Moncton, New Brunswick-based human resources (HR) tech startup Alongside has acquired jobs site CareerBeacon from Irving family-owned Brunswick News.
Alongside acquired the majority of CareerBeacon’s employees as part of the strategic deal, which closed last week and will see Alongside maintain the CareerBeacon brand. The financial terms of the acquisition, Alongside’s first to date, were not disclosed.
When the chance to acquire CareerBeacon arose, Boudreau said it was “too big of an opportunity for us to pass up on.”
Alongside co-founder and CEO Yves Boudreau told BetaKit that the vision here is to integrate the startup’s HR tools and offerings with CareerBeacon’s jobs site. “Basically, we want to be the first job board in the market that also has the most robust set of [HR] tools available to companies and to job seekers,” he said.
Founded in 2014 under the name Qimple, Alongside is an HR tech firm focused on improving the hiring process. The startup offers an applicant-tracking system tailored to small-to-medium-sized businesses. To date, Alongside has raised a little over $2 million CAD in venture funding.
Boudreau said Alongside’s “sweet spot” is companies with 100 to 500 employees, adding that although its platform is sector-agnostic, it has a bit of a focus on the tech and professional services industries.
CareerBeacon, which is also based in Moncton, is a job board that serves employers and job seekers. According to its LinkedIn, CareerBeacon was founded in 1997.
The startup’s relationship with CareerBeacon dates back to 2014, when employers using the Alongside platform first became able to post their jobs directly to CareerBeacon. In 2017, Alongside partnered with CareerBeacon to revamp its brand and manage its recruitment and talent management website.
According to Boudreau, CareerBeacon was an appealing acquisition target because it has over 2,000 active customers, and has seen an average of 5,800 new jobs posted monthly in 2021.
CareerBeacon was previously a division of Brunswick News, according to CareerBeacon’s website’s ‘About’ page. Brunswick News is the Atlantic Canadian media group behind the Telegraph-Journal and the Times & Transcript newspapers. Brunswick News is owned by the notoriously secretive Irving family, one of Canada’s wealthiest families. The Irving family owns Brunswick News through Saint John-based JD Irving Ltd, which holds interests in industries like oil, lumber, and shipbuilding.
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Boudreau declined to name CareerBeacon’s seller, but offered some commentary, saying that he’s been told that “[CareerBeacon] is one of the first businesses that’s ever been acquired [from] the seller.”
BetaKit has reached out to Brunswick News for comment on the deal, but Brunswick News did not respond by time of publication.
As part of Alongside’s partnership with CareerBeacon, the startup rebuilt CareerBeacon’s entire product, re-launching the new version in May 2018. Since then, Boudreau said over 200,000 jobs have been posted on CareerBeacon, adding that he expects the site to reach one million total job applications soon.
Unfortunately, the partnership didn’t quite materialize the way Alongside had envisioned it, and in 2020, Alongside shifted its focus to building a new product in AllOnboard HR, an automated onboarding software offering, while still managing the technical operations of CareerBeacon.
However, when the chance to acquire CareerBeacon arose, Boudreau said it was “too big of an opportunity for us to pass up on.”
In addition to eventually making all of its existing offerings available within CareerBeacon itself, Alongside intends to fill some other gaps in the hiring pipeline, ranging from employment offers to payroll and ongoing time-off management.
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Boudreau said Alongside plans to remain Canada-focused for the short-term, as it looks to increase the presence of CareerBeacon “from coast to coast.” He added that Alongside also intends to reach more newcomers to the workforce through post-education partnerships with schools across the country.
Alongside currently has four employees, and plans to add six more from the CareerBeacon team, as well as a trio of new hires.
Following its CareerBeacon deal, Boudreau said Alongside has future acquisition plans, adding that the startup will “probably take a break” next year, but intends to explore additional acquisitions in 2023, with an eye towards niche job boards in other markets.
Feature image courtesy of Alongside