Unitus Ventures plans to step up investments in Indian job-tech firms

Early-stage venture fund Unitus Ventures is scouting to invest more in job-tech firms and at least for the next five years, they will continue to invest more in this vertical. India’s jobs crisis and aspiration to shift from informal to formal work is creating a big opportunity for new entrepreneurs and making it a key investment theme, Surya Mantha, senior partner at Unitus Ventures said in an interview. Mantha, whose VC fund has a sizable portfolio of investments in job-tech startups, said that increasing gig culture, tech and automation in HR operations, and availability of technology infrastructure are helping the vertical flourish.

Unitus Ventures is investing more in job-tech firms, what’s driving your investment theme?

When we started a second fund four years back, we did have a focus on edtech, job tech, fintech and healthcare themes. While we have seen opportunities in all of them, it turns out that the number of our investments and best opportunities are in the broad job-tech space. It overlaps with a segment of edtech, and partly with the digitization of micro and small firms. We have invested in companies that are in HR management and also work with the vast blue and grey collar workers. There is a huge opportunity to use technology to organize this segment and create value for both the demand side and supply side. ‘Betterplace’ is one such firm we are invested in that manages HR and engages with companies to manage the lifecycle of employees. We invested in a company called Gig force, which focuses on gig workers for both short and long gigs. During the pandemic, employers are willing to have contract workers to manage costs. It offers opportunities to job-tech firms. Leaving the K12 space aside, businesses that focus on upskilling, training with a direct linkage to jobs are in our focus. We have invested in a company that trains in coding and guarantees jobs, and function via an income sharing model.

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