Tiger Global-backed Apna to expand operations, double headcount by year end

Nirmit Parikh, founder and CEO of Apna
Jobs and professional networking platform Apna wants to touch the lives of 2.3 billion blue collar employees globally, which they have termed as 'rising working class'. To do so the company will be expanding locally as well into the international markets. 

Nirmit Parikh, founder and CEO of the company said for year 2021 they will expand their there presence from the current 14 Indian cities to 40 and next year embark on to capture a slice of global market by being in countries such as the US and SouthEast Asia.

Considered to be the LinkedIn for gig workers, the platform already has 10 million users including delivery riders, sales persons, salon workers, drivers etc. Since its inception in 2019 the company has made possible 15 million plus job interviews and work-related conversations on the app. 

The company has managed to also attract marquee investors such as Tiger Global. Recently, it  did a $70 million fundraise at a valuation of $570 million.

“Once you solve the problem of unemployment, you're solving for education for the next generation, you're solving for poverty, healthcare. It is one thing that solves a lot of problems and that’s the focus of the company,” says Parikh, a former Apple and Intel techie. 

The company is also working towards doubling its headcount to 400 by the end of this year. The platform currently has over 100 engineers who have worked at companies such as Apple, LinkedIn, Grab, Uber and Swiggy are building the product to scale it up globally.

As several hundreds of gig workers lost jobs during the pandemic, Apna which rolled out right before the pandemic is helping them reskill and connect to the right companies for opportunities. “The pandemic has been a catalyst. But I think Apna is winning because of the superior product,” said the founder.

Unlike LinkedIn, Apna is designed especially for the working class with cultural nuances. The platform is available in a mix of English and the local language of a particular area. For example if a driver is looking for a job in Kolkata, the luggage on the platform will be a mix of English and Bengali. “This way we are reinventing languages. It's a challenge because we're restructuring the entire language for an app and we do this with every city we launch,” says Parikh. 

Before rolling out Apna, Parikh who founded two other startups Incone Technologies and Cruxbot to solve  problems ranging from floods to amplifying education had a tough time hiring blue collar workers. He was looking at the market from an employer’s point of view and not from a candidate’s point of view. In order to understand the candidate’s side of the story, he took up several gig jobs in 2019 and worked as an electrician, a shop floor person, a cashier and a warehouse employee.

During this time Parikh realised that every blue collar worker has skills, but they don’t have resumes to back up those skills. So how do you design a system which allows people to put in the skills to find the right job? The answer to this question was Apna.

Once a gig worker comes on the platform, it builds a visiting card for the candidate based on his or her skills in under two minutes. This card doubles down as a professional profile which gives them access to the local jobs based on the skills. Several companies such as Zomato, Swiggy, Uber and Delhivery are already on the platform for hiring.

“The entire goal of Apna is to help people connect to opportunities,” he says.



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