India’s HR-tech startup Apna said it has raised USD 12.5 million in its Series A+ round co-led by Sequoia Capital India and Greenoaks Capital. Prior to this, Apna had raised USD 8 million in Series A round in September last year from Lightspeed India and Rocketship.vc, which also participated in this round.
Founded in 2019, Apna, which means ‘our’ in Hindi, acts as a marketplace for employers and professional blue– and grey-collared job seekers such as electricians, beauticians, chemical engineers, office assistants, content writers, among others. It uses a data-science-led algorithm to match candidates with employers taking into account their skills, years of experience, and several other needs.
The fresh investment will be used to strengthen its position in existing cities, enter new cities including international expansion, and build new products. Currently, the company is present in seven Indian cities and is looking to enter Southeast Asia and the US market.
The company has managed to rope in top-tier employers such as edtech unicorn Byju’s, e-commerce major Flipkart, food-delivery giant Swiggy, hospital chain Fortis, among others, as its clients.
In addition, Apna also acts as a social media platform for job seekers, allowing them to interact with each other on its app. People learn new skills from each other, get tips for upcoming interviews, share accomplishments with the group, among others. The social media feature, the company said, helps people to upskill themselves with their peers’ help and increase their scope of work.
“Over the last six months we have facilitated 16 million-plus recruiter-candidate interactions and over 30 million work-related conversations where users have helped each other to start a business, find a gig or learn a new skill,” Nirmit Parikh, founder and CEO, Apna, said in a statement.
The company is targeting semi- and low-skilled professionals, many of whom are first-time internet users from India’s tier 2 and 3 cities. It claims to have over six million users on the platform who stand a chance to get recruited by 80,000-plus employers that have partnered with Apna.
“Apna has taken a jobs-centric approach to upskilling that we are very excited about. Lack of accountability has been the core issue with current skill / vocational learning alternatives for grey and blue-collar workers,” said Vaibhav Agrawal, partner at Lightspeed India.