Apna, a Bengaluru-based recruitment platform for blue and grey collar workforce, has raised $8 million in its Series A funding round.
The round was led by existing investors Lightspeed Venture Partners and Sequoia India with participation from new investors Greenoaks Capital and Rocketship VC.
Founded in 2019 by Nirmit Parikh, who previously founded Cruxbot and also worked at Apple, Apna provides a platform that helps blue and grey-collar workers learn new skills, connect with one another and find jobs. The platform comprises vertical communities for skilled professionals like carpenters, painters, field sales agents and many others.
Apna, currently available on Android, claims to have more than 1.2 million users on its platform.
Speaking about the company, Nirmit Parikh, Founder and CEO of Apna, said,
“Apna’s mission is to connect people with opportunities. We want to uplift workers who form the backbone of the economy and provide them a platform to grow in their career.”
Apna provides a platform that goes beyond finding job opportunities as the users engage with peers to upskill themselves and identify their growth potential. In addition to establishing a community and rolling out upskilling courses, Apna allows users to easily generate a virtual business card. The startup then shares these profiles with prospective employers.
Commenting on the funding, Vaibhav Agrawal, Partner at Lightspeed Venture Partners, said in a statement,
“The most powerful thing for me about Apna is its communities – I’ve seen people help each other start a business, learn a new language, or find a gig! Communities rely on trust and make the model infinitely scalable.”
The startup said it has facilitated over 1 million job interviews in the last month, growing more than 3X month-on-month, and more than 3 million professional conversations occurred on the platform during the same period.
Harshjit Sethi, Principal at Sequoia India, also commented saying,
“There are over 250 million blue and grey-collar workers in India at present and providing meaningful employment opportunities to this segment is one of the biggest challenges in our country. With internet usage in this demographic growing rapidly, further catalyzed by the Jio effect, apps such as Apna can play a meaningful role in democratizing access to employment and skilling. Apna has built a unique product where users quickly come together in professional communities, an unmet need so far.”
Apna had previously raised $2 million from Lightspeed Venture Partners and Sequoia Capital India. With the fresh capital, the startup plans to expand its offerings, and help users launch their own businesses. It also plans to hire more talents and expand its operations to newer markets. Apna is currently present in five Indian cities.
Besides Apna, there are a handful of other players who also help low-skilled professionals in the country find job, learn advance skills and grow in their careers. Some of the startups that Apna competes include Able Jobs, WorkIndia, and MyKaam among others. Able Jobs helps companies hire entry-level trained professionals by providing them with end-to-end hiring support. The Bengaluru-based startup had recently raised $1.8 million in a seed funding round led by SAIF Partners. WorkIndia, another Bengaluru-based blue and grey collar job portal, helps candidates find and apply for the job they would like to do.
Recently, tech giant Google has also expanded its employment application ‘Kormo Jobs’ by bringing the app to India to help people find and apply jobs across the country.