Apna, the “LinkedIn” for Indian Language Speakers, Raises Additional $ 70 Million

People wearing protective masks cross a road in front of the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CST) station in Mumbai | Photographer: Dhiraj Singh | Bloomberg

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Bangalore: Apna, an app startup that helps Indian blue-collar workers find jobs, has raised $ 70 million from Tiger Global and Insight Partners for a valuation of $ 570 million.

Existing investors Sequoia Capital India, Greenoaks Capital, Lightspeed India and Rocketship VC participated in the Series B round. Capital will contribute to technology upgrades, talent acquisition and expansion into the United States and Asia. Southeast, the Bangalore-based startup announced on Wednesday.

India was one of the hardest hit countries during Covid-19, although employment is picking up, a sign that Asia’s third-largest economy could turn a corner. Apna, whose app went live just before the pandemic, has grown 50-fold in the past 12 months thanks to unprecedented demand from segments like e-commerce and healthcare.

Former Apple Inc. executive Nirmit Parikh created Apna for fringe job seekers and calls it a kind of LinkedIn for non-English speaking, non-wealthy Indians. Users enter their name, age, and skills to generate a virtual business card which is then sent to potential employers.

“Things have become very difficult because of the pandemic and we are helping millions of people get hired,” Parikh, who is also managing director, said in a telephone interview. “Every job has a ripple effect of helping put food on the table or helping pay for children’s school fees, which is even more important in these times of Covid. “

Apna, which launched its product about 16 months ago, said it has raised more than $ 90 million in total. The app connects some 10 million job seekers such as delivery men, painters, salespeople and salon workers to over 100,000 employers from Burger King to Amazon.com Inc. It is now present in 14 cities and available in six languages, each a mixture of English and a local language.

Apna also offers training. The app offers micro-courses such as conversational English and successfully completing an online job interview. Its algorithms make hiring easier by matching candidates with the right employers and providing them with interview training.

When candidates fail an interview, Apna invites the candidate to learn specific skills. He categorized 4,000 skills, many of which are taught by partners or developed in-house. The app hosts communities for over 60 professions such as carpentry, painting, and sales, allowing users to access local networks, practice interviews, and teach themselves new skills.

“When you solve unemployment, you solve poverty, education and health care,” said Parikh, an MBA from Stanford University. Bloomberg

Read also : Young Indian workers most affected by pandemic, women much more vulnerable, according to EPFO ​​data

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