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HR Tech News Analysis – January 2019

NUESTFeatured HR Tech News Analysis – January 2019

HR Tech News Analysis – January 2019

HR Tech News Analysis – January 2019

Compared to January 2018, the first month of 2019 indicates 4 times higher investment in HR Tech companies. Considering USD 180 Million in investments, 2019 looks to continue the trends of fresh investments, innovative products, partnerships, and acquisitions. Read for some significant deals in HR Tech in January 2019.

Industry Focused Solutions

HR Technology companies in the Talent acquisition space are increasingly looking to acquire and partner with services companies focused on specific industries. Some are even creating technology solutions primarily focused on sunrise industries in the USA, like the one’s fuelled by legalized cannabis.

The USA cannabis industry is estimated to be USD 146 Billion by 2025 and the industry is hungry for relevant talent across various roles. Companies like Vangst are looking to help individuals find relevant roles in this new industry. They have been able to raise USD 10 million in funding to pursue this quest and they have an interesting story to share.

Another example here is of Andela. This company has so far raised capital from Mark Zuckerberg’s philanthropic organization and now Al Gore’s sustainability-focused investment firm is leading a USD 100 million funding round for them. The company trains software developers in African countries and places them to work remotely with US organizations. This is gig economy and outsourcing combined together to provide quality manpower for a fixed duration. It is an interesting experiment and if successful and sustained can find applications in other industries and countries.

Growth Funding Galore

One of the top assessment companies globally, The Predictive Index (PI), raised USD 50 Million to launch a talent optimization category and build the world’s first talent optimization network. This news is particularly interesting because it comes from an industry veteran with 7000 customers across 142 countries. The company website gives some idea about this talent optimization approach. We are particularly excited about possibilities here because of the volume of data that is available with PI. PI can create unique offerings for companies across sectors and geographies. Let’s keenly watch this one to understand how it unfolds.

Most likely an HR Tech unicorn in the making, Talentsoft, received funding of USD 50 million. The 3 key priorities in the press release indicate the direction most HR Tech enterprise solution providers ought to take to survive and thrive in this competitive market. Data, employee experience, and platform which integrate other solutions are important in this market. We reckon the HR technology platforms will have to look beyond HR technology applications and also include adjacent applications, particularly in FinTech and Supply Chain.

Limelight Health, a solution provider in employee benefits industry raised USD 33.5 Million in its series C. The company received this funding from a group of investors led by Principal and also saw participation from other insurance players like Axa. This is an excellent example of a point solution working with the ecosystem partners to create innovative solutions for real problems.

The Acquisitions

OutMatch acquired WePow. This appears to be an acquisition of technology capabilities to bolster predictive talent analytics applied to talent acquisition. HR Tech solution providers are looking to add capabilities to help their customers hire better while maintaining a great candidate experience. Video interviewing and analytics related to it is a niche area which when combined with other technological capabilities can provide a great value proposition.

In an interesting move, HR tech solution provider, Xopa has acquired Nastrac, strategic hiring and search firm. This is interesting because it allows an HR technology player to integrate its solution in the services. It also means that HR tech solution companies, especially in the talent acquisition and learning space, will have to look at the problem from enterprise and service provider perspective. The HR technology solutions have to build capabilities and functionalities that serve both these user communities. If an enterprise customer adopts an HR technology solution along with its ecosystem partners, it helps provide a seamless candidate experience.

Workjam acquired Peerio, continuing the trend of consolidation within a particular category, in this case, workforce management. The boundaries between the HR Tech categories are blurring. Workforce management and workforce collaboration and communication are getting integrated. Enterprise customers are likely to demand critical capabilities from either solution providers. This will open up opportunities for HR Technology companies to acquire solutions in adjacent categories. However, the decision to go deeper and/or go wider is a tricky one for most HR technology vendors.

The Momentum

The month of January has definitely maintained and enhanced the momentum for HR technology companies across the globe. This month is marked with major funding rounds, acquisitions, and partnership announcements. We reckon 2019 has the potential to surpass the USD 6 Billion investment mark set in 2018. Let’s wait and watch if that happens.

Amol Pawar
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