Founder Story #02 - Taraki Founders
Building a jobs platform for workers in Pakistan
Hey there, fellow founders! 👋
Welcome to the latest edition of Founder Stories.
In today's issue, we're thrilled to share the story of a startup that's near and dear to our hearts. As a company, we've had the privilege of supporting Taraki along the way, and we can't wait to share their story with you.
So, grab a cup of coffee and come along as we explore the founders’ journey from investment banking careers in Canada to building a career platform for Pakistanis.
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What is Taraki?
Taraki is a mobile app that connects semi-skilled workers to nearby job opportunities, making it easier for them to find work without relying on referrals or middlemen.
For businesses, Taraki simplifies the hiring process by making it easy to find and hire the best talent quickly.
They use a combination of candidate profiling and in-app quizzes to vet and match candidates with employers. This saves businesses from hiring the wrong fit and ensures access to reliable candidates.
How Did It Begin?
Having thrived as investment bankers in Canada, Salman and Hassaan returned to Pakistan with a common goal of creating positive change through technology.
Let's get to know Salman first.
Born in Lahore, educated in Canada. Salman excelled professionally, earning his CA designation from PwC and later working in investment banking at RBC and NBC. Despite a thriving career, he felt something was missing in his life.
“Canada just never felt like home. And it was always a bit unclear as to what the countless hours of work and effort translated to in terms of impact.”
Now, meet Hassaan.
After graduating from LSE Lahore and working in Pakistan, Hassaan moved to Canada in 2015 to pursue his MBA. After his MBA, he landed an investment banking role at NBC.
Despite being part of an award-winning research team, the desire to build something of his own burned inside him like a flame.
Return to Pakistan
They met each other at NBC and became good friends. During every lunch break, all they talked about was how tech could address major issues in Pakistan.
Somewhere in 2018, Salman learned about Sarmayacar - a VC firm that was being set up to invest in early-stage ventures in Pakistan. In 2019, he moved back and joined Sarmayacar as Principal, leading their investment function.
Two years later, Hassaan was offered a promotion at NBC, but his desires had turned into plans by now. He was ready to move back to Pakistan and potentially start his own venture from scratch.
Salman, who had been in Pakistan, advised him to take the big promo and take time to think things through before taking the plunge.
Hassaan did exactly that—walked straight into Mordor.
Soon, they met in Lahore to find…
A Problem Worth Solving
Salman, now a VC with 3 years of experience, had a strong sense of the problems that existed in Pakistan, having worked with startups like Dawaai, Bykea, and Jugnu.
With Hassaan at his side, he had a partner who brought a relentless approach to problem-solving.
Together, they identified some major problems—
Workers had limited access to relevant jobs
Businesses were struggling to find workers
Existing career platforms were not built to empower job seekers, leaving them to rely on referrals or commission agents for job leads.
This led to poor job satisfaction for workers and poor hiring practices for small to medium businesses, resulting in ineffective service and lost profits.
To better understand the problem, Hassaan tried getting hired as a rider, waiter, and call center agent. This helped him experience the difficulties faced by semi-skilled workers during the hiring process.
Meanwhile, Salman asked business owners in his network about their hiring challenges and whether they would use a digital solution to streamline the process.
Fortunately, two companies showed interest. 🎉 The founders made a WhatsApp group for jobs and started looking for candidates.
Their hunt began outside restaurants and shopping malls to sign up any and everyone interested in applying for jobs.
The jobs were posted in the group. Many candidates applied and showed up for an interview.
And 5 people got hired. 😃 It was enough traction to double down and build an MVP.
But the first question was if they built a solution, would workers and recruiters actually use it?
To find the answer, they built the simplest MVP using low-code to connect workers and recruiters digitally.
They rolled out the MVP to members of their WhatsApp group.
Within the first week, they knew they were onto something: 70 of the 100 people downloaded the app. 🥳
Several others shared it within their network. And hundreds of users started building profiles and applying to jobs on Taraki.
In an effort to better understand their audience, the founders engaged in one-on-one calls with their early users.
This customer-centric approach led the team to develop—what some are calling—the best customer success blueprint at an early-stage company.
Within a month, Taraki had over 1000 registered job seekers and over 20 companies looking to hire.
Many found jobs they loved through the app. One user even contacted the team to thank them for his success. Let’s call him Umair.
Here’s what happened 👇
After finding a job on Taraki, Umair didn’t stop applying. 😎 Instead, he switched three jobs frequently—just because he could. Over time, he was able to grow his monthly income by 300% from 20k to 80k.
This was concrete evidence that a problem existed and Taraki was the right solution. Recruiters were happy to find pre-screened talent quickly.
And job seekers… see for yourself.
Spreading The Word
They did hundreds of online and offline experiments to attract semi-skilled workers. One of them was rikshaw branding, led by Taraki’s Ali Abdul Rab.
The campaign involved placing banners on a fleet of rickshaws. While the team kept a close eye on organic downloads to measure effectiveness, the attribution of such endeavors remained difficult.
They shifted their focus to personalized videos and did a superb job on TikTok to attract new job seekers. Here’s Salman inviting users to join Taraki.
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Making A Difference
Since their launch, Taraki has made a significant impact on Lahore’s employment landscape.
The team has grown to 35 dedicated and young individuals who are striving to make Taraki the go-to career platform for Pakistanis.
Their razor-sharp focus has led them to...
Getting 300 people hired per month.
Enabling 150K job seekers to find jobs they want
Helping 2000 businesses hire the right fit quickly
Taraki's focus on connecting job seekers with the right opportunities and businesses with the right talent has yielded impressive results which speak to the dedication and effectiveness of the team.
The below Daftarkhwan video provides a fascinating insight into the minds and motivations of the talented founders behind Taraki.
With plans to launch in Karachi and other cities soon, their enthusiasm and drive are truly inspiring. We're excited to see what the future holds for Taraki!
The story of Taraki is a testament to the power of experimentation and determination. It shows that sometimes, all it takes is a simple idea and a strong conviction to make a significant impact.
It proves that there are countless opportunities waiting to be discovered in Pakistan, contrary to what some may believe.
According to Salman, "There are tremendous opportunities in Pakistan. As an operator, I've been amazed by the quality of our young team and what some founders have achieved with very little resources.”
While the numbers at Taraki look promising, it's important to evaluate the long-term potential of their impact on hiring practices and the economy as a whole. Their solution has created opportunities for those who had limited access before, but the actual impact of their approach remains to be seen.
Takeaways From Taraki
You don't need a groundbreaking idea to start an impactful business.
Doing one thing right is better than solving multiple problems at a time.
Breaking down your vision into small actionable steps can bring it to life.
Low-code is an effective way to validate a problem and build an MVP, fast.
Collaboration, seeking advice, and short feedback loops help you improve your solution.
That’s it for today!
I would like to thank you for taking the time to read this and hope you were inspired by Taraki’s journey.
And if you’re hiring, don’t wait for your network to recommend a reliable candidate, Taraki has built a swift platform for you to hire talent faster.
Lastly, I encourage you to share your two cents in the comments below. We’d love to hear from you.
If you enjoyed the read, I’d appreciate if you share it with friends.
Until next week,