This week, SAP.io announced their investment in Paris-based workforce optimisation software company Andjaro. Founded in 2015, helps organisations deal with absences and redeployment of internal staff. At a time when health is at the forefront of people’s minds and managers are struggling to balance productivity with staff safety - all while working remotely - tech solutions such as Andjaro offer a valuable lifeline. It comes as no surprise, then, that they have secured this latest financial boost.
Commenting on the news, Ram Jambunathan, SAP senior vice president and managing director of SAP.io said “SAP customers are continually exploring how to best allocate their most valuable resource – their talent – especially in the current environment. Andjaro’s platform can provide enterprises with new opportunities to redeploy existing human resources efficiently.”
It has been a busy time for tech companies. The people and work tech space is no different. Across the world, large-scale financial investments in these solutions and start-ups are cropping up at a rapid rate. Undoubtedly acceAndjarolerated by COVID and the drive to more remote-friendly work arrangements, these platforms, start-ups and organisations stand to see a sharp spike in investment in the coming years and more enormous growth is more or less inevitable. The majority of HR leaders now say they expect remote operations to continue after COVID. There must be extensive tech to enable this wide scale pivot to a more virtual working world - as well as enough money to match this growth.
Back in February 2020, Grand View Research projected the global human resources management software business to grow to USD 38.17 billion by 2027 with a CAGR of 11.7% from 2020 to 2027, a number that will certainly have expanded given the transformation the world of work has undergone in a few short months. Sensing this shift, a number of VCs and private investors are putting large amounts of money into HR tech solutions. Here, we outline just a few of these instances, many of which have happened just in the last few months.
In April 2020, at the height of the pandemic in Europe, Spanish HR processes start-up Factorial received €15 million in a round led by Silicon Valley-based venture capitalists CRV. This record-breaking financial gain was the largest of its kind in Spain so far in 2020. In a recent interview with TechCrunch, Factorial founder and CEO Jordi Romero said that the company had seen a spike in interest from companies who needed to establish remote, cloud-based solutions fast. On the cusp of the outbreak, Factorial said they had to “get creative” and put out information on how to deal with furloughs and layoffs to clients, as well as giving free access to their product during the lockdown.
This month, in Canada, all-in-one HR benefits payroll platform Humi secured almost US$11MN in funding led by Tribe Capital who have also provided funding for Slack and Carta. The pandemic has caused a leap in interest: since March, the organisation has reportedly seen an 80% spike in demand from companies keen to find a one-stop-shop solution for all their virtual, cloud-based work needs.
In their portfolio, SAP.io have already made a number of significant investments in people and work tech solutions. Earlier this month, SAP.io Fund announced their investment of 250,000 euros in Romanian start-up, Jobful, a recruitment platform that uses gamification to build profiles and test candidate skills that are then honed and developed through games.
Also in their arsenal, SAP.io have made investments in recruitment software company Paradox, an assistance intelligence platform that helps with interviewing, onboarding, resume scanning and managing paperwork. In May 2020, as the pandemic’s impacts rumbled on, it was announced Paradox had secured $40MN in Series B Funding in a round led by Brighton Park Capital. In a statement at the time, Paradox founder and CEO said “it’s inspiring to see how quickly our team and our technology has helped many of our clients adapt to hiring and talent management challenges they’ve never seen.”
The impacts of the pandemic have certainly accelerated a need for companies to quickly and efficiently help clients adopt new tech and uncover solutions for unprecedented sets of questions - many of which they’d never have had to ask themselves before.
Employee experience and staying connected in a remote-work world
Of the many lessons COVID-19 has taught us, perhaps the most pertinent of these is the importance of valuing our people. For this, employee experience tracking is key. Speaking recently to Forbes, Dr. Steve Hunt, Chief Expert, Technology & Work at SAP, outlined the importance of mapping and tracking this aspect of working life: “employee experience management tells us the ‘why’ behind the perceptions employees have about the moments that matter to them and allows employers to get inside the heads of employees, turn on the sound, and understand what is working and not working for them,” he said.
In a time of remote work and distanced operations, it has become harder for some managers to hear what their employees have to say. Informal, day-to-day interactions are all but gone, and casual, in-person catch-ups are much harder to facilitate. For this reason, employee engagement might begin to suffer. In an April 2020 CIO survey by Fortune and Adobe, over half of respondents (53%) said getting their employees to effectively communicate was their number one challenge under COVID-19 lockdowns.
Tech solutions can help, and the various investments in this area are testament to this growth potential. In their ‘Market Guide for Voice of the Employee Solutions’ released last month, Gartner outlined how digital adoption and remote work under COVID-19 is driving companies “to seek more frequent means of monitoring and assessing employee sentiment.”
In the last year, SAP.io have also backed real-time recognition platform Disco - an engagement and feedback tech solution that tracks engagement with company values, raises awareness of achievements, rewards top performers and traces metrics for trends among workers. As the way people work continues to change - post-COVID and beyond - solutions such as Disco will become evermore crucial to sustain engagement, keep up morale and drive better communication in remote work set-ups.
In terms of rewards and benefits systems, companies like Bonusly have been empowering employees to reward one another with year-round “points” that can be converted to cash bonuses. In June of this year, Bonusly gained US$9 million in a Series A financing round led by Access Venture Partners. In a time when collaboration and communication are at a premium, these innovative infrastructures and systems are attracting some serious financial attention.
The world of work is changing. As a result, the people and work technology space is going to see a tremendous uptick in investment over the coming years. From onboarding to payroll to staffing to employee engagement, technology will form the foundation of HR operations well into the foreseeable future. In an already lucrative industry full of exciting potential, business will continue to boom in any arena where tech, people, jobs and work intersect.
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