Staffing and other business services provider Quess Corp on Wednesday said it will invest Rs 10 crore (about $1.4 million), via multiple tranches, in Stellarslog Technovation in exchange for a 49% stake at the Bengaluru-based startup.
Stellarslog Technovation, parent owner of online gig workers marketplace Taskmo, will issue 1,92,156 equity shares at a rate of Rs 520, as per an exchange filing.
Quess said it will pay Rs 2 crore for a 16.1% equity stake by January 31. "Post completion of the stipulated investment or 1st April 2022, whichever is later, Quess shall also have the right to increase its stake to 51% on-a fully diluted basis via a call option," it added.
Taskmo is an online marketplace for businesses to outsource their operational and on-the-ground tasks to a distributed network of gig-workers.
The deal marks Quess’ entry in the Indian digital gig economy, it said, adding that Taskmo complements Quess’ current portfolio of human resource services that houses skilled workers under permanent, temporary, as well as on-demand models.
Taskmo, via its website and Play Store app, uses a proprietary algorithm to train, match and deploy gig workers, the statement added. The move, Quess said, is aimed at catapulting the 13 year old company’s entry into an Indian gig economy that is estimated to be worth $4 billion by 2025.
“Task based work models are here to stay, and will augment existing labour models. This investment will add to Quess’ growing digital arsenal, alongside WorQ, Qjobs and MarQet. We are excited to be accelerating this young and visionary team and look forward to winning together,” Quess Corp CEO Suraj Moraje said.
Taskmo, formerly called FeedMyPockets, was founded in 2017 by software engineers Prashant Janadri, and Naveen Ram.
“We believe Taskmo’s digital-first approach combined with Quess’ scale will form a formidable force in digital workforce management. This partnership marks a pivotal point in our journey towards making access to jobs a fundamental right for every Indian and inspires us to work doubly hard,” Janadri said.
Stellarslog Technovation generated revenues of Rs 1.61 crore in the financial year ended March 2020 (FY20), and had over 11,000 users as on December 31, 2020, Quess said. In FY19, it registered revenues of Rs 1.43 crore, and Rs 74 lakh in FY18.
Other players operating in the space include venture backed vertical players such as Awign, Apna.co, Able Jobs, Gigforce, as well as horizontal players such as Google’s Kormo Jobs.
Separately on Wednesday, Bengaluru-headquartered Quess Corp reported a 41.5% decrease in quarterly profit in a period that saw continued disruption in business activity due to the novel coronavirus’ impact on the economy.
The company said its profit attributable to shareholders of the company fell to Rs 41.75 crore or Rs 2.79 per share in the third quarter ended December 2020, from Rs 71.32 or Rs 4.83 per share, a year earlier.
Total revenue dipped 4.8% to Rs 2,817.74 crore.
The company’s board said its business operations in the reported quarter continued to be affected by applicable regulatory restrictions including stay-at-home or work-from-home requirements of the central and state governments in India, and other disruptive factors owing to Covid-19.