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Here’s why Salesforce invested $15m in HR software startup Darwinbox

It’s in the cloud


Unleash Your Potential Salesforce investing in new HR tech firm Darwinbox is just the tip of the iceberg

  • In 2021, spending on enterprise software is expected to amount to around $492 billion (US) worldwide, representing an increase of 7.2%

SALESFORCE has invested $15m in innovative new HR enterprise software startup Darwinbox.

It’s Inc.’s first investment in the Indian market and its only investment in Asia, outside of Japan; yet Darwinbox is quickly becoming one of the region’s leading HR technology providers.

They already serve big brands such as Puma, Nivea, Indonesian online mall Tokopedia, and Singapore’s Zilingo. With funding from backers already reaching $35m since their 2019 launch, the Salesforce investment is adding to momentum from further afar.


Darwinbox is aimed at remote workers and has seen a surge in new customers as a result of the pandemic.

The company develops touchless attendance systems and provides hiring, onboarding, and employee engagement tools to 500 customers across 60 countries. 

Emerging as a rival to SAP, Oracle, and other vendors in the enterprise field, their new-age, hire-to-retire human capital management platform aims to engage, empower, and elevate employees — wherever they are based.  


Darwinbox claim to have grown 200% during lockdown, put simply because their people analytics and cloud-based new technologies work hard to put employee experience first.

Marketing themselves at a younger, emerging, future workforce could also be a factor.

“India is home to one of the world’s youngest population, and by 2050, it is expected to account for over 18% of the global working age population,” revealed Arundhati Bhattacharya, Chairperson and CEO, Salesforce India. “This makes technology platforms like Darwinbox, that focuses on workforces, incredibly important. I’m proud that Salesforce is supporting Darwinbox on their journey as they continue to grow and innovate in this space.”


UNLEASH CEO Marc Coleman believes this rapid pace into new technology targeted at the hybrid workforce is a sign of things to come.

“Salesforce is no stranger to HR tech and has been a strong and consistent investor in rolling out HR tools, help desk, employee communities, employee experience and engagement apps built around salesforce suite and ecosystem since 2015.

Salesforce acquired Slack in a megadeal for $27.7 billion, a long-time customer of UNLEASH where founders Cal Henderson and Stuart Butterfield have long spoken about tools of productivity hitting the marketplace. Mark Benioff’s smart buy as the world has moved to all-digital, hybrid work, and worker who works from anywhere.”

Revolutionizing workforces and re-tooling for the new pandemic era is now a top priority for businesses around the world.

Marc adds: “The Founder & CEO of Salesforce (and CNN’s CEO of 2020) has been a tour de force and giant on the work revolution and continues to push the envelope in corporate America and Davos on equality, wellbeing, and social justice. They signed the Giving Pledge, an initiative from The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, to give a majority of their wealth to philanthropy. He commented last week that the future of work is now about ‘ensuring a safe, secure return to work’ and promoting “the work anywhere, live anywhere environment that’s all digital’.

“The fact that Valley (Sequoia Capital + Series B $35m ) and Bay Area (Salesforce) investments kick off 2021 with this announcement on the ground in India and HR tech, fuels the debate on the APAC region being primed to roar out of the crisis ahead of North America and Europe. The acceleration of the next generation of HRMS tools hitting the market sets us up for a new era of HR tech and workforce tools. Evidenced by Tel Aviv-based Hibob the HR technology innovator behind the people management platform bob secured $70m in Series B funding last month, and German-based all-in-one HR platform Personio announced their $125m raise Series D funding through Index Ventures this week, values the German business at $1.7 billion.

“By all accounts DarwinBox were not looking for an investor, so this additional $15m will put some wind in their sails, especially in India which is currently on a high growth trajectory where exponential technology will scale collaboration and communication tools. With so much new tech coming out of India it bodes well as it leans to the younger generation who are redefining work. India’s secret weapon and biggest advantage as we head into the 20’s is it’s young population. Founded by Chaitanya Peddi, Jayant Paleti and Rohit Chennamaneni – Darwinbox’s new-age, hire-to-retire HRMS platform helps enterprises empower, engage and elevate the potential of their workforce.”

Marc also believes this is an even stronger indicator to the increasingly pivotal role of the HR leader as the global pandemic redefines all working lives:

“HR globally has become the right hand to the CEO during COVID-19, that relationship ensues and to deliver on business strategy in the short and longer-term CEOs now seek to completely retool their businesses through HR. As the world is vaccinated and perhaps reaches herd immunity in the months ahead, the CHRO will lead the safe return to work and define the new working world as tools of productivity accelerate onto the market this year.

“All eyes are on now on which of the big tech giants (Microsoft, Oracle, SAP..) will be next to place their bets on HR. We can’t wait.”

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