Professional networking platform for blue and grey collar workers Apna has raised $100 million in its Series C funding round led by Tiger Global.
The round also saw participation from Owl Ventures, Insight Partners, Sequoia Capital India, Maverick Ventures, and GSV Ventures. With this round, Apna has attained a total valuation of $1.1 billion and became India's youngest and fastest startup to enter the coveted unicorn club.
The company plans to use the investments to further strengthen its presence in the existing 28 cities and expand pan-India by the end of 2021. The company also plans to double down on its EdTech platform for skilling and invest in hiring exceptional talent and building world-class engineering and product capabilities. Apna focuses to build a global enterprise by venturing into new markets such as the US, South East Asia, and the Middle East, and Africa starting next year.
Apna allows job seekers to create a profile by mentioning skills, education, experience, view jobs, call the employer directly, fix interviews, and get hired. The platform also allows employers to post jobs, communicate with candidates, schedule interviews, and hire. It has over 70 communities for skilled professionals like carpenters, painters, telecallers, field sales agents, delivery personnel, among others.
Apna communities have enabled users to grow their professional networks, upskill through peer learning and find gig opportunities. The communities have enabled 17 million peer-to-peer professional conversations in the past month.
Founded in December 2019 by former Apple executive Nirmit Parekh, the Bengaluru-based startup claims to address the urgent and critical hiring needs of top companies in India. The list includes Zomato, Burger King, Bharti-AXA, Delhivery, Teamlease, G4S Global, Swiggy, Shadowfax, and 1mg among others.
Speaking about the platform and how the latest investment will be helpful for the company, Founder and CEO of Apna Nirmit Parikh said,
"Apna has a deep social purpose and is committed to discovery and creation of opportunities to enhance a billion livelihoods, across geographies. With the continued support of our partners, we aim to accelerate our journey of ‘solving for the world'."
The startup has built a platform that provides a community to these workers. In the community, they engage with each other, exchange notes to perform better at interviews, and share tips to negotiate better compensation. When candidates fail an interview, Apna prompts the candidates to learn particular skills. It has categorized 4,000 skills, many of which are taught by partners or developed in-house.
Griffin Schroeder, Partner at Tiger Global, said in a statement,
"Apna’s viral adoption is driven by a novel social and interactive approach to connecting employers with job seekers. We expect job seekers in search of meaningful connections and vetted opportunities to drive Apna’s continued explosive growth across India — and the world."
Partnering with Owl Ventures, the largest venture capital firm focused on education technology, will help bolster Apna’s global ambitions in the skilling space.
Amit Patel, Managing Director of Owl Ventures, has also commented,
"We believe that Apna has the potential to fundamentally shift how companies approach hiring skilled professionals and how these individuals approach networking and upskilling...By incorporating learning and upskilling offerings to drive strong outcomes for its user communities, Apna is building an end-to-end solution that has the potential to help individuals over the course of their career and not just in a single interaction. That repeated interaction and trust they are building on their platform can profoundly impact not just India but the global talent ecosystem."
Apna has partnered with organizations such as National Skill Development Corporation, UNICEF Yuwaah, Truecaller, Akzonobel, and the Ministry of Minority Affairs of India to provide better skilling and job opportunities to candidates.
The latest round comes three months after the company had raised $70 million in its Series B round in June, co-led by Insight Partners and Tiger Global. At the time, Apna was valued at $570 million.