HR technology platform Darwinbox accelerates Middle East expansion


Darwinbox, Asia’s fastest-growing HR tech platform, has leaped to a unicorn valuation in its latest USD72mn funding round, with the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region identified as a key growth market in its next chapter of global expansion. The company’s valuation now crosses the USD1bn mark and takes the total investment raised by the company thus far to over USD110mn.

The latest fundraising round has been 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. The company has grown 200% since the last fundraise from Salesforce Ventures exactly 12 months ago and has added more than 700,000 users on the platform in this short period.

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 HR tech platform is powering digital HR for more than 1.5mn employees from 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 supercharge 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. It is also staging the opening of its next GCC office in Saudi Arabia in the near future. Prioritizing product development for the region, Darwinbox will be launching its Arabic mobile app specifically tailored for MENA employees later this year.

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

“Markets across the Middle East, especially in the UAE and KSA, 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,” shared Jayant Paleti, Co-founder at Darwinbox. “With this funding, Darwinbox will accelerate its expansion across the MENA region, aiming for a 400% growth by the end of 2022.”

Darwinbox currently stands as the youngest and the only Asian-origin player on Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for enterprise HCM. It is also rated the highest (4.8) globally on Gartner’s customer reviews platform, Peer Insights; racing ahead of global giants like SAP, Oracle and Workday – a position it secured on the back of innovative technology, deep understanding of market context, intuitive user experience and great customer traction.

Expanding on the product investments, 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.”

“Investing behind technology to manage talent has become inevitable for organizational success. Darwinbox’s demonstrated ability to build agile, innovative, and user-friendly solutions along with deep customer centricity has made them a platform of choice for several leading enterprises,” added Jessica Neal, former Chief Talent Officer at Netflix, and a Venture Partner at TCV. “We’re excited to partner with them on their journey to global HCM leadership,” she added. TCV is known for its investments in disruptive tech brands like Netflix, Facebook, Spotify, Airbnb, GoDaddy, and Gitlab.

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