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Apna.co - Professional Networking Platform
Founded in 2019, Apna.co became one of India's fastest unicorns in just 21 months from inception.
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Founded in 2019, Bengaluru-headquartered Apna.co is India’s leading professional networking and job opportunities platform for blue and grey collar employees. The platform helps first-time internet users access professional opportunities, gain new skills, collaborate with others, and create communities that can help motivate them.
Apna.co is used by more than 200,000 leading companies like Zomato, Flipkart, Unacademy, Licious, Burger King, Bharti-AXA, Byju’s Delhivery, G4S Global, Shadowfax, Dunzo, Teamlease, and more. It has also collaborated with governmental and private institutions like UNICEF YuWaah, The National Skill Development Corporation, and the Ministry of Minority Affairs to help applicants gain new skills.
In just 21 months, the platform became one of India’s fastest unicorns with Tiger Global’s $100M investment and is now valued at $1.1B. With marquee investors like Insight Partners, Tiger Global, LightspeedIndia, Sequoia Capital India, Rocketship.VC and Greenoaks Capital, the company has managed to raise $193.5M in funds until now.
Business Overview & Products
At the moment, Apna.co has three areas of focus. There is a marketplace for jobs, a professional social networking platform, and an upskilling business. The company offers the following services:
Hiring: Employers can browse through hundreds of candidates to find the right one for their required job.
Job Board: Jobseeker can create a profile online, search for local job openings in the city, apply for jobs, schedule interviews and keep track of job applications.
Learning new skills: A platform to learn English, improve and gain new skills, and prepare for interviews.
Business group: A group for entrepreneurs, where they share information on government grants, loans, and benefits available for businesses and how to apply for them.
Government Exam Preparation: A group for government exam aspirants, where they share, practice, & solve questions and test papers for various government exams to prepare for government jobs.
The company operates in 28 cities and is accessible in 11 languages. It has plans of expanding to the US, Middle East, Southeast Asia, and Africa in 2022.
How It Works
Apna.co aims to connect people with opportunities and workers with employees. The company’s app which is accessible in 11 languages has over 70 communities for specialized professions like carpenters, beauticians, field sales representatives, painters, etc.
On the app, workers looking for jobs enter their personal information like talents, education, and experience, which is then automatically converted into virtual business cards. These cards are passed on to potential employers based on the workers’ skill sets and preferences. After finding an opportunity they like, job seekers phone the company directly, schedule an interview, and get hired. The company claims that the hiring process only takes 48 hours.
As soon as the applicant applies for a job, the platform makes him take a basic test, after which the recruiter snaps up the applicant in a few hours. However, if the applicant fails the interview, the platform prompts him to learn new skills that will make him eligible for the job. Within 24 hours, the applicant is upskilled, ready to apply for the job again. The app provides courses such as conversational English and acing a job interview and has categorized 4,000 skills, which are either taught by partners or developed in-house.
The app is also used by applicants to connect with other job seekers, sharing leads and suggestions with them to make their job hunt easier. Often just interacting with other users and listening to their tips and tricks helps an applicant land a job.
Recruiters use the app to reach out to applicants all around the world. They then advertise job openings, interact with prospects, arrange interviews, and recruit employees. A quick look at the candidate’s digital persona tells the recruiter whether the candidate has the necessary abilities for the position as well as whether he’ll be able to fit in or not.
Business Model & Pricing
Apna.co has a B2B2C business model where it connects candidates on a hunt for jobs to employers looking to recruit employees. The app is completely free for applicants looking to get hired and that is one of the main reasons why it’s so popular amongst the masses. Currently, the company is focused on creating value and is not capitalizing on its educational products like courses that help upskills candidates, prepare them for job interviews and as a result, increase their chances of getting a job. However, it does charge recruiters for the technical services provided to them which makes up for their entire revenue.
In the future, the premium version of the app would only charge job seekers that need extra help to gain new skills. However, the company has no plans to pollute the app with advertisements, missing out on a major revenue stream.
Apna.co is India’s largest professional networking platform as well as the country’s fastest unicorn. Even though it’s still in its pre-revenue stage, it has managed to earn $2.2M operating revenue in 2021 which is a 3.24x increase from its $690K revenue in 2020. The company has grown north of 125x over the last year and the rate is only increasing every month. Apna.co claims to have a presence in over 50 cities, including major ones like Mumbai, Delhi, Pune, etc and has over 5 million active jobs on its platform. In 2022 the platform claimed to have served over 200,000 employers by conducting more than 170 million interviews as well as enabling 200 million peer-to-peer conversations.
