Professional networking and jobs platform for India’s rising working class, Apna, has raised $70 million in Series B round led by Insight Partners and Tiger Global. Existing investors, Sequoia Capital India, Lightspeed India, Greenoaks Capital and Rocketship VC have also participated in the round. With this investment, Apna has now raised over $90 million and is now valued at $570 million, within 16 months of product launch.
Apna will use the proceeds to strengthen its presence in existing cities and expand pan-India over the next 6 months. The team also plans to hire talent and build world class engineering and product capabilities. Additionally, Apna plans to expand to high potential international markets such as Southeast Asia and the United States in the coming year.
"At Apna we are determined to take a fresh approach towards solving employment and skilling challenges for billions. Over the last month itself Apna has facilitated more than 15 million job interviews and work related conversations where users have helped each other to start a business, find a gig or learn a new skill. We are still in the early stages of solving the problem and are excited to continue on this journey with the backing of our new partners," said Nirmit Parikh, Founder & CEO, Apna.
Founded in 2019, Apna claims its tech-driven approach to harness the power of communities has enabled access to better jobs and entrepreneurship for millions of users. This has been especially crucial in a pandemic year which has seen severe disruption to the labour markets due to lockdowns. The company facilitated more than 45 million candidate-recruiter interactions since the advent of COVID-19 in 2020. The platform has grown ~50X over the past year and currently has ~1.4 million job openings across 70 plus different job categories and 14 cities in India.
During COVID, Apna stepped up to help Indian businesses hire at no cost. The team focused on improving the in-app discovery of frontline jobs in segments like delivery and healthcare to help essential service businesses hire faster to help these services continue uninterrupted operations. Since March 2021, Apna has catered to over 2500 healthcare organisations by listing over 50,000 openings for roles like nurses, ward boys, lab-technicians, pharmacists, among others and has facilitated 2,50,000 interviews in these categories over the last three months. Today the services of Apna remain free to support the challenged businesses and candidates.
The app comprises 60 plus communities for skilled professionals like carpenters, painters, field sales agents and allows users to access local job opportunities, network with peers, practice for interviews, share their accomplishments, and gain new skills. The venture today has onboarded over 10 million users and 100,000 plus employers.
“We have been incredibly impressed with Apna’s stellar growth over the last year. They have built the market leading platform for India’s workforce to establish digital professional identity, network, access skills training, and find high quality jobs. Employers are engaging with Apna at a rapid pace to help find high quality talent with low friction which is leading to best in class customer satisfaction scores. We believe that our investment will enable Apna to continue their steep growth trajectory, scale up their operations, and improve access to opportunities for India’s workforce,” said Nikhil Sachdev, Managing Director, Insight Partners.
Griffin Schroeder, Partner, Tiger Global said, "Apna’s focus on digitising the process of job discovery, application and employer-candidate interaction has the potential to revolutionise the hiring process. The Apna app also helps workers form professional networks and up skill themselves. We are excited to partner with the team as they expand to new markets in India and abroad."
The Apna Edge
The venture claims, hiring takes place in less than 48 hours on the Apna app. Candidates can connect directly with the recruiter via calls/ WhatsApp messages enabled by the app and the app is available in English and a fusion of Hindi or the regional language with English, coined as “Thoda English”. All jobs listed are verified and free of cost for the candidates and the venture is currently building out masterclass like skilling modules, outcome or job based skilling, enabling peer to peer learning via its vertical communities like “Learn English” or “Govt. Test Prep” and is also planning to launch career counselling and resume building services for its users.
Apna's clientele includes several of India’s leading companies, such as Zomato, Burger King, Bharti-AXA, Delhivery, Teamlease, G4S Global, Shadowfax and 1MG. In addition, Apna has partnered with some of India’s leading public and private organisations. Apna is supporting National Skill Development Corporation, UNICEF Yuwaah, the Ministry of Minority Affairs of India, in their endeavour to provide better skilling and job opportunities to candidates.
Having raised more than $90 million from marquee investors like Insight Partners, Tiger Global, Lightspeed India, Sequoia Capital India, Rocketship.vc and Greenoaks Capital, Apna is on a mission to enable livelihoods for billions in India. The name Apna, which means “ours” in Hindi, was inspired by a Bollywood song “Apna Time Aayega”, which chronicled the rise of an aspiring hip-hop artist from an underprivileged background, fueled by the network and the platform he received to showcase his music skills.
First Published: IST