Teamlease on a mission

Teamlease on a mission

By partnering with the Karnataka State Government to privatise its employment exchanges and setting in motion TeamLease University, a vocational training university, TeamLease is focused on delivering on its tagline, ‘putting India to work’



It would be rare if you get through a CII, FICCI or a NASSCOM conference without hearing the words education, employability or employment (3Es). Add the word entrepreneurship to the mix, and everyone will agree that the 4Es are crucial for the growth of India. For Ashok Reddy, co-founder, TeamLease, these words have been ringing constantly in his head since he founded the company in 2002. “We’re certainly in an elegant place. The country is growing and the 3Es haven’t been more important. There is demand for more skilled people, better productivity and better matching between demand and supply,” he says.

This is not the first time we’re writing about TeamLease. We spoke to Reddy in January 2011 right after TeamLease had acquired Indian Institute of Job Training (IIJT) to enter the skill development space. Over the last 21 months, the company has focused on integrating IIJT and TeamLease, gearing up to launch its new education division, TeamLease University, and establishing partnerships with governments to privatise employment exchanges. At a broader level, the company is focused on delivering on its tagline, ‘putting India to work’ by executing on each of its verticals.

The employment vertical will continue to focus on temporary and permanent staffing in addition to payroll processing and assessment services for companies. At IIJT, the focus is on vocational training by conducting three to nine month instructor-led programmes. Recently, the company partnered with the Karnataka State Government to privatise its employment exchanges. The third piece, which Reddy is gearing up to tackle right now, is the education issue, which requires longer-term programmes to impart relevant skills over a sustained period so that people could find the right jobs. The company is gearing up to start classes for TeamLease University, one of India’s first vocational training universities, in the next few months (the company is waiting on clearance from the government).

Education foray

According to a study conducted by TeamLease, there were over 8.32 lakh educated jobseekers in December 2009 in Gujarat, a state that is fairly industrialised. While there is good demand (in terms of jobs) and there is equally good supply (in terms of semi-skilled people), the problem is either the skills are not relevant or there is a matching problem where it is tough to connect the right jobs with the right people. Reddy believes that fixing the education bit is critical to match this demand-supply disparity.

“The objective (of raising money) was to fund TeamLease University, pump in cash into the IIJT acquisition and keep aside some acquisition capital if there were any wounded assets in the market.”

The model adopted for TeamLease University is fairly unique as well. The main campus will be located in Ahmedabad and there will also be 22 community colleges across various districts in the state. The curriculum is being designed through partnerships with various prospective employers and the subjects are decided based on specific skill sets needed. For instance, the curriculum includes courses on mechatronics, IT infrastructure, sales, marketing and hospitality. The students will enrol in a two-year associate degree program. “Relevance and industry focus lie at the heart of TeamLease University. With this, we have a larger control of what we’re teaching and it is based on demand,” says Reddy.

Continuing Growth

Over the last couple of years, the company has consistently grown its top line. “In FY 2013, we expect to touch revenues of Rs. 1050 crore.” Today, the company employs over 85,000 people and has offices in 110 locations around India. Including its associate partners, the company has a presence in 880 locations. On the fund-raising front, the company raised Rs. 100 crore from Gaja Capital and ICICI Ventures. “The objective (of raising money) was to fund TeamLease University, pump in cash into the IIJT acquisition and set aside some acquisition capital if there were any wounded assets in the market,” says Reddy.

To continue its growth trajectory, execution lies at the core. “It is an industry that is fairly fragmented and unorganised. We need to continue to deliver on our promise day-to-day,” explains Reddy. TeamLease also managed to build a visible brand, an important part of its strategy of becoming an organised player in this space. The company is minimal on advertising but publishing research reports, public relations and media outreach efforts and digital marketing form a greater part of its marketing mix.


  • Ability to execute on its key metrics – hiring and training people across India and bridging the demand-supply gap
  • The macro factors are in favour of the company – 3Es are crucial for India’s future
  • Team building, creation of the right processes and patience on delivering on new initiatives

Then and Now

REVENUE Rs. 704 crore (FY 2009) Rs. 1050 crore* (expected FY 2013)
NO OF PEOPLE 75,000 85,000
KEY FOCUS AREAS Employment and employability Added education and employment exchanges to the mix
EXPANSION Expanded through the acquisition of IIJT Launch TeamLease University with funding from Gaja Capital and ICICI Venture


Prem Sivakumaran is co-founder & CEO of Growth Mechanics, a leadership and entrepreneurship-focused business content company in India. Growth Mechanics publishes The Smart CEO, a publication focused on enabling peer-to-peer knowledge exchange among C-level executives and board members. The platform reaches over 1.2 lakh CXOs across its website, app, print publication & CEO Round Tables, and has featured on the cover India’s leading business leaders/founders from Infosys, Mindtree, Tata Sons, ICICI Bank, Biocon, Yes Bank and several others. In addition of Smart CEO, Growth Mechanics also organises the Startup50 Conference & Awards, an annual event to recognize India’s top 50 startups every year. Startup50 Alumni include Freshdesk, Oyo Rooms, Urban Ladder, Capital Float, Paperboat Beverages, among others. Growth Mechanics’ primary business model revolves around linking CXOs and Brands around engaging content and has worked with India’s leading companies including Mahindra Group, Godrej & Boyce, BASF, Airtel, Tata Docomo, Fiat, IDA Ireland, Yes Bank, Prestige Estates, Frederique Constant, Indian Terrain

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