HR tech platform Darwinbox has more than tripled its valuation to become a unicorn in a new $72 million funding round, as the Indian startup leads what one investor calls the “Asia SaaSification” trend.
Technology Crossover Ventures (TCV) – an investor known for backing companies like Netflix, Meta, Spotify and Airbnb – led the Hyderabad-based startup’s $72 million Series D funding.
Existing investors including Lightspeed Venture Partners, Sequoia Capital India, Salesforce Ventures, 3One4 Capital, Endiya Partners and SCB 10X also participated in the round, which brings Darwinbox’s all-time increase to over $110 million and values it by more than US$1 billion. six-year startup said.
Darwinbox operates a cloud-based human resource management platform. The startup’s eponymous platform manages the entire employee “hiring-to-retirement” cycle. Hundreds of companies, including Starbucks, Domino’s, Swiggy, Tokopedia, Zilingo and Kotak, recently turned Decacorn, use the startup’s platform to handle onboarding new hires and gain visibility into their performance, attrition rates and establish a cycle of continuous feedback.
The new funding follows a year of strong growth for Darwinbox. Co-founder Chaitanya Peddi told Ploonge in an interview that the pandemic has accelerated Darwinbox’s growth, as companies around the world struggled to find tools to coordinate – and serve – their employees.
The startup said its revenue doubled last year and grew threefold in the Southeast Asia region, which accounts for about 20% of its total revenue.
The startup’s full-stack offering — which includes a social network for employees to stay connected with one another and an AI assistant to request a leave of absence or set up meetings with quick voice commands from phones — helped it plant its place as the only Asian startup company to be featured Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for enterprise Cloud HCM.
The broad offering may explain why a third of Darwinbox’s customers today are those who previously used more established platforms from Oracle, SAP and Workday.
“We are most excited to invest in visionary founders who are fundamentally transforming large industries with a highly resonant product,” said Gopi Vaddi, general partner at TCV, in a statement.
“I am pleased to support an exceptional team that is doing just that in a highly impactful and rapidly evolving HR technology space, and to partner with them on their journey to global HCM leadership.”
Darwinbox is part of a group of startups that are building from Asia to the world, said Dev Khare, partner at Lightspeed Venture Partners. “I firmly believe in the SaaSification of Asia. I see a growing attraction in the market for SaaS companies targeting Asia, a sea change from what I saw five years ago,” he wrote in a LinkedIn post in 2019.
“You might ask why SaaS for Asia needs to exist as a category. Why can’t US or European suppliers continue to dominate here? My opinion is that these western vendors never dominated, but just slipped through the top of the market. What is really happening in India/Asia is that companies that were not bundled application users or employees (e.g. manual workers) that were not technology users are now starting to jump straight from manual, paper-based processes to SaaS. , ” He wrote.
Darwinbox plans to deploy the new funds to expand its team and further fuel its global expansion plans. It also intends to broaden its product offerings to add various services and ancillary solutions that companies can connect and use in their HR technology ecosystem.
The startup is looking to add some of these product offerings through mergers or acquisitions of startups, Peddi said.