Darwinbox, a human resource technology start-up, has joined the club of small but growing number of unicorns in the country as it raised $72 million in a round led by Technology Crossover Ventures (TCV), which had invested in some top global brands such as Airbnb, Dream Sports, Razorpay and Spotify.

With over 650 customers serving a total of 15 lakh employees, Darwinbox has become the first Hyderabad-headquartered start-up to reach the milestone.

The firm says the proceeds will help it in its plans to expand its presence in Asia and the US, besides doubling the workforce to over 1,000 employees from the present 700 in the next one year and strengthening the technology backbone.

This round, which puts the valuation of the Hyderabad-based startup at $1-billion, also includes investments from the existing investors Salesforce Ventures, Sequoia India, Lightspeed India, Endiya Partners, 3One4Capital, JGDEV and SCB 10X.

The start-up has so far raised $110 million since its inception in 2015.

“Bulk of the revenues come from India. Besides emerging as a major player in the HR tech field, we would like to make a foray into the US market this year,” Founder-Chief Executive Officer Chaitanya Peddi told BusinessLine.

Culture based HR

He said issues related to HR, unlike supply chain and networking solutions, are influenced by local cultures. “This is where we wanted to focus and excel,” he said.

Satheesh Andhra of Endiya Partners, which invested into the startup quite early, said that his investment firm participated in all the rounds of funding and would like to stay invested.

“We found the team agile that understood the HR space very well. One needs to know how HR is aligned to the businesses,” he said.

Crowded space

Chaitanya, who founded the start-up along with Jayant Paleti and Rohit Chennamaneni, says the market was quite crowded when they entered the space.

“What we wanted to do is to focus on enterprises of midsize and above. We also wanted to take care of the entire lifecycle of human resource needs in an organisation,” he said.

As it reaches the $1-billion valuation landmark, the firm sets its eyes to become the No. 1 player in the HR tech space in Asia. “We are also planning to tap the US market this year. We are already doing pilots there and we would like to make the foray this year,” he said.