SoftBank Vision Fund 2 puts $220m in talent management startup Eightfold AI; valuation doubles to $2.1B

Eightfold.AI has raised over $410 million in funding so far, including the current round, with $350 million coming in the last six months.

Five-year-old Eightfold AI, which helps large enterprises such as Air Asia, Tata Communications, Dolby, Nutanix, others, hire and retain talent, has raised a new round of capital eight months after it raised $125 million in Series D funding. The startup has now secured $220 million in Series E funding round led by SoftBank Vision Fund 2. Investors from previous rounds including General Catalyst, Capital One Ventures, Foundation Capital, IVP, and Lightspeed Venture Partners also participated in the new round. With the latest fund infusion, the startup’s valuation has more than doubled to $2.1 billion from $1 billion in Series D round, Ashutosh Garg, Co-founder and CEO, told Financial Express Online.

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The company will deploy the capital towards development of its artificial intelligence-based Talent Intelligence Platform and expand its partner ecosystem apart from growing its India operations. The last and current investment rounds have been raised amid the growing and changing work environment due to the pandemic. As a result, businesses have been focusing on reskilling and upskilling programmes for their employees which is also among the key challenges for the global workforce currently.

“The pandemic has fueled the importance of managing talent in numerous ways. The most visible is that of remote work environments, which opens up talent to organizations that they might not have previously considered. It also places a premium on understanding what your employees are looking for out of their careers. They have many more options now because they can apply anywhere, so what are you (companies) doing to facilitate their growth to the next level?” added Garg.

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The company has raised over $410 million in funding so far, including the current round, with $350 million coming in the last six months. “Powered by AI and machine learning, Eightfold’s platform provides global enterprises with a single solution for managing the entire talent lifecycle, including hiring, retaining, and growing a diverse global workforce,” said Deep Nishar, Senior Managing Partner at SoftBank Investment Advisers.

According to Gartner, spending on SaaS applications by businesses in India will grow by 20.8 per cent to $1.41 billion and 20.2 per cent to $1.69 billion in 2022. The end-user spending on public cloud services in India will be worth $4.4 billion in 2021, up 31.4 per cent from 2020. Eightfold’s investment is the second deal involving Indian startups or Indian founders by SoftBank Vision Fund 2 announced in the last two days. On Tuesday, another software-as-a-service startup Whatfix, which helps businesses increase user adoption of applications they use, had announced a $90 million round led by the second Vision Fund. Eightfold is the fourth startup with operations in India and/or other countries raising investment from the second fund after Lenskart and Meesho apart from Whatfix.

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