Illustration: Rahul Awasthi
Illustration: Rahul Awasthi

Pesto Tech, a career accelerator startup for software professionals, has raised an undisclosed amount of funding from marquee tech angels like Product Hunt founder Ryan Hoover, Gumroad founder Sahil Lavingia, Teachable founder Ankur Nagpal and former Facebook executive Anand Chandrasekaran.

Also participating in the round are FYI co-founder Hiten Shah, Remote First Capital founder Andreas Klinger, Interact founder Maran Nelson, Bevy co-founder Derek Anderson and CapitalX general partner Cindy Bi.

The company had earlier raised $2 million in seed funding from Matrix Partners, Swiggy founders Sriharsha Majety, Nandan Reddy and Rahul Jaimini, and Innov8’s Ritesh Malik among others.

Founded in 2018, Pesto Tech enables software engineers to work remotely for global technology companies as full-time employees. It runs a 16-week reskilling programme, providing training on product thinking, programming, and soft-skills among others.

In May this year, Swiggy co-founder Rahul Jaimini had quit the food delivery firm to join the startup as its co-founder and chief operating officer.

The Gurugram-based firm plans to use the funds raised to strengthen its presence in Silicon Valley and invest in its efforts to make tech opportunities accessible to millions of people in developing countries.

“We believe that there is a heavy tailwind in the first couple of quarters next year as the world transitions to remote work. That will give a massive rise in the freelance industry and overall employment. As a company, we are making sure that we are ready for the next phase of growth by getting our processes and the team in place.” Pesto Tech co-founder and chief executive Ayush Jaiswal told ET.

Remote working has gained broader acceptance amid the ongoing pandemic and this has helped accelerate the company’s growth in recent months, Jaiswal said.

“When the pandemic hit, we didn’t see an immediate rise, it took about 2-3 months since everyone was on a hiring freeze. However, in the last couple of months, we went from doing 5-7 interviews at any given point of time to 50-60 interviews,” he added.

“The future of knowledge work is remote and Pesto is accelerating this transition, connecting strong developers in India with the world’s best startups,” said Hoover.

The company operates on an Income Sharing Agreement (ISA) model, taking a 17% cut from the employee’s salary for a period of three years after placement if the professional makes more than 1.5x-2x of their existing salary package.

“A large part of the next million tech jobs will be remote and 23.5% of the world’s developers are in India. Pesto can take these opportunities & offer them to underserved markets. The timing to do this couldn’t get better,” said Nelson.

About 100 professionals have been trained through this programme, of which about 85 professionals have already been placed while the remaining 15 are in the late stages of the interview process, the company said.

On average, these engineers have received nearly a three-fold salary increment post the programme, with the highest being a 16x hike to an $82,000 salary package. The salary is paid in rupees and taxed under local tax laws, under a tripartite agreement between the US employer, Pesto, and the India-based employee.

Companies who have hired these engineers include Paypal, Highlighter, Snorkel, Human Capital, Remotion and Airmeet. For firms with no India presence, Pesto Tech charges a monthly fee to help them set up payroll software for hiring these remote talents.

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