The company is reported to have over 22 million users and has a 95 percent retention rate on its platform. Moreover, during the pandemic, it saw a 430% increase in its female users, with a 12x increase in women interviewing on the platform in 2021 as compared to 2020. According to The State of Mobile 2022 report, Apna.co is the most downloaded app globally in the business category after Whatsapp Business.
In 2022, it plans to cover all of India and expand its footprints to the US, Southeast Asia, the Middle East, and Africa. It also plans on developing Master-class style skilling courses, result or job-based skilling, and peer-to-peer learning. It also includes career counseling and a resume-building function to its platform.
Founder & Team
Nirmit Parikh: CEO and Co-Founder at Apna.co.co. Nirmit, a Stanford graduate previously founded Cruxbot and Incone Technologies. He also worked as Product and Strategy Officer at Apple and as Director of New Products / Data Analytics at Intel Corporation.
History & Evolution
In his early 20s, Nirmit Parikh founded his first startup, Incone Technologies, an automatic dam control system. A few years later he merged the startup with his family business and focused on solving the problems of floods, using artificial Intelligence-based control systems.
After three years, Nirmit founded Cruxbot – a platform that summarized websites – which was acquired by Kno and then Intel. He then moved to Silicon Valley and started working at Apple. During this time, he frequently visited India to look after his family’s business. It was during one of these trips while hiring workers for the business he realized how inefficient the hiring system was and the extent of unemployment in India. To get a deeper understanding of the problem, Nirmit went undercover as a blue-collar worker as an electrician, foreman, and shop floor guy. This experience helped him realize that while most workers had the skills to obtain a good job, they did not have a platform where they could connect with an employer looking for that exact skill set. Around that same time, Nirmit watched the Bollywood film ‘Gully Boy’ and it inspired him thoroughly, all of this lead to him starting his venture called Apna.co, inspired by the film’s song “Apna Time Ayega”.
In 2019, Apna.co – a professional networking and job opportunities platform – was founded. Initially, Nimrit used to visit slums and personally converse with blue-collar workers, trying to gain their insights to make the platform better. In that same year, they raised $3M in a Seed funding round.
In 2021, Apna.co raised $100M in a Series C funding round and became the fastest unicorn of India. During the coronavirus pandemic, Apna.co amplified its efforts to provide hospitals, e-pharmacies, and delivery companies’ workforce with critical and essential roles. It catered to over 2500 organizations directly or indirectly allied to healthcare. It also offered over 50,000 openings for the roles that ranged from nurses (General), nurses (COVID-19 Duty), ward boys, medical staff, lab technicians, pharmacists, blood bank technicians, patient caretakers among others.
In 2022, Apna.co signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Tourism & Hospitality Skill Council in an attempt to connect aspiring youths with the numerous job opportunities available in the tourism and hospitality sector. The collaboration will provide easy access to local opportunities, upskilling courses, training sessions, and re-skilling courses to the workers in this sector.
Online recruitment in India grew 8% in 2021 as compared to 2020, according to data extracted from the Monster Employment Index.
Moreover, In 2021, the industry witnessed an overall monthly growth of 4% in hiring. Industries that witnessed significant growth in hiring include Telecom/ISP, IT-Hardware, Software and Logistics, Courier/Freight Transportation.
Suggested Next Reads
Nirmit Parikh, Founder & CEO - Apna.co on Building the Future of India's Rising Working Class (Indian Silicon Valley, Oct ‘21)
How Apna.co Became One Of India's Fastest Unicorns With Almost Zero Annual Revenue (Manu Balachandran, Forbes India, Sep ‘21)
Apna.co. co sees a 40% jump in female users in Q2 2021 (Prachi Verma, The Economic Times, Aug ‘21)
ASDC, Apna.co.co to provide career counseling and job opportunities for the automobile sector (Autocar Pro News, June ‘21)
Apna.co Time Ayega! Know-How This Entrepreneur Is Building Job Network For Blue-Collar Labor (Debarghya Sil, Entrepreneur Europe, April ‘21)