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India’s Upwork-like TapChief raises USD 1.5 million from Blume Ventures

For its next phase of growth, the early-stage startup is targeting large enterprises and Fortune 500 companies.

TapChief's co-founders: Shashank Murali, Binay Krishna, and Arjun Krishna

TapChief, an online platform that connects businesses with freelance professionals, has raised USD 1.5 million from early-stage venture capital firm Blume Ventures.

Earlier in June, the Bengaluru-based startup had raised USD 650,000 from marquee investors like Paytm, 500 Startups, Cred founder Kunal Shah, and former Flipkart executive Mekin Maheshwari. The latest round brings TapChief’s total funding to USD 2.3 million.

TapChief currently has over 100 corporates on its platform, which it connects to 100,000-plus freelancers across technology, marketing, and design domains. The platform makes money by charging a service fee to the companies which range from 5–20% of the invoice value.

For its next phase of growth, the early-stage startup is targeting large enterprises and Fortune 500 companies, TapChief’s co-founder and CEO Shashank Murali told KrASIA.

“We started with growth-stage startups like Dunzo, upGrad, and Redbus and then moved towards larger corporates like Hindustan Unilever, Pearson Education, Oxford University, and Manipal Group. We now have a healthy mix of both,” he said.

With the fresh funding, TapChief plans to continue product development so as to make its platform compatible with existing enterprise software like human resource systems, people management systems, and vendor management systems that are used by large corporates.

“While today we have a stand-alone product, we will make a huge effort in terms of integrating it with existing enterprise tools for people management, HR, and recruitment that our clients are using, so that the whole hiring process becomes easier,” Murali said.

TapChief’s team

It will also use the new investment to get more clients on-board, expand its network of freelance professionals, and ramp up its current 55-member team.

“The idea is to grow our metrics by ten times over the next year,” said Murali, adding that the freelancers on TapChief’s platform together make a total of about USD 141,000 (INR 1 crore) per month.

TapChief was founded by BITS Pilani alumni  Murali, Binay Krishna, and Arjun Krishna in 2016 in their hostel room with “a larger goal to help people leverage their skills and earn better incomes”.

The first version of the product helped people book paid consultations with experts and professionals to understand whatever they were looking for. However, in 2018, the company made a pivot.

“Over a period of time, our users kept telling us that after consulting with experts, they knew what to do, but they didn’t have people who could execute it for them,” Murali said. “We started to realize this was also a huge problem.”

By early 2018, the company changed its focus and began connecting its clients with the people who could do the required work for them.

Murali said that initially he and his co-founders had a hard time convincing investors that white-collar workers in India would opt for freelancing sooner or later and that they were taking a shot at what would be a huge market going forward.

But at the end of the day, what everyone related to, he said, “is the fact that helping people make money is a good business.”