving problems and making things better and have always worked towards making this part of our organizational culture. We try and stay in a constant state of Kaizen.
We recognize that innovation doesn’t have to be outrageous and over the top but can also be small iterations of doing things differently. We value the ‘first draft’ and encourage each other to work on ideas quickly to present a quick and basic first version of our thoughts. We also stay open to feedback in a very transparent manner and have been able to build on this even further after shifting to remote work.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Armaan Vananchal: This year has been transformational for us. We pivoted from Frapp to Futwork, and along with a new brand identity, we completely revamped our product and focus.
From paid tasks for youngsters and college students on Frapp ->, we moved to taking real jobs to people’s homes, starting with tele-calling. This was not a simple transformation – we saw months where revenues dipped over 75%, and today our team size is 30% lesser than March. We coped by putting on blinders and focusing on the task at hand – to build!
We built and launched our new product within 2 months and have seen amazing growth since. Our new product enables people from across India to get trained and work as tele-callers from their homes, directly via the Futwork app. Over 500 callers are now working on the platform and helping businesses with sales, feedback, and operations in 10+ languages.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Armaan Vananchal: Yes, I think a lot of startups faced difficult choices, and we were no exception – we went from hiring a recruiter and negotiating new office leases to restructuring the entire organization and shifting to remote work. I think key learning has been that a part of us naturally and inherently fears change, and thus challenges or big decisions grow to become much bigger in our head than they actually are.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety?
Armaan Vananchal: I find this a very interesting challenge to work on because it teaches me so much about myself.
I use an app to reflect on and log some information about my day – every single day. This has been extremely helpful and helps me recognize if I’m stressed or anxious and pushes me to take corrective steps. My co-founder and I also have a great relationship and communicate openly and almost excessively in a healthy sense.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Armaan Vananchal: We compete with:
– Companies choosing to build their own internal teams/ workforce
– Large or traditional staffing companies offering similar services
– Call centers
We want to take jobs to people and give them the tools and skills they need to succeed. We have invested in workers’ success on our platform, which ultimately translates into the best outcome for the businesses we work with and us. We are very focused on the use cases and jobs on the platform and plan to go deep and build specialized and productized offerings.
In our future vision, we also want to expand to other jobs that people can do from their homes or even within their locality.
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