$ 100 million investment led by Tiger Global makes Apna India’s fastest unicorn

A 22-month-old startup that is helping millions of blue and gray collar workers in India learn new skills and find work has become the youngest company to join the coveted unicorn status in the second largest internet market of the world.

Apna announced Thursday that it has raised $ 100 million in a round led by Tiger Global. The new round, a Series C, valued Apna at a valuation of $ 1.1 billion. TechCrunch reported last month that Tiger Global, an existing investor in Apna, was in talks to lead a $ 100 million funding round in the start-up at the unicorn valuation.

Owl Ventures, Insight Partners, Sequoia Capital India, Maverick Ventures and GSV Ventures also participated in the new round, which is the third investment secured by Apna this year.

Investor excitement comes as Apna has shown impressive growth in recent months. The startup has amassed more than 16 million users on its eponymous Android app, up from 10 million in June this year.

Indian cities are home to hundreds of millions of low-skilled workers who come from villages in search of work. Many of them have lost their jobs amid the coronavirus pandemic that has slowed various economic activities in the South Asian market.

Apna has created a platform that provides a community for these workers. In the community, they network with one another, exchange notes to perform better in interviews, and share tips for negotiating better compensation.

In addition to this, Apna connects these workers with potential employers. In an interview with TechCrunch, Apna Founder and CEO Nirmit Parikh said that more than 150,000 employers, including Zomato, Bharti AXA, Urban Company, BYJU’S, PhonePe, Burger King, Delhivery, Teamlease and G4S Global, are on the platform and more than 5 million. jobs are active.

The startup, whose name is inspired by a lively Bollywood song from 2019, has facilitated more than 18 million job interviews in the past 30 days, he said. Apna is currently in operation in 28 cities in India.

The idea for Apna came about, Parikh said, after he was perplexed to discover that although there are hundreds of millions of blue-collar and blue-collar workers in India, locating them when help is needed with a task is often very difficult.

Before founding Apna, Parikh, who previously worked at Apple, met these workers and worked undercover as an electrician and floor manager to understand the issues they faced. He discovered that the problem was disconnection. Workers had no means of finding who needed them for jobs, and they were also not connected to each other. The community aspect of Apna, which now has more than 70 such groups, aims to address this challenge.

The Apna app allows these workers to learn new skills to be eligible for more job opportunities. Apna has become one of the fastest growing skills enhancement platforms, and that would explain why GSV Ventures and Owl Ventures, two high-profile firms known for backing educational technology startups, are investing in the firm with headquarters in Bangalore.

“Apna’s viral adoption is driven by a novel social and interactive approach to connecting employers with job seekers. We expect job seekers looking for meaningful connections and vetted opportunities to fuel Apna’s continued explosive growth in India and the world, ”said Griffin Schroeder, partner at Tiger Global, in a statement.

Now the startup, which has started to monetize the platform, is ready to expand aggressively. Parikh said that Apna will continue to expand to more cities in India and early next year Apna will begin its global expansion. Parikh said the startup is targeting expansion in the US, Southeast Asia, and the Middle East and Africa.

“We have already created a dent. Now we want to impact the lives of 2.3 billion ”, he said. “We will need a lot of resources for a world-class team to deliver it. It is a Herculean task and it is going to take a village. But someone has to figure it out. “


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