Funding and acquisitions in the Indian HR tech and work space: Oct-Dec 2021
The second quarter of the second year of the pandemic saw funding in HR tech and Worktech continue an upward trend globally. Investment continued to pour in the third quarter as well. Notable among these were HR tech startup FloCareer raising $5.7 million in Series-A funding, Monster.com, one of India’s leading online talent platform raising INR 137.5 Cr in a funding round while enterprise skilling startup Disprz raised $13 Mn in a Series B funding.
Here’s a quick look at the significant fundraisings in the HR tech space and workspace in India in the third quarter of this year.
Funding/ Investments in India from Oct-Dec 2021
Smartstaff: Bengaluru based blue-collar workforce management platform Smartstaff raised $4.3 million in seed funding lead by Blume Ventures, Nexus Venture Partners and Arkam Ventures, along with investments from Gemba Capital and some other companies. The company offers blue-collar staff hiring solutions to several companies and helps them digitise the workforce. The funding aims at making access to work easier and provide better employment to more than 100 million Indian blue-collar workers, by leveraging technology.
FloCareer: HR tech startup FloCareer has raised $5.7 million in Series-A funding from Data Point Capital along with the participation of Uncorrelated Ventures and Orios Venture Partners. FloCareer helps hiring companies across the globe by conducting technical rounds of interviews through gig workers on its video interviewing platform, by leveraging more than 3,000 industry experienced freelance interviewers across the world. FloCareer will use this capital to strengthen its position as a leader in gig-workers powered video interview platforms in the US and India.
AuthBridge: Leading authentication solutions providers AuthBridge raised an undisclosed amount in Series A funding. The round was led by Infinity Alternatives, a boutique asset manager which currently manages/advises more than US USD 100mn in assets for multiple family offices. AuthBridge will leverage the funding to further strengthen the technology, hire top talent and launch new growth initiatives as the company will continue to add value to the clients. In December, it further raised $7 Mn (around Rs 52 crore) in a Series B funding round by private equity (PE) firm Phi Capital, becoming their latest investment through their Phi Capital Growth Fund (PCGF).
Spottabl: SaaS-enabled full-stack hiring platform Spottabl, has announced that it has raised a seed round of INR 3.5 Crores. The round saw participation from Paradigm Shift VC, Binny Bansal, Cofounder of Flipkart and xto10x, LetsVenture, and few former top Executives from Flipkart like Mekin Maheshwari, Founder Udhyam.org, Rishi Vasudev, Co-founder G.O.A.T Brand Labs, Anil Goteti Co-founder Protonn, and Nishant Verman, Co-founder Bzaar. Spottabl will utilize the funds towards building a scalable self-serve product and start growth initiatives for capturing recruiter agency supply.
Advantage Club: Advantage Club raised nearly $5 Mn from Y-Combinator, Jetty Ventures, Earlsfield Capital, SMC Advisors, Kunal Shah and others. The AI-driven employee engagement and benefits platform raised $3.3 Million from Jetty Ventures, Earlsfield Capital, SMC Advisors and other investors. This is an add-on to the recent round of $1.7 Mn from Y Combinator, Broom ventures, Kunal Shah and others. With this latest round of funding, Advantage Club aims to expand its operations further worldwide and add more tech-led products and continue investing in AI and machine learning to improve its product offerings.
GENLEAP: DNA based self-discovery, upskilling and employability platform GENLEAP raised 60 crores from marquee investors in its seed round. Some marquee investors that were a part of this round included Vivek Vaidya of Super(set)start up studio; Kevin Donlon, Managing Member, Stono River Partners LLC; Mike Holland, Neeraj Bansal; Ayush Singh, President & CEO- Restech Global; Mohit Juneja, Director, Mas Infratech Pvt Ltd; Rashed Mahmood, CEO & Director, Dipon Group; and many more. Headquartered in Gurugram, the platform provides a unique DNA based self-discovery, upskilling and employability complete career lifecycle management.
Disprz: Leading enterprise skilling startup Disprz raised $13 Mn in a Series B funding round led by Dallas Venture Capital and Mars Growth Capital. The round also saw participation from existing investors Go1 (an Australian unicorn in this space), Tara India Fund IV being managed by KOIS, Auctus Capital (Family office of Vikas Phadnis, Co-Founder of Eurokids) and Kae Capital (a leading seed fund). Disprz will use this investment further to scale up product and engineering teams, establish a sales and marketing division in the US, expand its existing presence in South East Asia and Middle East markets, and invest in building industry-specific product solutions.
SalaryBox: SalaryBox, an employee management app for small enterprises, raised $4 million in seed funding from Silicon Valley-based startup accelerator Y Combinator and others to further its endeavor of bringing blue-collar workers into the formal economy. Investors including DoorDash Inc.’s Gokul Rajaram, former Tinder and Spotify executive Sriram Krishnan and former Facebook executive Anand Chandraskeran participated in the fundraising. The capital will be used for hiring, building new products and features into the app, and expanding the user base.
Inzpira: Inzpira , an AI-enabled, on-demand live language learning & soft-skills training platform for adults and kids, announced that it has raised Rs. 2.3 crores as part of its seed funding round. The current round was led by Raj Nair, Chairman, Avalon Consulting, and Gopinath Latpate, Executive Director, JLL. The startup plans to utilize the fresh funds to improve its tech platform, enhance brand presence and expand its customer base.
