Apna, a Bengaluru-based start-up app, which has gained popularity for helping people find blue-collar jobs amid the COVID-19 pandemic, has raised $70 million dollars (₹513 crore) from Tiger Global and Insight Partners at a valuation of $570 million, Bloomberg reported.
Investors like Sequoia Capital India, Lightspeed India, Greenoal Rocketship VC also participated in the series B round.
Apna told Bloomberg that the fund will reportedly help it in fine-tuning its technology, acquire talent and expand its base to the US and Southeast Asia.
The app that was launched by former Apple Inc. executive Nirmit Parikh just before the COVID-19 outbreak last year, has reportedly grown 50 times in the past 12 months due to a huge surge in demand for e-commerce and health care jobs.
“Things got very tough because of the pandemic and we’re helping millions get hired,” Parikh, the company’s CEO told Bloomberg.
Parikh describes the app a platform akin to LinkedIn, but for non-English speakers and non-affluent Indians. Job seeks using the app are required to punch in their name, age and skill to generate a virtual business card which in turn is sent to potential employers.
“Each job has a ripple effect by helping put food on the table or helping kids’ school fees, all of which is even more important in these COVID times,” he said.
The app at present caters to the employment needs of skilled professionals from 60 communities including carpenters, painters, beauticians, delivery personnel and field sales agents among others.
“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,” Parikh told PTI.
The app has a user base of 10 million and boasts to be associated with over a lakh employers from different sections including Amazon and Burger King. The company has raised over $90 million in total. The application is operational in 14 Indian cities and available in six languages.
Besides, the app also offer nine training courses for job seekers including classes in English and getting through an online job interview.
Best of all, it encourages candidates. When a candidate fails to find a job, the app prompts them to learn a particular skill to make it the next time.