Jobs App for Poor Indian Workers Gets $8 Million From Investors

(Bloomberg) — Apna, an app startup that aims to connect millions of bottom-of-the-pyramid workers to employers amid the devastation of India’s lockdown, has raised $8 million from a clutch of investors.



a group of people waiting at a train station: A passenger wearing a handkerchief to cover his mouth and nose, center, walks through a platform of a train station in Mumbai, India, on Saturday, March 21, 2020. Authorities ordered all non-essential businesses in Mumbai and across the broader state to shut from midnight through the end of March to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus.


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A passenger wearing a handkerchief to cover his mouth and nose, center, walks through a platform of a train station in Mumbai, India, on Saturday, March 21, 2020. Authorities ordered all non-essential businesses in Mumbai and across the broader state to shut from midnight through the end of March to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus.

The funding, from new investors Greenoaks Capital, Rocketship VC as well as existing backers Lightspeed India and Sequoia Capital, will help the app expand to more cities, the Indian firm said in a statement published Tuesday. It also wants to grow across verticals such as accounting, customer service and nursing. Currently, Apna is in five cities.

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The startup, founded by Apple Inc. alum Nirmit Parikh, is a sort of LinkedIn for non-English-speaking, poorer Indians. The app helps first-time internet users access job opportunities by entering their name, age, and skills to generate a virtual “business card” that’s shared with potential employers. Less than a year after its December launch, Apna has 1.2 million users.

It generated over a million job interviews in the last month for workers like carpenters, painters and field sales agents, growing over 3X month-on-month, according to the company. The firm added that Amazon.com, online grocer BigBasket, and HDFC Bank Ltd. have hired through the app.

“There are over 250 million blue and grey collar workers in India,” Harshjit Sethi, principal at Sequoia Capital India, said in the note announcing the funding. “Apna has built a unique product where users quickly come together in professional communities, an unmet need so far.”

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