Greytip Software: Info Edge will invest Rs 30 Cr in HR tech firm Greytip Software by acquiring 3,58,581 Series-D compulsorily convertible debentures (CCDs) having a face value of ₹836.631 per Series-D CCD. The company's total shareholding, after this investment will be 28.73 per cent on a fully converted and diluted basis. Greytip Software is an HR and payroll SaaS firm focused on serving SME customers in India and abroad, with its software solutions covering all areas, including employee information management, leave and attendance management, payroll and expense claims. It helps companies in streamlining HR operations and enhancing employee experience, thereby increasing productivity.
Zappyhire: Zappyhire, an artificial intelligence-based recruitment platform raised INR 3.71 crore from the Kerala Angel Network and from Alex K. Babu, Founder, and CMD, Hedge Finance Limited. The round also witnessed the participation of strategic investors such as Shihab Muhammed, Ex-Co-Founder of Freshservice (Freshdesk), Navas Meeran, Chairman, Eastern Condiments Pvt. Ltd., Dr. M. I. Sahadulla, Rajesh Nair - Associate Partner EY, Chairman & Managing Director, KIMS, and K. Paul Thomas, Founder of ESAF Group of Social Enterprises
Lernern: Lernern, an EdTech company providing apprenticeship, upskilling & further education opportunities to blue-collar workers raised a total of $ 1 Mn USD from its investors in seed funding. The investors in the angel round include OOB Ventures Pte. Ltd., seed investor & board member and Kunal Solanki, and elea Foundation for Ethics in Globalization along with other individual investors. The newly infused capital will be deployed to develop the platform to meet the specific requirements of blue-collar workers in the workplace and provides for synchronous & asynchronous learning and ramp up its partnerships with relevant employers in the manufacturing & services sectors.
Keka HR: HR tech platform Keka HR raised $ 1.6 Mn funding which amounts to about 12 crores INR. The round was led by Recur Club, a subscription based financial services platform. Keka will use the funds for growth and customer acquisition by investing in marketing and sales.
Skillr: Hiring platform Skillr, which helps companies identify and hire skilled talent, raised $1.2 Million in its pre-seed round. The company’s pre-seed round of funding is backed by leading angel investors such as Binny Bansal (Co-founder, Flipkart), Caesar Sengupta (Co-founder, Arbo Works, and former VP, Next Billion Users, Google), Kunal Shah (Founder, CRED), Arun Seth (Chairman, NASSCOM), Amrish Rau (CEO, Pine labs), along with other angels. The funds will be used to build a strong team, boost product development, and co-build powerful hiring solutions with early customers in India and the United States.
Monster.com: Monster.com, a Quess company, and one of India’s leading online talent platform, raised INR 137.5 Cr in a funding round led by prominent industry leaders – Akash Bhanshali (Volrado Venture Partners) and Mohandas Pai (Meridian Investments) with participation from Quess. Post the funding round the company is valued at close to USD 100 million. The current close has been done at INR 112.5 crore with an option built-in to expand the round to INR 137.5 crore. The funds raised will be utilized towards enhanced investments on product development & marketing in India, SEA and Middle East markets. This investment will help Monster.com evolve from a Job-board into a talent platform delivering full stack experience for both candidates and companies.
Acquisitions in India from Oct-Dec 2021
Oust Labs: BetterPlace, technology platform for blue and grey collar workforce management, announced the acquisition of Oust Labs – a micro-learning SaaS platform tailor made for upskilling and training distributed workforces in an all cash deal. Headquartered in Cupertino, California, Oust Labs has built a proprietary methodology of delivering learning outcomes through its mobile-first gamified application. With this acquisition, BetterPlace takes another big step towards enhancing its end-to-end workforce management offerings to enterprise businesses.
Coding Minutes: Scaler (by InterviewBit) announced the acquisition of online learning platform Coding Minutes for USD 1 Mn in an all-cash deal. With the acquisition of Coding Minutes, Scaler will focus on building specialised content that effectively engages the beginner-level tech aspirant. This acquisition allows Scaler to tailor content towards students and professionals who want to enter the tech industry and have no background in coding or programming. Additionally, it bolsters Scaler’s instructor and engineering teams.
OLX People and Waah Jobs: BetterPlace announced the strategic acquisition of OLX People and Waah Jobs to strengthen its portfolio of workforce management solutions and become one of the largest providers of solutions in the blue and grey collar gig staffing ecosystem. Post acquisition, the new joint entity will use proprietary technology that will empower organizations to manage the complete lifecycle of their blue-collar workforce from a single platform that includes hassle-free hiring of new employees, temporary workforce expansion, and managing large worker setups across its clients.
Jigsaw Academy: UNext Learning, the Manipal Group-backed ed tech learning acquired India’s leading data science and emerging technologies institute, Jigsaw Academy. With this transaction, UNext Learning will further strengthen its higher education offerings by adding specialised professional certifications in trending domains shaping the business world today.
Happay: Credit card bill payments platform, CRED announced to buy Happay in a cash and stock deal. The current valuation of the expense management firm stands at approximately $180 Mn. Founded in 2012 by Varun Rathi and Anshul Rai, Happay manages work-related expenses for over 1 Mn users globally with approximately $1 Bn in annual spending.. With this acquisition, CRED aims to utilise Happay's software stack and in-house payment engine and complement the card management experience that CRED members enjoy for their personal expenses.