Astronaut, an Indonesia-based mobile-first recruitment platform with offices in Singapore, announced its first acquisition of Indonesian on-demand skill certification platform, POPSkul, for an undisclosed amount. Astronaut plans to continue investing in the expansion of POPSkul and integration of skill certificates into the candidate profiles in the Astronaut platform through this acquisition.
Astronaut was founded in 2016 by Nigel Hembrow and Manfred Ekblad to help companies select and identify the right candidates from the larger candidate pools for purposes like immediate hiring and building talent pools for future hiring. It standardised the exhaustive process of hiring by providing the best talent and ensured that there is less bias and no time wastage for candidates, recruiters, and hiring managers. Astronaut began a student admissions partnership with the National University of Singapore to hire young and fresh talent. It is also powering Kompas Group’s new online learning capability.
POPSkul was founded in 2020 by Chandra Marsono as an on-demand certification platform that aims to enable ‘fast certification’ for candidates in line with national standards. It is currently the only such platform approved by the Indonesian government.
Nigel Hembrow, CEO and co-founder of Astronaut stated that Astronaut wants to be a feasible option in a highly inefficient recruitment process outsourcing industry. "The digitalisation of the workforce ecosystem in Southeast Asia is on the verge of change, so this acquisition is the first step to building a scalable and sustainable workforce ecosystem in Indonesia and other countries," he said.
“We are very dedicated to opening access to online workforce recruitment services, especially since the presence of data will result in better and faster hiring decisions. Therefore, we are very excited to welcome Chandra and POPSkul to join our mission."
The recruitment industry’s growth in the region is expected to be US$40.6 billion, by 2027.
Astronaut also stated that it is raising US$2 million in a pre-Series A round to accelerate its growth with newer technological innovations and forging new partnerships in Singapore, Indonesia, and globally. It has a wide client base in South East Asia, Europe, and New Zealand. Its recruitment clientele has increased by 30% in Indonesia, Singapore, and India in Q2 of 2021.
Indonesia is facing an unemployment situation with around 8.8% of the working population being jobless and welcoming 30 million fresh graduates over the next five years. At the same time, digitisation of the talent ecosystem is at the brim of inflection point owing to two factors, huge demographic advantage in South East Asia and adoption of reliable, cost-effective digital tools for talent services and hybrid working conditions by universities and assessment centers. So there is an urgent need for more innovative solutions to equalise the demand and supply side of the talent market.