The last quarter of 2018 saw only modest activity in the skilling and HR tech space. The quarter saw two work tech/ HR tech startup raising funds more than $4 Mn but saw a significant number of acquisitions in this space.
As per Deloitte Consulting LLP, the HR technology marketplace is a $400 Bn market globally. Investor interest in this sector is steadily growing globally and in India as well. It is estimated that Indian firms can save at least $600 Mn annually with HR tech. As organizations turn more towards digitization, investments in the sector are expected to grow.
Here’s a quick look at the significant fundraisings and acquisitions in the HR tech space and workspace in the last quarter of this year.
Fundraisings/ Investments from Oct-Dec 2018
• Hush: Employee focussed HR the app Hush raised Rs 4.5 Cr in a fresh round of funding from existing investors, Accel, Shamik Sharma, Business Head at Curefit, and an angel investor in the month of November. This was Hush’s second round of funding this year. Hush will use the proceeds to expand the team, grow the platform’s user base, and launch new features on the app.
• Innov8: Coworking startup Innov8, owned by Guerilla Infra Solutions Pvt. Ltd, raised a $4 Mn pre-Series A round led by Credence Family Office in the month of October. Existing investors also participated in the funding round. Innov8 will utilize the capital to expand its footprint beyond Delhi NCR, Mumbai, Bengaluru, and Chandigarh.
• DataTrained: Bengaluru Based Edtech startup DataTrained raised a second round of funding of Rs12 Cr in December from a pool of 3 investors including Ashish Nadiadwala (New York), Rupesh Sinha (Bengaluru) and Mithlesh Thakur (Bengaluru), all high net worth individuals, for a stake of 20% in the company. The company offers 50 courses conducted by 60 highly rated faculty members.
Globally, the big funding was SoftBank, which is by far the biggest investor in co-working space WeWork, agreeing to pay $3 Bn to the company for the opportunity to buy shares before September 2019 at a price of $110 a share or higher, depending on whether WeWork goes public, is acquired or raises a $1 Bn round before that date. Irrespective of the outcome, the deal would bring the value of WeWork around $42 Bn, according to the company.
Meanwhile, closer home in the APAC region, Singapore-based jobs search platform Sendhelper raised S$610K in seed funding from Asian technology investor Captii ventures. The startup founded by IIM Bengaluru alumnus, Rupam Biswas, also has an ecommerce platform which provides household services such as cleaning, cooking, and laundry in Singapore but plans to use the funds raised to expand its online jobs search business.
The quarter also saw École Hôtelière de Lausanne (EHL), a Swiss hospitality management university making a strategic investment into the mobile technology learning startup Boost in October. The investment will enable Boost to improvise its existing mobile learning solutions and develop new solutions to address the needs of the hospitality industry.
Acquisitions from Oct-Dec 2018
In the Indian HR tech space, five acquisitions were completed in these three months.
• Upgrad and Acadview: Edtech startup UpGrad acquired job skilling platform Acadview Software Pvt. Ltd for an undisclosed sum in the month of October. Promoted by entrepreneur Ronnie Screwvala, the edtech startup aims to extend its online learning platform to the undergraduate level through the acquisition.
• Mercer and Mettl: In the month of October, Mercer, one of the leading global consulting firms in advancing health, wealth and career agreed to acquire Mettl, an HR tech startup with cloud-based technology and data sciences-driven talent assessments, based in India. Ilya Bonic, Global President of Mercer’s Career line of business believes that the acquisition signifies Mercer’s entry into the rapidly-growing global talent assessment market and further enhances its position as a trusted strategic talent advisor to companies.
• AuthBridge Research and Footprints Collateral Services: The month of October also saw AuthBridge Research Services announcing the acquisition of Footprints Collateral Services from Bangalore. The acquisition marks the biggest deal in employee background screening industry.
• One Co. work and IShare Space: Delhi headquartered Co-working space One Co.Work acquired IShareSpace, an emerging Mumbai based co-working space provider in October. This acquisition has further strengthened the infrastructural framework of One Co.Work. The deal was closed for over Rs. 3.5 Cr and post-acquisition, One Co.Work will have 8 centers and 1500+ seats to give a substantial boost to the growing popularity of co-working in India.
• Leena AI and VadR: Gurugram based HR Tech startup Leena AI acquihired VR Analytics firm VadR in the month of December. VadR is a Silicon Valley-based firm that offers visual analytics tool to help organize and understand data better.
Meanwhile globally, Microsoft owned LinkedIn acquired Glint, a company that deals in employee engagement and helps people in organizations do their best work, develop their skills, and improves business results. With LinkedIn’s insights into the larger workforce alongside Glint’s internal view into employee engagement and skills, the company is planning to tap the talent leaders to answer all the questions that keep the HR leaders awake at night.
The quarter also saw Accenture acquiring California based DAZ Systems, a provider of Oracle ERP Cloud services with broad experience and assets that help organizations deploy and integrate enterprise performance management and human capital management applications. The acquisition further bolsters Accenture’s robust Oracle capabilities and delivers new value for clients on their journeys to the cloud.