Apna targets the double helix of blue-collar jobs and learning in India

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Kajri Kishan, a 25-year-old recruiter based in Delhi, is looking for the perfect job. Having been on the other side of the job search equation before, Kishan knows what it takes and has registered with five different job portals. She knows that every platform has a different nuance: on LinkedIn, she builds one-on-one relationships and builds her profile. On Naukri, she can filter job postings using search criteria such as “location” or “experience”. On new job search apps such as Work India, Vahan and Quikr, she can contact recruiters directly. As Kishan observes, there is no one go-to platform that meets all of these needs.

Kishan’s predicament is exactly what Apna wants to address. Apna’s goal is for users of its platform to be able to navigate between its different offerings seamlessly, finding suitable employment while building a professional network and taking advantage of development opportunities. On the back of that promise, the two-year-old startup has racked up impressive “leading indicators” as metrics.

According to a recent press release, Apna

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to have 22 million users, 16 million of whom have taken advantage of its networking platform by posting in groups or starting “one-on-one conversations”. The statement, however, does not elaborate on the nature of those conversations. Apna also claims to have 200,000 employers on the platform, posting jobs that span the blue and gray collar spectrum – cooks, delivery people, electricians, call center workers and more.

Apna’s two-year vault of unicorn status and its daily traffic of 1.25 million users has resonated with investors, who are jostling for a spot on Apna’s caps table. The size of the market – 258 million people – is definitely an asset. But it’s also about the story Apna has been driving since its inception: that it wants to be India’s blue-collar version of LinkedIn, a different USP from its competitors Work India, Vahan, Quikr and BetterPlace.

Apna builds layers on its core

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service in two ways. First, by organizing vertical communities of interest. For example, Apna’s app offers groups for, say, electricians or plumbers, which provide relevant job and learning opportunities. This is Apna’s “professional networking” piece.
Additionally, the company claims to build an edtech-esqe pillar for upskilling.

Color codes

Nirmit Parikh, the founder of Apna, said he wanted to eliminate “color-coded discrimination” in India’s labor market and give blue-collar workers the opportunity to join the “mainstream workforce”.

According to a former employee, Apna identified the need for short, cheap and effective refresher courses, which are often financially unsustainable for blue-collar workers.

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