Harshdeep Rapal, an entrepreneur and innovator, did his MBA from Great Lakes Institute of Management in Finance and Operations. After his MBA, he joined HCL where he quickly rose in ranks due to his capabilities. Having worked at various positions with HCL, he left the company to start EarthenKraft- an online marketplace for handicrafts. Later he exited the venture and joined Rocket Internet as the Region Head for South East Asia. He is also an influencing speaker and has delivered guest lectures at leading business schools and TEDx.
Upon realizing the challenges of freelance market, he co-founded Feelance Co, a platform that connects elite independent consultants with premier clients across the globe for short term assignments. Aiming high, Harshdeep plans to expand his business to 15 more countries in next two years.
Please provide a brief overview of your product/ service.
Feelance is a futuristic platform that aims to bring elite independent consultants and clients closer to each other. This is a huge hidden market right now. We are bringing it out in the open. The platform not only help consultants to get discovered across the globe and maintain a healthy pipeline of projects, but also provides tools and services to execute them in a seamless fashion. We are building a rich and vibrant ecosystem around everything that an independent consultant or a small consulting firm requires to manage their work end to end.
Six months from now Feelance will not just be a tech-platform, it will be a virtual management consulting company for those who cannot afford McKinsey’s and BCGs of the world but are looking for consulting services of matching standards.
What inspired you to build the above product/ service?
Becoming a freelancer comes with its own challenges. There is a constant fear of not getting a regular supply of projects. Then when they have projects at hand, the challenge is on resources and tools to execute the same. When they are stuck in some issue there is no one who you can reach out to. Challenges are numerous for independent consultants and small consulting firms.
Same is the issue with the clients, the clients with the bigger budgets can always reach out to larger consulting firms. But clients with smaller budgets find it a struggle to discover talent for their short term assignments. The clients are not able to find talent whereas the consultants are not able to discover projects. Even when they discover talent, it is difficult to establish the credibility of the consultant. There are a lot of limitations and inefficiencies in the current ecosystem.
So, we thought of creating Feelance platform to address all the pain points around issues faced by independent consultants and clients searching for them.
What is your life mantra?
Keep experimenting. You never know what you are good at till you try your hand at it. I have experimented with a lot of varied things in life. Some worked while others failed, but all were a very good learnings.
What was the most challenging part of your journey till now?
While building Feelance, the biggest challenge has been to find the first users for the platform. Building a two-way platform is like selling the first landline phone. It has no use until someone else also has it.
Similarly getting first set of consultants and clients was tough. But once we broke the code, we were able to take off real fast. We have managed to register 5000+ consultants across 8 countries within two months of start. The platform also has helped 80+ clients to find on demand talent for more than 150 assignments till date.
Share some details about the investments that you have been able to fetch for the business till now.
Feelance had investment and strategic backing from Hunt Partners, one of Asia’s leading Executive search firm. The funds have been used to build the platform, gain initial traction and hire the core team. We aim to raise the seed round in a few weeks from now.
According to you, what are the three qualities an individual must have to achieve success?
Stay focused, always seek feedback and keep an eye on where else you can create tangible value for the customer.
Which online tools/ services/ apps do you use the most and would like to recommend as well?
Share any one habit which you think makes you more productive.
Waking up early has made me more productive than before. It definitely helps in planning your day ahead.
Share any one habit which you wish to change in yourself.
I tend to get into too many things at a time. Sometimes I am not able to devote my time to all of these things which they rightly deserve.
Answer in less than 50 words
Whatever you are doing, give it all you have.
- One mistake you believe every individual must avoid:
Not taking feedback.
- One most important lesson that you have learnt till now:
If you have to build a successful business, always listen to the customer.
What are your plans for next 3 years?
I am putting in all efforts to make Feelance Co a roaring success. The aim is to expand to atleast 15 countries in next 24 months and become operationally profitable. I also have plans to involve in mentoring other entrepreneurs and startups so that they can learn from my experiences and don’t have to re-invent the wheel.
If you get a chance to start your career again what would you do differently this time?
I have been really satisfied with my career till now. I have taken some great decisions and messed up some others. But that’s all a part of the learning process.
What are your top three getaway destinations?
Himachal, Sri Lanka and Macau.