Here’s how PeopleDoc did it:
1. They became a pioneer in HR digitization – and the fast-growing global leader in cloud-based document and employee relationship management systems.
2. They make it much easier to access, share and secure distributed HR information while automatically ensuring compliance and disaster recovery – especially in global organizations.
3. Founded in France as Novapost, the company has doubled revenues every year since 2010, then launched in the US in 2014 as PeopleDoc.
The $17.5M Series B was led by Accel Partners, while previous investors, including Alven Capital, an independent VC firm based in Paris, and Kernel Investissements, led by Pierre Kosciusko-Morizet, the founder and former CEO of Priceminister, also came on board.
With offices in NYC and Boston, the company supports an impressive customer base of more than 150 major companies, including Dow Chemical, Total, Motorola and Starbucks. At the end of the day, isn’t it always about people? Speaking of which, PeopleDoc key man Jonathan Benhamou, the company’s Co-Founder and CEO gives us his views on raising a round, what’s next on the to-do list, and New York vs Paris cuisine:
Tell us about your product.
Our flagship product, PeopleDoc Enterprise, is a cloud-based solution that consumerizes HR data and allows companies to organize, access and track global HR information and documents in a more affordable, controllable, efficient and strategic way. It does this by aggregating scattered HR data across offices and geographies, different data formats (e.g. emails, paper, online data) and existing Human Resource Information Systems into a unified, online view of each employee’s HR file and all of the information within it. This help makes HR departments and their companies be more regulation compliant, employee friendly and disaster-recovery ready. PeopleDoc requires no user training, as it looks very familiar to viewers — like cloud apps such as Box and DropBox — and also offers intuitive reporting and dashboard features. Companies save money, time, aggravation and paper when they use PeopleDoc.
How is it different?
It is the only cloud-based technology out there specifically designed to bring together all pieces of HR data into an easy to use, intuitive and secure viewing platform that is agnostic in terms of prior HRIS investments.
What market you are targeting and how big is it?
Large companies (over 1000 employees) that are global and/or distributed are our primary customer target. We service any industry vertical and have customers in all. However, we are completely HR focused.
What’s your business model?
We sell our technology as Software as a Service (SaaS.) There is a system set-up fee that is calculated depending on the type and number of integrations each customer needs to their existing systems where HR information lives. This set-up takes a few weeks. Once this is completed, there is then a monthly subscription fee. We do not charge for ‘users’ or number of documents stored. There are nominal, optional fees for multiple cloud storage locations, multiple languages (beyond English, Spanish and French which are included), and a few other customer-specific requirements.
What was the funding process like?
In early February 2014, we developed a pitch deck and financials to present to a targeted set of VCs. Three weeks later, we had two Term Sheets from top firms. We decided to work with Accel Partners based on their terms as well as the caliber and experience of the firm’s team in our market.
What are the biggest challenges that you faced while raising capital?
The key challenge and opportunity for us was to find an ideal match for the type of funder we wanted to work with. We were looking for a partner who would be true fit for our strategy, market space and global goals vs. just looking for a source of money and valuation. We found this broader match in Accel Partners.
What factors about your business led your investors to write the check?
Our proven ability to become an HR technology leader in the European market quite quickly and our very promising beginning in the US market played a role. Our team and strong customer retention track record with over 150+ customers was also important, and — of course — the HR market’s true business need for the product we are uniquely offering was key.
What are the milestones you plan to achieve in the next six months?
We have a lot of milestones coming up before the end of the year. We will be opening Germany and UK offices to expand our European footprint. We will continue growing staff in our new US office at the rate of two to three new people per week. We are sponsoring, speaking and exhibiting at leading US industry shows and events. We’re really working hard to cement a successful foundation for sustained growth.
What advice can you offer companies in New York that do not have a fresh injection of capital in the bank?
My advice would be not to go looking for funding too soon – focus on your business and get it really solid first. When you have a solid product, solid customers and a strong team internally, you can then go for capital – it makes the process much easier and faster and you have much more leverage as well.
Where do you see the company going now over the near term?
Having already signed four major customers in the US in just four months since opening the New York City office, we are working hard to build strong and growing interest in our solutions. We are putting a good investment behind US sales and marketing to help drive this awareness and demand. At the same time, we will pursue further growth in Europe as well. Smart and strategic expansion is really our near-term goal while –of course — keeping a continual eye to maintaining and growing the high quality of service and technological innovation our customers expect.
Since New York is also considered a food capital of the world, what do you think of the food here and what’s your favorite ethic restaurant?
Being from Paris originally, it’s just not possible for me to admit that NYC is THE food capital of the world…but it is a good second! French food of course is my favorite but my favorite restaurant so far in New York City has been Jungsik.