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Daily roundup (November 30, 2021)

Simplilearn concludes maiden ESOP buyback

After raising $250 million from global private equity firm Blackstone earlier this year, Bengaluru-headquartered edtech platform Simplilearn has announced the conclusion of its first Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) buyback plan of Rs 48.74 crore. All active employees who held vested shares as part of the ESOP plan were eligible for the buyback, though only 65 percent of them participated in the event.

Blackstone acquired a controlling stake in Simplilearn as part of the Series C funding in July this year, valuing the company at $350 million. Nearly 70 percent of the capital was used to give exits to the early investors in the company. 

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Funding News

Recruitment automation startup Zappyhire raises Rs 3.71 Cr in seed round

Zappyhire, an intelligent recruitment platform that helps enterprises screen, engage, and hire talent using Artificial Intelligence, has raised Rs 3.71 crore from the Kerala Angel Network and from Alex K Babu, Founder, and CMD, Hedge Finance Limited.

The round also witnessed the participation of strategic investors such as Shihab Muhammed, Ex-Co-founder of Freshservice (Freshdesk), Navas Meeran, Chairman, Eastern Condiments Pvt Ltd, Dr M I Sahadulla, Rajesh Nair – Associate Partner EY, Chairman and Managing Director, KIMS, and K Paul Thomas, Founder of ESAF Group of Social Enterprises.

Zappyhire platform auto pre-screens and ranks candidates from hundreds of applications using semantic resume parser and AI-enabled video interview. It helps eliminate human effort on candidate engagement processes such as scheduling/rescheduling interviews of assessment, as well as post-offer engagement to reduce the offer-drop-out ratio using conversation AI. 


Zappyhire claims to have grown exponentially in the last year and added funded startups, enterprises, SMEs to their clientele which includes ESAF Bank, Carestack, Surveysparrow,, BukuKas among others. Zappyhire recently worked with a number of government-sponsored digital hiring initiatives which deal with multiple job families.

InstaAstro raises Rs 3.2 Cr in seed round led by Artha Venture Fund

InstaAstro, a new-age wellness and spiritual services platform that combines the ancient Indian knowledge of Astrology, Yoga, Ayurveda and Meditation, has raised Rs 3 crore in a seed round led by Artha Venture Fund (AVF), an early-stage micro-VC fund.


InstaAstro offers online predictions and consultancy; and caters to the real-life issues faced by millennials – including career, marriage and relationships, health, finances, and personal growth, amongst other aspects. Through the said services, the startup aims to offer people peace of mind and assist them during their phase of stress. The round also saw participation from Ramakant Sharma’s LogX Ventures. 


The Noida-based startup will utilize the funds for product development, marketing and add a gamut of services like Live Astrologer session, Remedies, E-Pooja and Ecommerce etc, to its platform – helping them carve a niche in the holistic wellness segment. This is AVF’s 12th investment from its recently closed Rs 225 crores micro-VC fund.

InstaAstro connects 500+ qualified professionals from across the country on its current roster with 60,000 monthly customers. As a result, their Monthly Recurring Revenues (MRR) and users have grown 20x and 25x, respectively, since February 2021. The platform currently has over 30,000 monthly consultations translating to 350,000+ minutes of monthly consultation.

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