A 22-month-old startup that’s helping millions of blue- and gray-collar workers in India study new abilities and discover jobs has turn into the youngest agency to hitch the coveted unicorn standing on this planet’s second-largest web market.
Apna introduced on Thursday that it has raised $100 million in a spherical led by Tiger World. The brand new spherical — a Sequence C — valued Apna at $1.1 billion. TechCrunch reported final month that Tiger World, an present investor in Apna, was in talks to steer a $100 million financing spherical within the startup on the unicorn valuation.
Owl Ventures, Perception Companions, Sequoia Capital India, Maverick Ventures and GSV Ventures additionally participated within the new spherical, which is the third funding secured by Apna this yr. Apna was valued at $570 million in its Sequence B spherical in June this yr.
The buyers’ pleasure comes as Apna has demonstrated a formidable development in current months. The startup has amassed over 16 million customers on its 15-month-old eponymous Android app, up from 10 million in June this yr.
Indian cities are dwelling to a whole bunch of thousands and thousands of low-skilled staff who hail from villages in quest of work. Lots of them have misplaced their jobs amid the coronavirus pandemic that has slowed a number of financial actions within the South Asian market.
Apna has constructed a platform that gives a group to those staff. Locally, they interact with one another, change notes to carry out higher at interviews and share tricks to negotiate higher compensation.
On high of this, Apna connects these staff to potential employers. In an interview with TechCrunch, Apna founder and chief govt Nirmit Parikh mentioned greater than 150,000 employers — together with Zomato, Bharti AXA, City Firm, BYJU’S, PhonePe, Burger King, Delhivery, Teamlease and G4S World — are on the platform, and over 5 million jobs are energetic.
The startup, whose identify is impressed from a cheerful 2019 Bollywood track, has facilitated over 18 million job interviews prior to now 30 days, he mentioned. Apna is at the moment operational in 28 Indian cities.
The thought for Apna got here, Parikh has mentioned, after he was puzzled to seek out that at the same time as there are a whole bunch of thousands and thousands of blue- and gray-collar staff in India, finding them whenever you want help with a activity typically proves very troublesome.
Previous to beginning Apna, Parikh, who beforehand labored at Apple, met these staff and went undercover as an electrician and ground supervisor to grasp the issues they have been going through. The issue, he discovered, was the disconnect. Employees had no means to seek out who wanted them for jobs, and so they have been additionally not linked with each other. The group facet of Apna, which now has over 70 such teams, is aimed toward addressing this problem.
The Apna app permits these staff to study new abilities to turn into eligible for extra work alternatives. Apna has emerged as one of many quickest rising upskilling platforms — and that will clarify why GSV Ventures and Owl Ventures, two high-profile corporations recognized to again edtech startups, are investing within the Bangalore-based agency.
“Apna’s viral adoption is pushed by a novel social and interactive method to connecting employers with job seekers. We count on job seekers in quest of significant connections and vetted alternatives to drive Apna’s continued explosive development throughout India — and the world,” mentioned Griffin Schroeder, associate at Tiger World, in a press release.
Now the startup, which has began to monetize the platform, is able to aggressively broaden. Parikh mentioned Apna will proceed to broaden to extra cities in India and by early subsequent yr, Apna will start its international growth. Parikh mentioned the startup is eyeing growth within the USA, South East Asia and Center East and Africa.
“We now have already created a dent. Now we need to affect the lives of two.3 billion,” he mentioned. “We would require loopy quantities of assets and a world-class crew to ship. It’s a herculean activity, and goes to take a village. However someone has to resolve it.”