San Francisco and New Delhi-based enterprise startup Squad has raised $2.1 million from India and Valley-based investors like Blume Ventures, Contrarian Capital, 91slingshot, Emergent Ventures, Abstract Ventures, Anthill Ventures, Axilor Ventures, as well as from angel investors, Gokul Rajaram, Product Engineering Lead at Square, and Shamik Sharma, Senior Technology Advisor at Myntra.
Squad will use the funds to scale its platform by expanding the technology, product and data teams in India and the sales team in the US.
The platform automates business processes for enterprises by combining human intelligence and artificial intelligence, helping businesses scale with unprecedented speed, accuracy, flexibility, and cost reductions.
Leaders in digital commerce like Uber, Sephora, Tata Group, Flipkart Group, Rocket Internet Group, Teespring and other data-intensive businesses use the Squad platform across their entire data cycle.
“Over the last 1.5 years, we have achieved product-market fit and turned into a profitable SaaS business. However, we wanted to invest ahead of revenue to scale the platform and get strategic investors on board. This is a very exciting time for all of us at Squad, as we gear up for our next stage of exponential growth!” said Apurv Agrawal, Co-Founder & CEO.
Businesses have to constantly process massive amounts of unstructured data that need to be structured and enriched for operations. For example, large e-commerce marketplaces like Amazon or eBay need to curate millions of products daily, and banks need to digitize and validate forms and documents to open a new account. With over 80% of data still being unstructured and expected to grow by 10x over the next 5 years, scaling data operations continues to be an ongoing challenge.
Figure 1: Squad’s platform
Squad uses a workflow engine that breaks down business processes in an efficient manner. It manages it’s own proprietary workforce of independent contractors who are skilled and ‘matched’ for specific tasks. On top of this, at the nodal level of each workflow, Squad leverages ‘human-in-the-loop’ machine learning to automate parts of the process to bring in efficiency.
So far, Squad has connected more than 75,000 people across India, the Philippines, Malaysia, Uganda, and Kenya to meaningful work opportunities through internet enabled smart-devices. These typically include college students, young professionals and ‘stay at home’ mothers, who otherwise cannot reach traditional work infrastructure and/or resources, thereby decentralizing the access to work and earn. Squad’s top contractors earn 2.5 times more per hour working from home, than their counterparts working at an outsourcing center.
Figure 2: Squad’s Workforce App Screens
“We invested in Squad because they have made machine learning practical and powerful for enterprise operations. By efficiently blending human and machine tasks, it is a disruptive platform in the $300B business process outsourcing industry.” – said Karthik Reddy, Managing Partner at Blume Ventures
“We are excited by the disruption Squad is bringing to the outsourcing industry with its distributed workforce model. Their AI powered digital platform which can manage customer workflows at large scale will help global services companies improve responsiveness and bring down costs.” – said SD Shibulal, co-founder of Infosys and Axilor Ventures
With a simple yet audacious vision, ‘reimagining how work gets done’, Squad is going after the multi-billion dollar business process outsourcing industry by doing to operations what AWS did to in-house servers.