Startup Series: Werkit—connecting talent at scale

Antler US portfolio company Werkit, which connects high-growth software companies to remote self-managed teams, received the Covid-19 Innovation Award from the Smart City Expo World Congress today. The Covid-19 Innovation Award recognizes companies that have contributed to the successful transformation, adaption, or response of the world's cities to the pandemic. Werkit has connected workers in Zambia to remote digital jobs, digital banking services, skill advancement assistance, and a virtual community of support throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.

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Werkit launched operations in March 2020, after serial founders Alon Shalvi and Krishma Nayee recognized the potential in connecting high-growth AI companies to the expansive and talented, but underutilized, African labor force. Today, high-growth AI companies rely heavily on humans to deliver services to customers and grow businesses. This leaves companies with low margins, high operational overheads, and unreliable service, which results in lost sales and an inability to scale.

Werkit's enterprise platform enables self-managed teams to deliver high-quality AI operations that scale at competitive rates, with a vision to provide the 420 million youth in Africa access to employment opportunities. Werkit clients can easily set up through a SaaS solution or open API, which connects them to top technologists, digital experts, and subject matter experts abroad while removing the operational overhead associated with a traditional offshore company. Werkit freelancers have access to a variety of work and can optimize assignments to increase individual earnings, a tremendous opportunity for Africa's growing workforce. "We are in the process of developing partnerships and working with more business partners. Werkit's mission is to provide as many decent job opportunities as possible to the community in Zambia, and then later expand operations to the whole of sub-Saharan Africa. In the age of innovation, tapping into a globally diverse remote workforce is a big opportunity," explains Alon.

To date, Werkit has 6 active clients, engages upwards of 1,400 freelancers, and delivers a 30 percent cost reduction to clients. Krishma identifies Antler's international presence as an asset as Werkit scales operations. "I love Antler's emphasis on difference and diversity. Having the opportunity to connect with Antler across the globe - in Nairobi, in London - that's huge. It's forward-thinking. Antler brings an open and global mindset when devising solutions to problems."

As an Antler portfolio company, Alon and Krishma have also collaborated with the Antler team to make key hires and manage the Werkit community. Alon explains:

Working with Antler to identify our north stars and track our progress helps prioritize the truly important decisions. The Antler team is sharp: they get the vision and get the big picture. They keep us honest and focused on the deep challenges, which is very important for us as entrepreneurs; you can easily fixate on refining your comfort zone, instead of tackling the daunting tasks at hand. With Antler, you have extra team members to solve your problems. And in running a startup, your most important asset is learning to generate decision-making. Decision-making drives the business. As you pave your own road as an entrepreneur - when you reach a decision point - it's really hard if you don't have people to talk to and circulate ideas with. Antler is the sounding board that helps us run faster, with confidence, in the decisions we've made.

Learn more about connecting talent at scale with Werkit here.

Alon Shalvi and  Krishma Nayee, co-founders of Werkit

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