“…if you really look closely, most overnight successes took a long time.” — Steve Jobs
By incorporating the latest innovations and technologies, a few HR companies have made critical processes simple and efficient. But all this transformation did not happen overnight. Many of them have had inspiring and interesting beginnings.
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If you are looking for a little inspiration to pull up your own tech startup or business, take a look at some of the top HR tech companies to learn about their journey and how they changed the world of HR.
Fiverr was founded by Micha Kaufman and Shai Wininger. The founding of Fiverr was driven by the idea that typical 9-hour working days are not the only way to earn an income. They created a place where people could sell their skills to the world, without having to leave their homes. A price of $5 was set for each offer, so the offer would be affordable across the globe. The freelancers after a year were given the freedom to expand their services and rates. Since its launch in 2010, Fiverr has been constantly evolving and has reached a valuation of $3.7b
Gusto was founded in 2011 by Joshua Reeves, Tomer London, and Edward Kim with a goal to make the payroll process easier for small and medium sized businesses. The three co-founders each had witnessed the pain of using other payroll systems or doing it manually. On observing that almost half the businesses in US were managing their payroll with paper and spreadsheets, they took this opportunity to launch the cloud-based software solution. Gusto helps employers run payroll quickly and accurately. Gusto was earlier called ZenPayroll, the company had then partnered with Zenefits to offer a full suite of payroll solutions. In 2015, ZenPayroll was rebranded to Gusto and defined itself as a People Platform, a service that businesses can rely on for anything relating to their employees — HR, payroll, and employee benefits. In 2019, Gusto raised $200 million at a $3.8 billion valuation.
Coursera was founded in 2012 by Stanford University computer science professors Andrew Ng and Daphne Koller. In 2011, the two professors started offering their courses online and soon they left Stanford to launch Coursera, a platform to offer massive open online courses. Coursera was launched with a vision to give students around the world free access to college courses, taught by the best professors from the top universities. Coursera offers over 3,200 courses and 310 specializations, with partners including Columbia University, Johns Hopkins and the University of Michigan. It’s latest valuation is $2.5b
Monday.com was founded by Eran Zinman and Roy Mann in 2012. The story began when Mann, a one-time gaming entrepreneur, working at Wix, was looking for a better way to track employees and their projects. He then collaborated with Zinman who was at that time, the head of R&D at a company called Conduit Mobile. The two of them launched what was then called Dapulse. The company took off to a great start through word of mouth publicity for its team boards, which made it easy to assign and manage tasks. In 2017, the company changed its brand name from Dapulse to monday.com. Today over 141 countries use Monday.com
Upwork was found by – Odysseas Tsatalos. Odysseas’ first start up was born out of his separation from his childhood friend Stratis Karamanlakis. While working at Intacct Corp, in US, Odysseas wanted his friend to come and join him but Stratis had no plans of moving out of Athens, Greece. So to work together, both the friends collaborated on a project through teleconferencing and soon co-founded a company named ‘oDesk’. The company was based on the concept to provide employment to thousands of people all across the globe. A few milestones – The company was officially launched in 2005. In 2013, oDesk merged with Elance and was renamed Elance- oDesk. Two years later the company was renamed Upwork Global, also known as Upwork.
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Workable was founded by Nikos Moraitakis and Spyros Magiatis. It all started when both the founders who initially worked in a sales-driven environment wanted to start a software company with a product – first culture. While doing so they saw an opportunity in the field of recruitment and wanted to build a solution that would change the hiring experience for tech companies. Since they did not have any experience in recruitment profile, they hired Rob Long, who was previously a tech recruiter with marketing experience, as their VP of Product Marketing. Today, the company’s entry-level plan starts at $99 per job per month, and is a flexible option for those who are looking at short term or occasional hiring. The other plans come with a full suite of talent acquisition and applicant tracking tools and is a better value for those who are growing or consistently hiring.
Bullhorn is a cloud computing company that was founded in 1999 by Roger Colvin, Barry Hinckley, and Art Papas. Papas is a Tufts math major who left a job writing software for Thomson Financial at 24 to start Bullhorn in 1999. The company was originally founded as a platform for freelancers to find work and to collaborate, but was not very successful. In 2011 the company changed its focus to build CRM, ATS, and operations software for the staffing industry and again did not get much success. After failing at both, Bullhorn stumbled upon an opportunity- Papas met Mike O’Donnell in New Jersey who was willing to pay them to build a database for his recruiting firm to keep track of his operations over the Internet. By doing that Bullhorn again came into a profitable position. Bullhorn reached $40 million in revenues in 2012 and sold itself to Vista Equity Partners. Even after selling out, Bullhorn remains private and Papas is CEO.
Pymetrics was founded by Frida E. Polli and Julie Yoo, two neurologists from Harvard. The company was started with the vision of making job search easier and more efficient. Frida wanted to be an entrepreneur when she applied to Harvard Business School, where she realized about the inefficiencies of the recruitment process. While she studied about the various ways to measure people’s cognitive and emotional attributes, she felt neuroscience could fairly measure a person’s cognitive and emotional abilities and she decided to launch her own company. Frida and her team built a suite of games that could be played in about 30 minutes. These games use AI and behavioral data to help organisations understand their workforce better and make fairer decisions.
Beamery was founded in 2014 by Abakar Saidov, Sultan Saidov, and Mike Paterson. It began as a garage project that they started while working in the field of finance. Having started their careers during a recession, they saw the challenges that companies faced during hiring and what people faced as they were unable to get jobs. The three founders were not convinced with the recruitment system that relied on job applications and resumes and wanted to fix the system by building a new type of technology. This led to the launch of the first talent operating system – Beamery. This platform gives companies total control over the way they source, engage and hire talent. The tool offers solutions machine intelligence based solutions for sourcing, CRM, Marketing Automation and more.
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Enterprise Alumni was founded by James Sinclair and Emma Sinclair in 2016. EnterpriseAlumni is a company that develops enterprise software to manage corporate alumni and retirees of large companies. It began when SAP wanted to launch a formal Alumni Network in 2016 in an effort to drive recruitment of Gen Z employees. In 2015, SAP asked a custom enterprise software developer EnterpriseJungle to develop the cloud platform. In 2017, EnterpriseJungle rebranded as EnterpriseAlumni and came to market with existing SAP customers. Later in the same year it announced that it was no longer exclusive to SAP. EnterpriseAlumni is a fully customisable corporate alumni platform. It enables talent pipeline transformation, deep engagement with the extended network and accelerates sales leads