Salesforce.com Inc. is making its maiden India investment. Its venture arm, Salesforce Ventures, which has backed firms like Zoom, has chipped in $15 million into human resource technology platform Darwinbox.
This is Salesforce’s first investment in India and its only investment in the Asian continent outside of Japan. Headquartered in Hyderabad, the HR-tech startup has already raised $35 million from backers including Sequoia Capital, Lightspeed India, and 3one4 Capital among others. This round of funding, which comes at a time when Darwinbox is looking to expand its presence in Southeast Asia and West Asia, was led by Salesforce Ventures.
Founded in 2016, by Chaitanya Peddi, Jayant Paleti, and Rohit Chennamaneni, Darwinbox said the investment follows a 300% growth in revenues since September 2019, when the Series B funding led by Sequoia Capital and the company raised $15 million.
Darwinbox said the latest investment by Salesforce will allow it to leverage the U.S. giant’s distribution network in the regions where it is looking to grow.
“From our perspective, there’s so much to learn from Salesforce. We can use the power of their network, their distribution, and their partner ecosystem in all the geographies that we want to be successful in,” said Jayant Paleti, cofounder of Darwinbox, according to Economic Times.
Unlike a lot of software product companies focusing on selling to customers in the U.S. and Europe, Darwinbox is one of the leading Indian Software as a Service company that has been able to sell to local customers.
“Adoption of cloud-based services by enterprises was double the global average before the pandemic,” Paleti said in a phone interview, according to Bloomberg. The former investment banker who co-founded the startup added that “since the pandemic, we are seeing a shift to the cloud within a few quarters that would have otherwise taken three or four years”.
The firm develops touchless attendance systems and provides hiring and onboarding and employee engagement tools to more than 500 enterprises globally, touching around 1 million employees across 60 countries.
Its clients include some of the world’s largest brands in Puma and Nivea, some large traditional businesses such as Adani, Mahindra, and Kotak, some Asian startups such as Indonesian online mall Tokopedia, and Singapore’s Zilingo, and also large internet companies such as Swiggy, BigBasket, and Delhivery.