The Usual Suspects

There has continued to be tremendous investment in the HR technology space over the summer. This is included some very large transactions, such as Workday’s $1.55 billion acquisition of Adaptive Insights, and ADP’s acquisition of Celergo for an undisclosed amount. Growth investments continued as well, with talent management platform ClearCompany raising its first investment round of $60 million, along with an announced expansion of its partnership with ADP. Additionally, recruiting powerhouse iCIMS received an undisclosed investment from Vista Equity during an already busy year in which they acquired TextRecruit and expanded their relationship with ADP and Ultimate.

There have also been a number of other transactions that are bringing attention to some sometime smaller, lesser-known solutions. And given the current talent market, it’s probably not surprising to note that many of these investments reflect increasing focus on how employers brand themselves in the marketplace, and use compensation and benefits to attract and retain the talent they need.

The Not so Usual

Perkspot. This organization, focused on securing exclusive perks and savings discounts for employees, received a $50 million investment from Susquehanna. There is a lot of competition in this space, but continued interest from employers in innovative ways to keep employees on board has made the idea of discounting things they use in everyday life intriguing.

meQuilibrium. In a significantly smaller transaction, meQuilibrium took a $7 million series C investment to further their efforts in building organizational and individual resiliency. They also recently hired industry veterans Neal Bruce and Kerry Smith to look after product and customer success, respectively. Expect to see that $7 million fuel increased efforts to gain visibility in the market, if Bruce and Smith’s influence is headed.

Gusto. Gusto’s latest round of investment brought in over $140 million from a group of new investors, bringing its total investment over $300 million. Gusto is an HCM platform aimed at the small and midmarket, but has a strong position and heritage in payroll and benefits. They frame one of their key differentiators as the ability to bring benefits once only available to large companies to smaller organizations. With its announced acquisition of Compdata, Salary gains additional expertise in compensation surveys and consulting services, and Compdata is able to leverage the technical expertise of, bringing together much-needed services and technology for organizations thinking about compensation.

Reward Gateway. With its acquisition of Brand Integrity for an undisclosed amount, Reward Gateway hopes to expand its employee engagement platform and solutions further into the US market. The acquisition also brings many marquee brands into the Reward Gateway family.

What does it mean?

This latest round of investment and acquisitions raised three key thoughts for me.

  • Investment is not anywhere near slowing down
  • The big players are getting bigger, not just by acquisition, but by firming up ecosystem partnerships that put them center stage in the buyer relationship.
  • In an effort to differentiate themselves as employers, buyers may reach a state of confusion when trying to differentiate among the many providers vying to help them deliver the employee experience that will help them attract and retain talent.

As we enter September, hang on tight. It’s going to be a whirlwind of fall conferences. And I will be keeping up to date here with the HR Stuff You Should Know.