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    India 'big hub' for blue collar economy: Fountain CEO Sean Behr


    India is the "most natural place" to invest, and to expand as there is a huge opportunity and growth rate in the blue/grey collar market, Behr noted.

    Fountain, a provider of hiring automation software for frontline workforces, considers India as one of the "big hubs" in this space, a top company official said. The company is present in the US, Western Europe - UK, France, Germany as well as in South Africa, India, New Zealand and a few other countries. "The big hubs are India, UK and France," Founder and CEO of the company Sean Behr told PTI.

    "Fountain focuses exclusively on the blue collar and gray collar workforce. A vast majority of people ... don't PowerPoint or Excel, they do things on the frontlines of our economy," Behr said, adding that hiring and retaining workers in the blue and grey collar economy has never been more difficult.

    India is the "most natural place" to invest, and to expand as there is a huge opportunity and growth rate in the blue/grey collar market, Behr noted.

    "China has some similar dynamics, but obviously there's geopolitical challenges, while in India you have a bigger population and a very good place for technology to invest in this market," he said.

    Behr pointed out that India has more people in the workforce with a payment-enabled smartphone as compared to the 330 million total population of the United States.

    "With 8 million manual informal processes, there is absolutely no way to scale to 25 million workers and still be using manual processes. You need to bring technology that will standardize the process for these workers and it benefits both the worker and actually more importantly... the company."

    Fountain aims to bring standardised technical processes to an "informal, disorganised, spreadsheets - forms and paper" system.

    Behr said Fountain hired over 3 million blue and gray collar workers in 75 countries using 35 different languages in 2022.

    He pointed out that a country like India poses scale and complexity problems owing to the diversity aspect here.

    "In Germany, you really only need one language, here that doesn't work. You have to have technology that is smart enough to know that... if I'm recruiting in Karnataka, or Delhi, I may (be) interacting with an applicant (and) need to have the ability to switch languages," he said.

    Behr also outlined IPO plans for Fountain, which marks his fourth entrepreneurial venture after starting up in e-commerce, advertising and car riding business.

    "It's a couple of years away for us... it's an incredible investment. You have to hire lots of people... build all the right financial reporting, legal... which takes you away from building the business," he said.

    The company last raised funds in Series C round in 2022, amid a challenging environment for late-stage startups, and said "there's enough cash in the bank" for now.
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