The first quarter of the year saw funding in HR tech and Worktech continue an upward trend in India. From an HR Tech platform solving for recruitment in Tier 2, 3, or 4 cities to an online learning platform that offers job-oriented courses in vernacular languages to a startup that simplifies the payroll process for small businesses, funding poured into startups solving for people and work issues. One of the biggest funding was raised by Zeta that secured $250 Mn in investment from SoftBank Vision Fund 2.
Meanwhile, in acquisitions, SaaS-based HR-tech startup, Dockabl got acquired by xto10x whose product suite that today includes 10xGoals (OKR strategy to execution platform) and 10xPeople (employee sentiment analysis and engagement platform).
Here’s a quick look at the significant fundraisings and acquisitions in the HR tech space and workspace in India in the first quarter of this year.
Fundraisings/ Investments from Apr-June 2021
GetWork: Delhi-based HR-Tech platform, GetWork raised Rs 2 Cr in seed funding led by Artha Venture Fund (AVF), India's first early-stage micro-VC fund. The round also saw the participation by the angel investors of India Accelerator. AVF bought a 16% stake in the on-campus recruitment platform. The startup plans to use the proceeds to grow its reach with employers and build tools that will help closing positions directly on its platform. The pandemic has made it difficult for employers of all sizes to recruit fresh graduates outside the significant colleges with well-staffed placement cells. GetWork's platform solves this issue and it also provides placements cells in Tier 2, 3, or 4 cities to improve their placement rate.
WiT-ACE: WiT-ACE (Women in Technology- Accelerated Career Experiences) announced it has raised $1 million as part of its first seed fund. This investment will be used by WiT-ACE, a one-year-old social impact organization, to scale up its tech platform as well as for its expansion and strategic partnerships. The round was led by founders of CitiusTech and CP Gurnani, CEO of Tech Mahindra also invested in the platform. Dexter Capital supported WiT-ACE for this fundraise.
LearnVern: Ahmedabad-based online learning platform LearnVern, raised over USD 1 Mn in funding from undisclosed international investors. The fund invests in strong teams that build solutions for Career and Skill Development. Launched in January 2020 by an entrepreneurial couple having 12+ Years of experience in the Training Business, LearnVern is an online learning platform that offers job-oriented courses in vernacular languages. The funding will be used to upgrade the technology with stronger web and mobile platforms, while also creating more courses in different languages to engage more students.
SalaryBox: SalaryBox, a startup that simplifies the payroll process for small businesses, has raised an undisclosed amount in its pre-seed funding round. GSF Accelerator led the round, with the participation of marquee individual investors Alok Mittal, CEO, Indifi; Amit Ranjan, ex-CoFounder, SlideShare; Sumit Jain, Co-Founder, CommonFloor; Surjendu Kuila, Co-Founder, Zopper. The startup would use the funds to accelerate product development and drive customer acquisition.
Plum: Plum, a group health insurance startup aiming to provide accessible and affordable health insurance to millions of Indians, has raised a $15.6 Mn in Series A led by Tiger Global with participation from earlier investors – Sequoia Capital India’s Surge, Tanglin Venture Partners, Incubate Fund and Gemba Capital. Angel investors in this round include Kunal Shah (founder, Cred), Gaurav Munjal, Roman Saini and Hemesh Singh (founders of Unacademy), Lalit Keshre, Harsh Jain and Ishan Bansal (founders of Groww), Ramakant Sharma & Anuj Srivastava (founders of Livspace), and Douglas Feirstein (founder of Hired). Plum is on a mission to accelerate the adoption of health insurance in India by making it accessible, affordable, and usable for employees.
Jobsgaar: Jobsgaar Technologies has raised $140,000 amount in fundraising from Hyderabad headquartered SucSEED Indovation Fund and other marquee Angels as part of its seed round. The group of angel investors includes marquee names including Rohit Chanana, Jasminder Singh Gulati, Poonam Kaul, Sunil Kamath, Mandeep Singh and Gunjan Paharia. New Delhi-based Jobsgaar was started in May 2020 by Atul Pratap Singh, with a vision to create an impact on migration trends within the country & help employers seamlessly connect with the workforce at their native place.
Apna: Apna, a professional networking and jobs platform for India’s rising working class, has raised a $70 million Series B round led by Insight Partners and Tiger Global. Existing investors, Sequoia Capital India, Lightspeed India, Greenoaks Capital and Rocketship VC have also participated in the round. Apna will use the proceeds to strengthen its presence in existing cities and expand pan-India over the next 6 months to help restart India’s economy as it recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Zeta: Zeta secured $250 Mn in investment from SoftBank Vision Fund 2. This Series C investment values Zeta at $1.45 BN. Financial Institutions (FIs) work with dozens of tech vendors - most offering discrete pieces of functionality and archaic stacks that are older than the internet. Zeta’s Omni Stack provides all the functionality that FIs need to launch new products relevant to consumers today. The proceeds of this funding round will be used to accelerate Zeta’s growth in the United States and Europe including scaling its operations, team, and platform to meet the demands of its expanding customer base.
UpGrad: Online higher education company upGrad raised US$120 Mn from Temasek, a global investment company headquartered in Singapore. This is the first external funding raised by the edtech major. UpGrad plans to use the fresh capital to further strengthen its team, scale its global market operations, bolster its technology and product capabilities, pursue M&A opportunities, expand graduate and post-graduate degree portfolio in India, and scale up operations to achieve its USD 2 billion revenue goal by 2026, thereby reinforcing its position as a global higher-edtech leader emerging from India.
Acquisitions from Apr-June 2021
Dockabl: With an aim to make scaling easier for organizations globally, xto10x - co-founded by Binny Bansal, Saikiran Krishnamurthy and Neeraj Aggarwal - has acquired SaaS-based HR-tech startup, Dockabl. The acquisition strengthens xto10x’s product suite that today includes 10xGoals (OKR strategy to execution platform) and 10xPeople (employee sentiment analysis and engagement platform). The full suite will now allow a comprehensive solution for organizations to align company objectives, link them to employees' performance, and manage feedback reviews, all on one single platform.
Zwayam: Leading consumer internet company Info Edge, which operates recruitment portal Naukri.com, has entered into an agreement to acquire 100 percent of the share capital of Zwayam Digital Pvt Ltd. The Bengaluru-based entity operates Zwayam, artificial intelligence and machine learning-powered recruitment management software platform. With this acquisition, Info Edge is hoping to streamline and accelerate digital transformation in talent management. Under the agreement, Zwayam will leverage the InfoEdge experience, ecosystem, and resources and invest more in the business to serve both existing and future customers better.