Kajri Kishan, a 25-year-old recruiter based in Delhi, is looking for the perfect job. Having previously been on the other side of the job-hunting equation, Kishan knows what it takes and has signed up on five different job portals. She knows each platform has a different nuance: On LinkedIn, she makes one-on-one connections and builds her profile. On Naukri, she can filter job opportunities through search criteria like “location” or “experience”. On newer job-matching apps like Work India, Vahan, and Quikr she can reach out to recruiters directly. As Kishan observes, there’s no one, go-to platform that meets all these needs.

Kishan’s predicament is exactly what blue and grey collar job app Apna wants to address. Apna’s goal is that users on its platform can flit between its different offerings seamlessly—finding a suitable job while also building a professional network and leveraging upskilling opportunities. On the back of this promise, the two-year-old start-up has racked up impressive “leading indicators” as metrics. 

According to a recent press release, Apna claims claims Business Standard apna.co cites report, claims highest absolute growth by downloads in 2021 Read more to have 22 million users, of whom 16 million have leveraged its networking platform by posting in groups or striking up “1-on-1 conversations”. The release, however, doesn’t offer details on the nature of these conversations. Apna also claims to have 200,000 employers on the platform, posting jobs that span the blue and grey collar spectrum—cooks, delivery professionals, electricians, call centre workers, etc. 

Apna’s two-year vault to unicorn status and its daily traffic of 1.25 million users has resonated with investors, who are jostling to get a seat on Apna’s cap table. The market size—258 million-strong—is definitely a pull. But it’s also about the story that Apna’s pitched from inception: that it wants to be the blue collar version of LinkedIn for India, a USP that’s different from its competitors Work India, Vahan, Quikr and BetterPlace.

Apna is building layers over its core job-matching job-matching The Ken WorkIndia’s job-matching tonic for blue-collar hiring blues Read more service in two ways. First, by curating vertical communities of interest. For instance, Apna’s app has groups for, say, electricians or plumbers, which have relevant job and learning opportunities on it. This is Apna’s “professional networking” play. In addition, the company claims to be building an edtech-esqe pillar for upskilling. 

Colour codes

Nirmit Parikh, Apna's founder, says he's keen to undo the 'colour-coded discrimination' in India's job market, and give blue collar workers the opportunity to join the 'mainstream workforce'

According to a former employee, Apna has identified the need for short, cheap, and efficient upskilling courses, which are often financially unviable for blue collar workers.

AUTHOR

Olina Banerji

Based in Delhi, Olina writes about mega-trends in urban mobility, education, skilling and the environment, with a focus on how institutions and innovations can help cities grow sustainably. She is a graduate of the London School of Economics, and has worked previously with India Today and global non-profit Ashoka.

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