Blue-collar workforce management platform Smartstaff, previously Qikwork, has raised $4.3 million in funding from Blume Ventures, Nexus Venture Partners and Arkam Ventures, along with Gemba Capital and some angel investors.

Founded in October 2020 by four co-founders and ex-colleagues at Runnr, Arpit Dave, Viral Chhajer, Gnanesh Chilukuri and Aravind Reddy, Smartstaff helps businesses hire and manage their blue-collar workforce by digitising workforce management practices.

Blume Ventures and Nexus Venture Partners were also early backers of Runnr. All four founders have previously founded and scaled-up startups. The Smartstaff team currently consists of 60 members.

The company’s goal is to enable 100 million blue-collar workers in India to get access to better work by leveraging the power of technology. The funds raised will be used for further enhancing the product and building the team.

Arpit Dave, Co-founder & CEO, Smartstaff, mentioned, “With more industrial workers getting access to smartphones, we see a huge potential in using technology to reimagine workplace processes, and unlock massive value for companies and workers alike”.

Viral Chhajer, Co-founder, Smartstaff, said, “At Smartstaff, the vision for us is to facilitate the digital transformation of the workforce management practises of India’s manufacturing and supply chain industries.”

Smartstaff is aimed at solving challenges in the blue-collar workspace with an easy-to-use, mobile-based, workforce management and staffing solution.

“It helps the manufacturing industry upgrade from legacy processes, and dramatically reduces attrition and absenteeism while improving their workers’ visibility into payouts, statutory contributions and their timesheets,” the company said in an official release.

Currently, over 30,000 man-hours of work are tracked every day on the Smartstaff platform with clients including Raymonds, Enamor, Dixcy and more. The company expects to have over 10,000 workers on its platform by the end of the year.

Sameer Brij Verma, Managing Director, Nexus Venture Partners, added, “We at Nexus are very excited to partner again with Runnr’s founding team to re-imagine blue-collar recruitment and staffing for over 100 million workers in the country. Via their new-age workforce management platform, SmartStaff aims to drive game-changing efficiencies in the way manufacturing and supply chain companies source, retain, upskill, pay and incentivise their staff.’’

"Indian manufacturing is powered by tens of thousands of SMBs and their workforces. And yet, the ability to enhance that labour discovery, employment, productivity and transparency - is alarmingly low. The Smartstaff team is all set to change that. Their solution has already wowed some of the smaller and largest employers in the space," said Karthik Reddy, Blume Ventures.

“Over the past decade, smartphone penetration across India has triggered waves of new-age platforms disrupting large markets. We see Smartstaff leading the change by digitising workplace processes for manufacturers, and enabling 100M+ blue-collar manufacturing workers to use their smartphones as an instrument of productivity with information on shifts, payouts, savings, jobs, and communication,” said Bala Srinivasa, Managing Director at Arkam Ventures.