Waterloo, ON-based TribeHR announced its most recent round of funding today, a new injection of $2.5 million in funding led by Relay Ventures and including existing investors Matrix Partners. The new funding will help the company, which was founded in 2009 and has so far raised just a seed round of $1 million in addition to the amount announced today, continue to focus on driving engagement through social and mobile tools.
TribeHR provides companies with a complete, socially driven HR management tool for small and medium-sized businesses. The platform is designed to drive engagement with HR at the general staff level, unlocking it from its usual image as a chore relegated primarily to administrative personnel that ordinary users only deal with when absolutely required to do so. The route to driving deeper engagement, according to TribeHR co-founder and CEO Joseph Fung, is through social and mobile vectors, both of which have provided the startup with much of its early traction, but still represent plenty of untapped opportunity left to explore.
Fung notes that already, the company’s clients are seeing much higher engagement than is usual with HR software, including average use by ordinary employees on the system that exceeds the time put in by software administrators. “One big thing is putting more control over data in the hands of employees,” he said in an interview, explaining why that is. “They have way more control over what they’re sharing with the company as well as with employees. And what we also do is collect social engagement, and help put it on a formal performance record.”
Part of the reason for raising this funding is to help build out and deepen those social hooks, which include the ability to track when people acknowledge and praise the success of their colleagues, or contribute to a project informally by fostering discussion or offering up ideas. But the bigger opportunity lies in mobile.
“What we’re seeing is that the fastest growing segment in terms of usage is from mobile devices, including both smartphones and tablets,” Fung said. “So you’ll be seeing more attention being paid on our mobile experience over the next twelve months.” That attention will come in the form of designing mobile experiences and apps that allow employees to do specific things like book vacation, but in a way that’s designed and suited for iPhones, iPads and other categories of devices. These will come in the form of both native software offerings and web-based experiences, Fung told us.
Fung wouldn’t go so far as to say that TribeHR is adopting a mobile-first strategy, but he did say that “mobile’s the most critical component to drive engagement, and for a B2B SaaS app, engagement is your lifeblood.” That’s something competitors like Unicorn HRO and PayrollHero are also looking to take advantage of, so the timing is definitely right for this funding and the aggressive engineering effort it will allow TribeHR to pursue.