In recent days two companies have raised two large rounds of financing at a global level. One of 270 million dollars and the other of 150. Two gigantic movements for some ‘startups’ that have raised their market value to exceed, by far, the challenge of 1,000 million. And that is not the most striking of these cases. They both belong to the same environment, a world that if you only looked at the numbers and terms used you might never find out: human resource management. Changes in work models and digitization forced by the coronavirus have made these companies become the latest bombshell of ‘software’.

The names of the two companies that have starred in the last rain of millions are Hibob (which announced the investment of 150 million this Wednesday) and Personio (who raised 270 a couple of days before) and they have become something like the leaders of this latest fever. Along with his there are many more names, among many, that of the Spanish Factorial, which raised 80 million this September, but without a doubt the one that has put a face to everything that is happening is that of the German Personio. This, still, small business has been growing steadily since the pandemic and is the perfect example of the insanity of its sector. In 10 months, its value has gone from around 1,700 million, already with the post-pandemic boom started, to exceed 6,300 after the last round. Figures that make this ‘startup’ one of the most valuable in Europe.


Its visible face is Hanno Renner, co-founder and CEO of Personio, who does not stop appearing in media around the world due to the success of his company. And what is that success based on? Well, in something as basic as the automation and digitization of the human resources work carried out by every company. Calendars, vacations, hiring, layoffs, events, payroll … All this is experiencing a paradigm shift by leaps and bounds Due to the pandemic and Renner and its competitors, what they offer are process management systems that help you improve all this.

Above all, and that is fundamental to their success, they are focused on small and medium-sized companies. “Human resources processes go beyond human resources. They involve other functions and departments. Delays are not only a waste of time, but they can also have detrimental results,” Renner said in an interview. More than 5,000 clients say they have, and Spain plays an important role, being the first country to which they opened. They claim that here they work with brands such as Domino’s Pizza, Habitissimo, Bipicar, Euromed or Mr. Wonderful.

The idea is as basic as it is key in more and more companies. Teleworking, changes in work models, increasingly frequent movements and situations such as ERTE complicate management even for the smallest companies, and these, with very tight budgets, seek to digitize to improve their processes without leaving a fortune. . There enters Personio, Factorial and the others like a knife. They basically sell tools that become your personal manager And now they are investigating how to harmonize this with the rest of the programs that are used at work. To get an idea, Personio’s ‘professional’ plan is worth around 2000 euros with accessories, money that is paid only once, or so the company says and that includes installation. Of course, of course, all your management falls into their hands.

The model seems to work, or at least if you look at investment and markets. In addition to the rounds already mentioned, a Google search is enough to see the number of millions raised by companies of this type so far this year. Rounds of all kinds that make this sector be the latest fashion in the computing world and making a quick account exceed 500 million only in this type of investment. And even close to 1,000. And does all this make sense? Some experts point to something also elementary: we are not talking about anything other than ‘software’.

Always the ‘software’

Removing the last name from HR, Andres Torrubia, artificial intelligence expert, co-founder of the Institute of Artificial Intelligence and founder of the ‘Software 2.0’ podcast, encompasses this fever within the evolution of the computer development world. That is, Personio and the other companies are based on a specific sector, but their solution is not different from that provided by technology companies to other fields: take advantage of the benefits of computing to optimize processes, be more efficient and lighten work. “I am not an HR expert, but in my vision I include it in that. It happens with Personio, with Factorial and you can even add ‘Job and Talent’ there (although it is closer to a temporary agency),” he says in conversation with Teknautas.

In addition, Torrubia also remembers an article that has become a classic and written by the genius of technology, and now also of finance, Marc Andreessen. Among other things, he is the co-founder of Netscape and co-author of Mosaic, one of the first web browsers with a graphical interface and currently, he is one of the main partners of the Andreessen Horowitz venture capital company. It is right on the portal of this last company where he wrote in 2011 ‘Why ‘software’ is eating the world‘. A long analysis in which he defends exactly what is happening now with human resources: the ‘software’ changes everything.

“My theory is that we are in the midst of dramatic and broad technological and economic change, where software companies are poised to take over vast portions of the economy. Software is increasingly being used to run businesses and industries. Most importantly, who also offer their services online – from movies to agriculture to national defense. Many of the winners are Silicon Valley-style enterprise technology companies, which are invading and tearing down established structures in the industry. In the next 10 years, I expect many more industries to be destabilized by software, through new Silicon Valley companies with a global reach, which will bring instability in most cases, “Andreessen theorized.

Why is this happening? “All the technology needed to transform industries through ‘software’ finally works and can be used on a global scale, after six decades of the information technology revolution, four decades since the invention of the microprocessor and two decades after the emergence of the modern Internet, “he added in his long explanatory ending with a phrase” I know where I am putting my money. ”

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