Asia’s HR startup ‘Darwinbox’ enters Unicorn club; Eyes MENA expansion

By Amirtha P S, Desk Reporter
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Darwinbox, Asia’s leading provider of cloud-based Human Resources Management Software, has hit the ‘unicorn’ status in its latest $72 million funding round, and the startup now targets more growth in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.

The startup, headquartered in the south Indian tech-city of Hyderabad, launched operations in the UAE last year and started picking up some prestige clients.

Darwinbox went past the $1 billion valuations after the latest funding round led by the US-based Technology Crossover Ventures (TCV) along with participation from Darwinbox’s existing strategic investors Salesforce Ventures, Sequoia Capital, and Lightspeed Ventures. 

Founded in 2015, Darwinbox’s cloud-based Human Capital Management (HCM) platform caters to private and public sector HR needs across the entire employee lifecycle. The new-age tech platform is powering digital HR for more than 1.5 million employees from over 650 enterprises across the globe. Darwinbox supports leading global brands like Nivea, Starbucks, Sephora, Zara, and AXA, along with Lulu Group, Aramex, and Mobily Infotech in the region.

The new funding will fuel Darwinbox’s plans by allowing the company to accelerate its platform innovation agenda, and scale its go-to-market presence in MENA, South Asia, and Southeast Asia. With its regional office based in the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), the company aims to invest aggressively and grow its team in the UAE.

Darwinbox is also working on the opening of its next GCC office in Saudi Arabia in the near future. The startup is also planning to launch its Arabic mobile app specifically tailored for MENA employees later this year. With this funding, Darwinbox will accelerate its expansion across the MENA region, aiming for a 400 percent growth by the end of 2022.

Jayant Paleti
Jayant Paleti
Co-founder – Darwinbox

“Markets across the Middle East, especially in the UAE and Saudi Arabia, have some of the world’s highest smartphone penetration rates and a growing young population that’s digital-savvy. The pandemic was a significant inflection point for Middle Eastern enterprises, with a majority adopting remote and hybrid work practices. At Darwinbox, we understand that people are at the core of every successful enterprise, and we will work closely with companies across the region to deliver a disruptive, modern, and intuitive experience to their workforce.” 

The agile and intuitive HR technology platform of Darwinbox helps enterprises realize superior business outcomes by driving higher workforce productivity, better cost efficiency and smarter experiences for modern-day employees. Built with advanced Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) capabilities, Darwinbox HCM has pioneered innovations like Voicebot for HR, facial recognition-based touchless attendance, and several other features that are critical to managing the post-pandemic workplace.

Commenting on the expansion plans, Mr. Chaitanya Peddi, Co-founder and Product Head at Darwinbox, added, “Building for agility and delivering stellar employee experience has been critical in defining success for Darwinbox’s customers. We will continue to invest in new and innovative technology to deliver a frictionless experience for the work-from-anywhere workforce. In continuation to our vision of building a product that prioritizes local compliance and context, significant focus has been directed towards product development tailored to the MENA region.”

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