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Apna raises $100 Mn led by Tiger Global to become unicorn


Professional networking platform for blue and grey collar workers Apna said it has scooped up $100 million in its Series C round led by existing investor Tiger Global Management at a valuation of $1.1 billion, making it one of the fastest startups to achieve the coveted unicorn status. 

The new round also saw investments from Owl Ventures, Insight Partners, Sequoia Capital India, Maverick Ventures and GSV Ventures.

Entrackr had exclusively reported about Apna’s fundraise earlier this month. 

This financing round comes three months after the company had raised $70 million in its Series B fundraise in June, co-led by Insight Partners and Tiger Global. At the time, it was valued at $570 million. 

According to Apna’s founder and CEO Nirmit Parikh, the startup will use the funds to expand its platform across India. Proceeds will also be used for international expansion and to enter the upskilling segment for the blue and grey-collared workforce. It also plans to ramp up hiring across engineering and product functions.

“We have registered a 125-fold growth in our business and facilitated over 100 million interviews over the past 15 months. Over the last month alone, Apna facilitated over 18 million interviews, and we have been consistently showcasing strong performance…employment for the rising workforce is a large opportunity with almost 2.3 billion individuals falling under the category,” Parikh claimed. 

The fundraise also made Apna, founded in December 2019, one of the fastest to become a unicorn. InMobi’s Glance and Ola Electric attained unicorn status within two years of their launch. B2B e-commerce platform Udaan also took around two years to turn into a unicorn. Kunal Shah’s CRED joined the list within 29 months of its official launch.

Apna is the 27th startup to achieve unicorn status in 2021 alone. On Wednesday, e-sports and skill gaming platform Mobile Premier League became a unicorn.

Only last month, seven startups including Zetwerk, Grofers, Eruditus, CoinDCX, upGrad, MindTickle and BharatPe had raised their fresh round at unicorn valuation.

Apna’s biz model and traction

Apna provides better skilling and job opportunities to candidates by enabling vertical communities for painters, field sales agents, carpenters, among others on its platform. 

With a presence in about 15 cities, Apna claims to address the urgent and critical hiring needs of top companies in India. The list includes Zomato, Burger King, Bharti-AXA, Delhivery, Teamlease, G4S Global, Swiggy, Shadowfax and 1mg among others.

According to the company’s website, it has over 10 million users and has provided jobs to over 1.5 million candidates since its inception in early 2020.

Competition and past attempts at blue and grey collar hiring space

The company competes with OLX and Quikr’s blue and grey collar verticals, WorkIndia, TeamLease and several others. Baba Jobs and Aasaan Jobs were two prominent early attempts in space. However, both companies didn’t scale as expected and eventually consolidated with Quikr and OLX respectively. 

On Wednesday, Vahan, a job marketplace of blue-collar workers, raised $8 million worth Series A round led by Silicon Valley-based investor Khosla Ventures. 

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