According to Apna’s founder, Apna is “kind of like LinkedIn for non-English speaking and non-affluent Indians.”
Apna, a job-finding app for India’s blue-collar employees, has secured $70 million from Tiger Global and Insight Partners, valuing the company at $570 million.
Sequoia Capital India and Lightspeed India were among the existing investors in the Series B fundraising round. The funds will be used to upgrade technology, hire more employees, and expand into the United States and Southeast Asia.
India has been one of the worst-affected countries in Covid-19, but employment is improving, indicating that Asia’s third-largest economy is turning the corner. Apna, which launched right before the pandemic, has increased 50 times in the last year due to tremendous demand from industries including as e-commerce and health care.
Nirmit Parikh, a former Apple Inc. executive, created Apna for job seekers on the fringes, describing it as “a LinkedIn for non-English speaking, non-affluent Indians.” Users can create a virtual business card by entering their name, age, and abilities, which is then distributed to potential employers.
In a phone conversation, Parikh, who is also the company’s chief executive officer, said, “Things got really rough because of the pandemic, and we’re helping millions get recruited.” “Each employment has a ripple effect by assisting in the provision of food or the payment of school fees for children, all of which is even more necessary in these difficult times.”
Apna says it has raised more than $90 million in total since launching its product 16 months ago. The app connects 10 million job seekers, including delivery drivers, painters, salespeople, and salon employees, with over 100,000 companies, like Burger King and Amazon.com Inc. It’s currently available in 14 cities and six languages, each of which is a mix of English and a local vernacular.
Apna also provides training services. Micro-courses in conversational English and acing an online job interview are available through the app. Its algorithms make the hiring process go more smoothly by pairing candidates with the proper businesses and giving interview preparation.
When candidates fail an interview, Apna encourages them to develop certain skills. It has classified 4,000 talents, many of which are taught or created in-house by partners. The app features groups for over 60 professions, including carpentry, painting, and sales, allowing users to connect with local professionals, practise interviews, and teach one another new skills.
“When you solve for unemployment, you are also solving for poverty, education, and health care,” said Parikh, a Stanford University MBA graduate.