Apna, an employment platform for blue-collar staffers has been estimated at $1.1 billion (Series C) in just 22 months since it originated, with the investment of $100 million from Tiger Global Management. It is one of the quickest Indian startups to become a unicorn. Established by past Apple executive Nirmit Parikh, Apna- which does not make money still has 16 million users and 1.5 lakh job providers on their platform.
Apna’s valuation in this series multiplied from $500 million in June when it had raised $70 million in the Series-B round. Lightspeed Venture Partners, Insight Partners, Owl Ventures, Maverick Ventures, GSV Ventures, and Sequoia India already invested in it.
“We are going to build the biggest skill-tech platform the world has ever seen. We have grown like crazy and there are 2.3 billion people in the world who need this,” Parikh told Media over Zoom from San Francisco.
The investors’ enthusiasm proceeds as Apna has shown notable growth in the recent few months. The startup has garnered 16 million users on their 15 months old Android application. India has many millions of less-skilled people who come from villages to find some work. Many of them failed their previous jobs amid the lockdown and covid-19 pandemic. It has reduced and delayed various economic activities in the Asian market.
Apna came up with an idea to build a community for such workers through their app. In this platform, they interact with each other, share notes about interviews, group discussions, and tips for better wages.
Now the startup, which has begun to monetize the platform, is ready to aggressively grow. Parikh said Apna will proceed to expand to more cities in India and by early next year, then Apna will start its global expansion.
“We have already created a dent. Now we want to impact the lives of 2.3 billion,” he said. “We will require crazy amounts of resources and a world-class team to deliver. It’s a herculean task, and is going to take a village. But somebody has to solve it.”
Parikh, a Stanford University alumnus, says he worked for short periods on shop floors, as an electrician, foreman and cashier, to understand the challenges of these sectors, before he started Apna. “Building a product is like making music. You can’t make good music unless you go through the emotions and feel them,” he stated.
The startup deal makes Apna India’s 27th unicorn of 2021- startups valued at over a billion dollars, in a record-breaking year for venture funding.