I talk with a lot of HR Tech companies and every now and then I find one that is hitting it out of the park. HiBob, an Israeli juggernaut who I met in 2017, is one of these companies. Let me tell you the story.
First, the core HRMS market (employee systems of record) is massive. Every company of every size needs one of these systems, and as you grow they take on a more important role. Most of the mid-market HR platforms come from payroll companies (ADP, Paychex, Paycom, Paycor, Paylocity) and a few come from specialized players (Namely, Gusto, Trinet, UKG, and others).
The problem with these platforms is just that: they are payroll systems first, management systems second. Payroll itself is dauntingly complex, so vendors that focus here have to address thousands of payroll issues. This includes local state and county taxes, legal employee status, work relationships and pay models, and a constant set of new regulations around the world. And you get no “credit” for doing this well. Payroll managers expect these systems to work flawlessly, and the CEO couldn’t care less what system you use.
On the other hand, business executives, HR leaders, and other managers desperately need these systems for other things. They store the company organization structure, they tell you who is coming to work when, they track time and attendance, and they automate things like performance management, coaching, onboarding, development, and all sorts of social interactions between people.
HiBob, which was founded by Ronni Zahavi (a tech entrepreneur who thought HR software would be “easy”), is one of the most interesting of these I’ve seen. As you can hear from my podcast with Ronni, when I first saw “Bob” (the platform has a personal name), I was more or less blown away. The system feels like “Instagram on the front end with Workday on the back end.”
Today the company has more than 1,500 customers, is valued at $1.65 Billion, and has attracted some of the fastest-growing mid-sized companies in the world (Monday, Gong, Hopin, Monzo, Happy Socks, Fiverr, and VaynerMedia). And that’s really the key, the company focuses on companies with “hundreds of employees” who are growing, global, and employee-focused.
What To Learn From HiBob
There are a few lessons to learn here, and my podcast with Ronni points them out.
First, HiBob was founded by “non-HR people.” Ronni and his team were just naive enough to think this would be easy, so they focused on the consumer experience first. (Jim Bell, the founder of Glint, was exactly the same).
Second, Ronni’s team is patient. In the early days of HiBob, the system was gorgeous and compelling, but it was missing some things. He patiently and consistently listened to customers and now the system rivals Workday for many of its features.
Third HiBob’s platform is built to connect to everything. Not only does the system connect to payroll and compliance systems, it has some of the most elegant connections to Microsoft Teams, Slack, and other next-generation productivity tools around.
Finally, the company is laser-focused on its market. Rather than try to build a system for companies of all sizes, Ronni’s team goes after modern, fast-growing, people-centric companies that are global from the beginning. These are demanding organizations where the HR team is barely keeping up. They want a system that is instantly useful and delightful for employees, and that’s what HiBob has built.
I encourage you to listen to my conversation with Ronni, you’ll learn a lot about entrepreneurship, the HR marketplace, and how to run a fast-growing company.