COVID-19 was the awakening call for Prasoon Sharma as he saw a loss of around 15 workers because of mismanagement of resources (Government, society, aid reaching late and less) and miscommunication (workers were unable to raise their emergency at the right channel). For five months, Prasoon Sharma discussed and planned with various trade union leaders, workers, policymakers, business leaders, and technocrats and then decided to launch the Worker Union Support (WUS), a platform to solve all the above problems.
Sensing Business Opportunities
Being a technology professional and having business experience (built sales worth $450 million), Prasoon Sharma saw a business opportunity, as well, in creating “a global digital workers and trade union community”.
Through his start-up – Worker Union support (WUS) – a worker-union digital community, Prasoon is solving workers’ (mainly blue/grey collar) professional problems (grievance redressal, knowing Government schemes and their rights) and personal problems (taking loans, family insurance, etc.)
There were multiple challenges related to building the team which can share the vision of working for blue collar jobs. Hiring right and stable talent to complete the development task and launch on time is always a challenge. Then again as blue collar workers come from different sectors and backgrounds, so the problem statement for them is diversified. To identify the common pain points of their work culture, productivity, learning and financial stability was an issue as well. Therefore, WUS conducted 100s of surveys to collect this information and then built the platform which can be easily customised as per sector and different usecases.
Market Value and Investments
The current valuation of the organisation is of Rs 50 crores (six million USD) as per approvals from IIM Lucknow EIC and Pentland Ventures for pre-seed investments. A total of 87 lakhs have been invested as grants in product development and organisation growth by the Department of Science and Technology, Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology and CITI bank. Another investment of Rs 15 lakhs from EIC, IIM Lucknow and Rs 35 lakhs from MSME Ministry are in the final stage of closure.
Pradivya Software Pvt ltd wants one single platform for workers’ social and financial security, digital skilling as well as workplace safety tools and products across the globe. WUS Ap wants to impact over 3.3 billion blue collar workers globally by improving their lives, productivity, and safety.
“The more significant problem has two major parts. Decades of ignorance of the digital inclusion of workers and a myopic vision of the digital economy focusing on e-commerce and digital trade. The wholesome solution is to build a “new digital worker economy” to enhance the GDP of workers. To speed up the implementation and delivery of a sustainable development goal, cross-border electronic cooperation (e-cooperation) can play an important role. With Digital trade, E-cooperation should bring special provisions for natural calamities and emergencies (like COVID-19) and eradicating life-threatening diseases. E.g. Gates Foundation is aggressively working to eliminate malaria from the planet. For such NGO, initiatives should have special provisions in the e-commerce framework with no or minimum barriers. Bharat has 500 million workers,” says Prasoon Sharma, Founder & CEO, WUS.