HR tech platform Darwinbox turned unicorn after a $72 million series D round from TCV, Salesforce Ventures, Sequoia India, Lightspeed and others in the last quarter of FY22. During the same financial year period, the Hyderabad-based company managed to grow its revenue by more than two-fold.
Darwinbox registered a 2.33X jump in scale to Rs 116.7 crore in FY22 from Rs 50 crore in FY21, as per the consolidated financial statements filed with the Registrar of Companies.
Darwinbox is a cloud-based integrated HR technology product that covers solutions including recruitment, payroll, employee engagement, talent management and people analytics across the employee life cycle.
As per Fintrackr’s analysis, membership subscription fee was the primary source of revenue for the company contributing 81% of the collections which ballooned 2.4X to Rs 94.55 crore in FY22 from Rs 38.99 crore in FY21.
Rest of the operating income came from its consultancy services for implementation and integration which grew 2X to Rs 22.15 crore in FY22 from Rs 11 crore in FY21.
On the cost side, employee benefit expenses formed 57.1% of the overall expenditure. This cost grew over 2.5X to Rs 104.1 crore during FY22. This also included Rs 11.88 crore as ESOP expenses (non-cash). The company had around 1,000 employees in 2022 and it aims to increase its employee count to 2,000-2500 in the next two years.
Information technology was the second largest cost for the company which surged 2.85X to Rs 28.35 crore during FY22. The cost of legal and professional fees also jumped 3.6X to Rs 15.76 crore in FY22.
The company added another Rs 5.93 crore as advertisement and promotional expenses which catalyzed the overall expenditure by 2.86X to Rs 182.39 crore in FY22 from Rs 63.6 crore in FY21.
With the surge of over two folds in the cost, losses of the company spiked 7.6X to Rs 66.58 crore in FY22 from Rs 8.71 crore in FY21. With this, cash outflow from operations also ballooned 6.1X to Rs 59.6 crore in the last fiscal year.
During the last funding round Darwinbox claimed that its India business is profitable and the firm eyes profitability at group level by 2025. After the Series D round, it also raised around $9 million from Microsoft and State Bank of India (SBI). In collaboration with Microsoft, the firm eyes $100 million (approx Rs 8,000 crore) annual run rate (ARR) in the next couple of years.
Moving to the ratios, the ROCE and EBITDA margins of the company worsened to -8.33% and -48.45% respectively in FY22. The company spent Rs 1.56 to earn a single unit of operating revenue in the last fiscal year.
Besides India, Darwinbox operates in Indonesia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, UAE, and the US. It has plans to mark its entry into Japan and Australia and then Europe and Latin America. With more than 700 clients and 2 million users, the seven-year-old company is also planning to go for an IPO in the next 2-3 years.
Darwinbox displays all the signs of a promising firm with proven market fit running on steroids or VC money. The high burn rate and quick expansion will be sustainable only when the firm breaks even in more than one key geography like India, as it claims. Otherwise, in these uncertain times firms can frequently risk burning out as fast as they rise and dazzle, if VC money boosters become unavailable for the next stage of growth. Or comes with an even more demanding ask.