Cloud Startup Zenefits Aims to End HR Headaches

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    We don’t often focus much on venture capital funding announcements here at IT Business Edge. We also don’t get many chances to mention Hollywood actors. But today’s news of $66.5 million in Series B funding that has been secured by payroll and benefits startup Zenefits is a little different.

    VentureBeat and others note that a January first round of funding, followed so quickly by a June 2nd round, demonstrates strong interest not only in the company itself, but in HR software solutions. Zenefits can brag that Institutional Venture Partners (IVP), which focuses on later-stage investments mainly, is sold on the operation. IVP is “thrilled to help them disrupt the HR software market,” according to IVP General Partner Jules Maltz. The company was founded in January 2013 and now has a total of $83.6 million in funding from the two rounds.

    Zenefits, explains Reuters, offers a free, cloud-based set of core HR services to small and mid-size businesses, and generates revenue by charging fees to insurance companies.

    Chronus predicted back in January that we should expect to see more sophisticated, streamlined use of technology within HR and talent development groups this year, and that growing budgets for that technology would also possibly create IT job opportunities, as well.

    “HR customers are looking for automated workflows to help them get new programs started faster and run more efficiently. Finally, they’re looking for measurable learning outcomes as a way to tie L&D programs to productivity,” said Chronus Chief Product Officer Praerit Garg in January. With Zenefits’ services, companies need not start from scratch; any existing payroll and/or benefits procedures can be connected to Zenefits and then streamlined and managed through an easy-to-use dashboard.

    And the Hollywood actor? That is Academy Award-winning thespian Jared Leto, who is now an investor in Zenefits, alongside other digital interests that he has joined or founded over the last several years.

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