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Chinese smartphone giant Xiaomi invests in Indian recruitment tech startup WorkIndia

WorkIndia claims to have 15 million job seekers across more than 750 Indian cities on its AI-enabled platform.

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After investing in digital lending, vernacular social platforms, and mobility startups in India, Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi has now taken interest in recruitment tech space.

It has put in USD 5.9 million (INR 42 crore) in Mumbai-based online recruitment platform WorkIndia, the company said on Monday. WorkIndia is backed by Japan’s Beenext and Asuka Investments.

The four-year-old startup founded by Kunal Patil and Nilesh Dungarwal in 2015 aims to connect blue-collar workers and employers so that companies can find the right profile based on candidates’ skill set through its artificial intelligence (AI)-enabled platform. The company claims to have 15 million job seekers across more than 750 Indian cities.

“The company has created a massive presence in the Indian blue-collar segment within a short span of time. At Xiaomi, we thrive towards providing innovation for everyone and we see significant future potential in WorkIndia,” said Manu Jain, global vice president, Xiaomi and managing director, Xiaomi India, in a statement.

WorkIndia’s mobile app that helps candidates find jobs based on their skill set and preferred location works in areas with poor connectivity.

According to Jain, WorkIndia has leveraged the high smartphone penetration in India and provided an opportunity to people from all segments, “working as an equalizer.”

“Team WorkIndia thrives on two aspects—one, extreme innovation and two, the excitement of becoming a global leader in the blue-collar segment. Xiaomi’s focus on innovation and the disruption they have brought to the market has clear adjacencies with us,” said Patil and Dungarwal, co-founders at WorkIndia.

The startup said it plans to strengthen its team as well as tech backend for improved matchmaking, predictive and real-time analytics for employers with the new funding.

Xiaomi has come a long way in India, from an unknown smartphone brand that nobody bet on in 2014 to becoming the market leader in the world’s second-largest smartphone market. After disrupting the smartphone market in the country, it has set its eyes on tech companies who are daring to innovate in their respective market.

Xiaomi made its first investment in India in 2016 by leading a USD 25 million round in online digital media entertainment firm Hungama.

In November 2017, Xiaomi’s co-founder and chief executive Lei Jun, in an interview, said the company would be investing as much as USD 1 billion in 100 startups in India over the next five years to create an ecosystem of apps around its smartphone brand. This came a month after Xiaomi led a USD 8 million round in micro-lending startup KrazyBee, along with Shunwei Capital, a venture capital firm set up by Xiaomi’s founders Jun and Tuck Lye Koh.

True to its word, Xiaomi led a USD 18.2 million round in Bengaluru-based Indian regional language social platform Sharechat in January 2018. The same year, it invested in another vernacular social app Samosa Labs and digital lending startup ZestMoney. According to media reports, Xiaomi has also invested in TouchTalent, an online community for creative individuals, daily commute startup Chalo, and Delhi-based Oye Rickshaw.

Meanwhile, working in sync with Xiaomi, Shunwei has invested in startups like ShareChat, social commerce platform Meesho, fintech company Upwards, digital lending firm LoanTap, among online food delivery platform Zomato, mobile bike taxi service Rapido, and regional language podcast app Kuku FM, among others.