HR Tech Interview With Jordi Romero, Co-founder and CEO at Factorial

Journey into Tech

Hi, Jordi. Welcome to our Interview Series. Please tell us a little bit about your journey and what inspired you to start with Factorial.

I met Bernat Farrero (co-founder and CRO) and Pau Ramon (co-founder and CTO) back in college. After taking different professional paths we reunited and shared our experiences. After several years working and founding companies, mostly in the productivity and software space, we all realized that management in organizations was broken and there was no real solution to manage that problem. Small to medium companies we worked with were buried under manual work and the way that teams were managed was not based on value but old, established processes. We want to empower small and medium businesses (SMBs) with our all-in-one people-first HR management software platform so that companies can focus on people, their aspirations and their desire to grow, both personally and professionally.

What is Factorial and what are your core offerings?

Factorial is an all-in-one HR management platform on a mission to bring enterprise-level HR automation to SMBs everywhere. It is not just about maximizing productivity, we want to allow HR managers to focus on the tasks that are most important and valuable to employees. Our product optimizes mechanical tasks like payroll procedures, time tracking for employees and shift management. By solving those problems, we give SMB managers the most effective tool to add value to their product and their teams in the current market.

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How did you plan your journey toward becoming one of the most sought-after HR automation platforms for the SMB market?

When we were in the early stages of developing the product, we offered it for free so that we could get important feedback to help us build and shape the offer. Companies that create this kind of new product don’t grow in a straight line, it took us three years of trying and thinking of new ways to make the perfect product. We learned a lot and adapting to the needs of the businesses we were serving by charging per employee rather than a fixed amount was one of the best decisions we made. If the companies using Factorial suddenly have a smaller team, they pay less; if they grow, they pay more. That was the moment of explosion for us.

How do you fit into the modern HR Technology stack? What are your key features that CHROs should look out for?

Factorial is an all-in-one platform where we allow HR managers to manage shifts and schedules, upload and send sensitive documents and information and improve communication within organizations. We also give autonomy to employees by allowing them to manage their absences, expenses data in reports and more. These tools all sit together in one platform, acting as a catalyst to create people-centric businesses, something that should be a key strength of SMBs.

Tell us more about your latest funding. How do you plan to utilise the funds?

We have nine global markets, so we’re going to work on strengthening each one of them while also focusing on opening a brand new office in Miami. We will also be looking into expanding into new markets. Within Factorial, we are going to focus on solving more problems to meet the needs of managers and employees of SMBs globally.

How do you foresee the trend of HR automation in employee lifecycle management?

HR automation is the future. The demand for HR automation is growing by the day and we anticipate that all SMBs in the next few years will be seeking out some sort of technology to help manage their teams. Factorial is not just a product, it is the most effective tool to use to grow a company. In this scenario, where competitive value is increasingly hard to maintain, our platform automates time-consuming tasks to allow SMBs to focus on its people, what moves them and where they can perform the best. Factorial is uniquely designed to suit the needs of SMB managers and employees, with an intuitive, easy-to-navigate interface offered at a competitive price.

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Please tell us about the state of the HRtech-centric transformations specific to the current “Great Resignation” and talent migrations trends.

Covid had a huge impact on employees’ expectations, needs and willingness to tolerate environments that do not serve them. When employees feel neglected and ignored, especially in a remote or hybrid working environment, they are much more likely to find a role elsewhere that serves them better. Employee loyalty is not the same as it once was and employers are responsible for managing their employees needs appropriately. HR technology, specifically Factorial, is hugely instrumental in helping to manage this. With real-time feedback and valuable data analytics, employers can see early signs of disengaged employees and respond appropriately, ensuring they remain people-first organizations that prioritize the happiness of their teams, treating each person individually.

The last two years have accelerated digital transformation for HRtech businesses of all sizes and stature. What has been the biggest lesson for you that helped you stay on top of your game? Would you like to share your pandemic experience on how you managed to continue your development works and research during the uncertain times?

The pandemic has certainly changed the way companies and employees build their relationships. Starting from remote work, to flexibility, time management and empowerment. One of our biggest learnings and bets at Factorial, was that small companies really wanted to be competitive in the labor market not only on the job itself but offering all the benefits development and management practices that employees could have on a larger organization. We learned this from valuable feedback from our customers and built a product responding to this need that not only automates processes but helps SMBs to focus on attracting and retaining one the scarcest resources we have today: talent.

What kind of data science concepts you have used to make your product so useful for the HR teams? 

One of the biggest assets we have as a Factorial is our horizontal approach to the HR function. This horizontal approach enables Factorial to collect all the relevant data points that organizations need to have in order to make better decisions for their teams. Our analytics team is always focused on bringing value to SMBs when making those decisions. From growth models to predicted business revenue using the thousands of data points captured by our platform, to diversity and inclusion classifiers to help SMEs become fairer workplaces of opportunity, our platform is built to give managers all the evidence they need.

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Your take on the future of data science and AI in the HR automation products:

Using AI, we can forget about procedures and tasks that only require mechanical skills, freeing HR managers up to focus on the more important tasks. The old vision that looks at people as only resources will not stand companies in good stead to survive in the years to come. At Factorial, our HR team is named People because people are the focus. We want them to be motivated and on top of their game, helping us to find answers to complex problems that will allow our organization to succeed. AI is therefore key in the people-centric future that is coming.

An advice to every data science / AI professional looking to start in this space:

You must understand the needs and priorities for the business to know what needs to happen to make the project succeed. You should know what your individual contribution needs to be and remember that the company will have a bigger and faster impact if the people within it take care of each other. This vision is crucial, as well as knowing what you are most interested in and where you will be most successful within the business.

Thank you, Jordi! That was fun and hope to see you back on HR Tech Series soon.

[To participate in our interview series, please write to us at sghosh@martechseries.com

Jordi is a co-founder and CEO of Factorial. He was previously CTO and VP Business Development & Platform at Redbooth, a collaboration and communication platform Software as a Service in the Cloud and behind the firewall. 

Factorial Logo
Factorial was founded in 2016 in Barcelona by Jordi Romero (CEO), Bernat Farrero (CRO) and Pau Ramon (CTO), three entrepreneurs with deep expertise building productivity software. The company’s vision is to enable SMBs globally to make better people decisions based on data and increasing data driven insights. By automating and centralising processes such as recruiting, onboarding, absence management, payroll, and time tracking, Factorial helps companies reduce up to one week’s of repetitive, administrative tasks per month. With 7000+ customers across 9 countries, Factorial serves clients such as Freshly Cosmetics, Vicio, Booking.com, and Whisbi.