(Bloomberg) -- Darwinbox has secured capital from investors including a unit of Salesforce.com Inc. and Sequoia at a valuation of more than $1 billion, becoming one of the few Asian software startups to have achieved that milestone.
The company, which supplies human resources tools to major companies including Starbucks Corp., raised $72 million in a financing round led by Technology Crossover Ventures, a venture capital firm that has backed Netflix Inc., Meta Platforms Inc. and Spotify Ltd. Other participants include Salesforce’s venture arm, Sequoia Capital India and Lightspeed India, the startup said in a statement on Tuesday.
Darwinbox counts some of the world’s largest brands among its customers, including Indonesian online mall Tokopedia and Singapore’s Carousell. The startup, which set up an office in Singapore late 2019, provides hiring, employment engagement and career planning tools to 1.5 million employees of 650 customers across the globe. Darwinbox has grown 300% in Southeast Asia since its previous fundraising, co-founder Jayant Paleti said.
A widespread shift to remote work has accelerated the adoption of digital tools in the workplace, spurring demand for Darwinbox’s service. The startup is planning to capitalize on this trend by expanding to the U.S. and elsewhere, Paleti said. It aims to use the capital to strengthen its product and boost its engineering and account management teams, hiring close to 150 people in cities including Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Jakarta.
Asia’s most valuable startups mostly hail from e-commerce, fintech and the consumer internet arena, from Indian ride-hailing giant Ola to Indonesia’s GoTo. Paleti, an ex-consultant, co-founded the startup in 2015 with colleague Chaitanya Peddi and childhood friend Rohit Chennamaneni, a former McKinsey employee.
The financing round brings the total raised by the tech company to $110 million. Salesforce’s venture arm in January last year led a $15 million financing round in the startup, its first investment in Asia outside of Japan.
“Businesses realized that digital transformation was here to stay, and it was going to be the cornerstone of their growth strategy moving forward,” Palenti said in a phone interview. “What would have originally taken enterprise companies three to four years to shift to the cloud has now been accelerated to a couple of months.”
©2022 Bloomberg L.P.