[Exclusive] Quikr acquires Babajob, spreads its net wide for blue collar jobs


Putting to rest rumours of the past month, Sean Blagsvedt, CEO and Founder of Babajob, told YourStory that his company was being acquired by Quikr in an undisclosed deal.

[This article has been updated with comments from Quikr and additional comments from Sean about the Babajob team and his future plans.]

Quikr on a shopping spree.

With this acquisition, the online classified portal will become the largest in the blue collar job category that helps entry-level sales professionals, BPO executives, delivery executives, drivers, and more looking for suitable employment.

“I'm happy to announce that Babajob is being acquired by Quikr. This will combine the two largest Indian aspiring job players – Babajob and QuikrJobs -- into one entity, a tool to help everyone in India get a better job,” Sean told YourStory.

“The Babajob Board, COO and Co-founder Vir Kashyap, and I decided that joining forces with Quikr represented our best option for scaling Babajob's mission of providing better jobs for everyone by helping employers digitally hire aspiring workers,” he added.

According to him, "The core members of the Babajob team have transitioned to Quikr."

This is Quikr’s second acquisition in the jobs category, having acquired Hiree last year, and it places its vertical QuikrJobs in a leadership position in India’s blue collar jobs market.

Responding to YourStory, Amit Jain, Head of QuikrJobs, said, "We have great respect for the business and brand that the Babajob team has built. This move takes our market leadership in the blue collar jobs industry to a different level in empowering millions of people.”

The Unicorn has been on a hiring spree since last year, having acquired Zimmber, CommonFloor, Stepni, Zapluk, Salosa, Stayglad, Grabhouse, and Hiree. Babajob is its ninth acquisition.

Founded in 2007 by Sean, Vir, and Ira Weise, Babajob has over 8.5 million registered job-seekers and over 5,00,000 employers looking to hire. Babajob is present in over 20 cities, including tier II and III cities like Coimbatore, Bhopal, and Indore, and this deal will make it easy for Quikr to spread its wings beyond the metro cities. The other advantage for Quikr is Babajob’s multilingual app available in Hindi, Tamil, Kannada, Gujarati, Marathi, and more.

Babajob had raised $10 million funding last year led by Australia-based online jobs marketplace SEEK, which is a majority investor in the company.

Quikr has raised $350 million from top global investors, including Tiger Global Management, Matrix Partners India, Kinnevik, and Warburg Pincus, and was last valued at $1.4 billion.

Sean Blagsvedt

Though Sean did not reveal the reason for the acquisition, media reports had claimed that over the past year, the Bengaluru-based company was on a cost-cutting phase and had reduced its team size from 600 employees to 50.

“I'm very proud of what Babajob achieved since Vir Kashyap, Ira Weise, and I founded it a decade ago. We built an incredibly talented, dedicated, and mission-driven team and received support from great investors, including our friends and family, angel investors, SEEK, Gray Ghost Ventures, Khosla Impact, and USAID. We innovated and scaled telephony, chat and mobile solutions to connect multilingual job seekers and employers. We defined a category and perhaps most importantly, showed the market that there was a need and business opportunity to build a job site for everyone, even those with little education, knowledge of computers or command of English,” said Sean.

Sean and Vir will retain advisory roles with Quikr, but Sean said, “After 10 years of building Babajob, we’ve decided to pursue other opportunities.” He hopes to travel for the summer to give his son exposure to his family in the US and then will return to India in September to help his wife Archana Prasad stage a large digital arts festival in December. "I'll start a new gig full time in 2018," he told YourStory.

Sean, who was working for Microsoft in Seattle in 2004 wanted to move to India “to experience a country in a time of great transition.” He got an opportunity to start Microsoft Research Lab in India. While here, he chanced upon a research paper by Anridha Krishna, a Duke Professor, who was studying 3000 families in Rajasthan to find why people flow in and out of poverty.

"This was an insightful paper and I thought, if only we could connect job seekers to better opportunities we might be able to catalyse the escape from poverty for millions of people. I also looked around and saw that there were no digital tools to connect informal job seeker and employers. Thus Babajob was an idea I feel in love with, an experiment to find a scalable way to connect millions in the informal sector to better jobs,” Sean said in an earlier interview with YourStory