Darwinbox accelerates MENA expansion after leaping to unicorn status
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Darwinbox accelerates MENA expansion after leaping to unicorn status

Darwinbox accelerates MENA expansion after leaping to unicorn status

With new Series D investment, the company is set to aggressively expand its team in the UAE and open its next GCC office in Saudi Arabia

Gulf Business

Darwinbox, one of Asia’s fastest-growing HR tech platforms, has leaped to unicorn status, in its latest $72m funding round, with the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region identified as a key growth market as part of its global expansion plans.

The company’s valuation has crossed the $1bn mark and takes the total investment raised by the company thus far to more than $110m.

The latest fundraising round was led by the US-based Technology Crossover Ventures along with participation from Darwinbox’s existing strategic investors Salesforce Ventures, Sequoia Capital and Lightspeed Ventures.

The company has grown 200 per cent since the last fundraise from Salesforce Ventures 12 months ago, adding more than 700,000 users on the platform over this 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 platform powers digital HR for more than 1.5m employees from over 650 enterprises across the globe. Darwinbox supports global brands such as Nivea, Starbucks, Sephora, Zara and AXA, along with Lulu Group, Aramex and Mobily Infotech in the region.

The new funding will supercharge the company’s plans by allowing it 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, 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.

Prioritising 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 drive higher workforce productivity, better cost efficiency and smarter experiences for their employees. Built with advanced artificial intelligence and machine learning capabilities, Darwinbox HCM has pioneered Voicebot for HR, facial recognition based touchless attendance, and several other features that are critical to manage the post-pandemic workplace.

Jayant Paleti, co-founder at Darwinbox, said that with this funding the company will accelerate its expansion across the MENA region, aiming for a 400 per cent growth by the end of 2022.

“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. We will work closely with companies across the region to deliver a disruptive, modern and intuitive experience to their workforce,” said Jayant.

Expanding on the product investments, Chaitanya Peddi, co-founder and product head at Darwinbox, added: “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 prioritises local compliance and context, significant focus has been directed towards product development tailored to the MENA region.”

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