Globally, the HR technology marketplace is a $400 billion market. While it is a budding market in India, reports suggest that India is expected to grow at the rate of about 25 percent in the next 5 years, and that by 2021, Indian firms can save at least $600 million annually with HR tech.
The writing on the wall is loud and clear – HR is the new investment domain for players. A part of this growth was observed in 2017 with a plethora of HR startups funding.
To assume that this surge of interest in HR has spiked sporadically is not correct. The growth in the HR tech startup segment has been consistent for quite some time. With the fundamental role of HR evolving to evidence and content-based strategizing, technology has facilitated a transition of the perception, function and capability of HR, aiding its accession to becoming an equal (and more vocal) stakeholder in business.
With rules being re-written in every sub-function of HR, be it talent acquisition, learning and development, employee engagement or succession planning, HR tech startups have stepped-up to provide unique, efficient and cost-effective solutions offering a wide variety of products and services.
A fleeting glance at the developments that have taken place in the domain this year attests to the comprehensiveness of solutions on offer: from HackerEarth overhauling the culture, Darwinbox providing end-to-end services for the employee cycle, to Param.ai automating screening processes – the field is witnessing an intensive focus.
This proliferation has been propelled by the interest and value that organizations, both big and small, have conferred on HR tech solutions. Organizations providing technology-based HR solutions are able to justify the importance of their work, as the impact they create is measurable and directly affects numbers and performance. Thus, a clear need for HR tech solutions, combined with an ever-increasing interest by industry leaders to make HR efficient, and the recognition of the fact that HR can step-up to deliver more value, is laying an unshakable foundation for hefty investments, rapid innovation and swift growth in the domain, giving birth to many startups. As per reports, in 2016, India’s share in the global HR tech market was $0.51 Billion, while the overall HR Market share of India was $660-700 million1.
In 2016, 65 investment deals were reported in India and several such deals with impressive numbers continued to grab headlines in 2017. We highlight some of these deals:
The year 2017 started off with a bang as recruitment startup Belong raised USD 10 million from Sequoia Capital to expand its client base and improve product. Along with this, Private equity fund Multiples Alternate Asset Management bought a controlling stake of about USD 62 million2 in HR outsourcing and tech firm PeopleStrong through a combination of primary and secondary investments.
The 2011 founded HR startup PMaps Assessment raised its first external funding from a group of Pune-based investors led by angel investor Shubhangi Jadhav, for expansion, technological development and operations.
HackerEarth, with a plan to bring ‘hacker culture’ into corporate companies, secured USD 4.5 million Series A funding round. The funding was led by DHI Group and also saw participation from Japanese quartet Beenext, Beenos, Digital Garage, BizReach and existing investor Prime Venture Partners.
Info Edge (India) by acquiring AmbitionBox, bought over its domain, content and business to strengthen the service suite offerings for Naukri and make job search a more holistic experience.
A campus hiring solutions company VibrantMinds Technologies Pvt. Ltd. was acquired by Ahmedabad-based networking and learning platform for AlmaMapper Technologies Pvt. Ltd. This acquisition was aimed to help AlmaMapper to expand its services across India and get access to more than 300 companies.
Darwinbox raised USD 4 million in Series A round of funding for product innovation and market expansion. The funding was led by Lightspeed India Partners along with existing investors Endiya Partners, Mohandas Pai’s 3one4 Capital and Startupxseed Ventures.
Zeta, a digital payments and meal vouchers company invested USD 0.7 - 1.5 million to buy a minority stake of less than 9 percent in human resources solutions entity ZingHR to expand its client base and strengthen technology platform.
To strengthen its position in the blue collar jobs segment, the online classifieds portal Quikr India Pvt. Ltd. acquired Babajobs. This deal combined the two largest Indian aspiring job players—Babajob and QuikrJobs into one entity.
Mumbai-based online marketplace for recruitment, Aasaanjobs, acquired Noida-based mHire (a recruitment platform focused on skilled and semi-skilled, blue and grey collar entry-level jobs) to strengthen Aasaanjob’s position in North India and get mHire’s partners and clients on board.
JustCode, a New York-based interviewing platform acquired Jobspire, a Bengaluru-based online job recruitment platform to extend JustCode’s operations in the country and to further strengthen its core products for employers.
With the aim of strengthening its presence in Bengaluru and for offering assistance to its community, Sheroes acquired Women Restart, a Bengaluru-based online career restart platform. Women Restart acts as a support system for women wanting to make a career comeback by helping them in developing job readiness.
ABC Consultants made a Series A investment in QuezX and merged its online business unit, HeadHonchos, with the operations of QuezX. The goal was to redefine the way recruitment is done. The combined entity serves employers, recruitment agencies and candidates with a database of over 4 million professionals.
HR tech startup Shortlist raised a seed investment of USD 1 million which saw the participation of University Ventures, Impact investment firm ImpactAssets, US-based Bodley Group, Kenya-based seed fund Zephyr Acorn, Samir Shah of Sattva Capital and several other investors from both, India and the US. The fresh funds were planned to be utilized for further enhancing Shortlist’s data-driven talent screening product assessments.
Bengaluru-based Skillenza secured about USD 0.7 million in a seed round led by Blume Ventures and Indian Angel Network to boost skill assessment modules, increas user engagement and build expertise in the challenge-centric domain. Other investors included Aneesh Reddy from Capillary Technologies, SurojitNiyogi from HomeBit, TaxiForSure Founder Raghunandan G, PallavNadhani of FusionCharts, and Tracxn.
T Rowe Price, one of the world’s largest asset management firms bought 5 percent in listed recruitment and staffing company TeamLease Services for about USD 24.8 million.
Staffing firm TeamLease Services acquired 40.2 percent stake in online learning company Schoolguru Eduserve with an aim to accelerate TeamLease's employability strategy.
EdGE Networks Secured $4.5 million to strengthen technology, expand team, and improve its core product capabilities while also extending operations to new geographies.
Indian staffing firm, Quess Corp, signed a definitive agreement to acquire 51 percent equity in Trimax Smart Infraprojects for cash consideration of up to USD 0.3 million. This stake would help Trimax in gaining relevant experience and qualification for future smart city projects.
Shortlist, a talent assessment tech startup based out of India acquired Africa acquired Nairobi-based talent development company, Spire Education, to guide HR professionals and candidates through hiring and onboarding, and coaching employees on the job.
Param.ai has raised USD 0.27 million in seed funding from US-based Institutional Fund Core Financials LLC and National award winner actor AshishVidyarthi. Param.ai is a predictive intelligence recruitment solution and supports companies to automate their hiring tasks using AI.
The timeline depicts few of the activities which were reported in media. Numerous other such capital investment projects in HR Tech startups were in discussion or occurred but were not reported.
2. The amount was not officially confirmed.