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Microsoft picks up strategic stake in Darwinbox

Microsoft picks up strategic stake in Darwinbox
Jayant Paleti, co-founder, Darwinbox

Technology giant Microsoft has picked up a strategic stake in Darwinbox by investing an undisclosed sum in the Hyderabad-based HRtech unicorn. 

Darwinbox's co-founder Jayant Paleti declined to comment on the size of the deal. However, an October 2022 filing with the Registrar of Companies (RoC) stated that the startup received Rs 32.6 crore (close to Rs $4 million) from Microsoft.

The company is likely to have raised more capital from the Redmond-headquartered tech major in the ongoing Series D round, as Paleti called previous reports as not accurate.

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Besides the investment, the deal will also see Microsoft and Darwinbox collaborating to bring integrations between Darwinbox and the Microsoft product ecosystem.

As part of the collaboration, Darwinbox will adopt Microsoft Azure for its human capital management SaaS (software-as-a-service) platform. Its SaaS platform caters to HR needs across the entire employee lifecycle with employee experiences and artificial intelligence-powered technology.

Darwinbox was founded in 2015 by Paleti, Chaitanya Peddi and Rohit Chennamaneni. The company offers automation of employee lifecycle including recruitment, onboarding, attendance, expense management, payroll, employee engagement, performance management and people analytics.

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The company claims to be catering to more than 750 enterprises and 2 million employees across the globe. It claims to have clocked a 2X revenue growth since its Series D funding round in early 2022 which helped it turn into a unicorn startup. The round was led by Technology Crossover Ventures (TCV), with participation from existing investors Salesforce Ventures, Sequoia Capital India, Lightspeed India, Endiya Partners, 3One4Capital, JGDEV and SCB 10X.

Darwinbox counts brands like Nivea, Starbucks, Dominos, T-Systems, AXA, Tokio, Cigna, JSW, Adani, Vedanta, Mahindra, SBI General, Shoppers Stop, Kotak, NSE, Ujjivan, Makemytrip, Swiggy and Tokopedia as its clients. 

It pits against the likes of SAP and Oracle.  

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The 1,100-employee-strong SaaS company onboarded key executive leadership from EY, Deloitte and Microsoft last year. It has expanded to countries like Indonesia, Singapore and Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam and Thailand, and counts Southeast Asia and India as the highest contributors towards its revenue. It also opened new offices in West Asia, Saudi Arabia, UAE and the US. 

The company plans on expanding its business in the abovementioned regions in 2023, and its partnership with Microsoft is expected to fuel its expansion plans.

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