Personio, a HR startup in Munich, closes $12M Series A

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Personio, a German startup that offers a HR management and recruiting platform, has closed $12 million in Series A funding. European VC Northzone led the round, with participation from existing investors, such as Rocket Internet’s Global Founders Capital (GFC) and Picus Capital. The Munich-based company plans to use the funding to further develop its Software-as-a-Service and become a leader in the HR software space for small and medium-sized (SME) companies.

Founded in 2015 and “bootstrapped” to nearly 100 customers in the first one and a half years, before taking a seed round from Global Founders Capital and a few business angels last summer, Personio now claims over 400 customers and counts over 50 employees. SMEs use the platform to manage all of their HR and recruitment processes, benefiting from what the startup describes as a single view of employee management.

“On the highest level we are digitizing HR and Recruiting for SMEs to reduce administrative workload and allow HR managers to work on value-adding topics,” Personio co-founder and CEO Hanno Renner tells TechCrunch. “More specifically we are building an end-to-end HR Operating System that covers all processes along the employee life-cycle (recruit, manage and develop)”

The result is described by Renner as a “central hub for all HR data,” and is seeing the company take a platform approach by integrating with vertical players in the HR space to provide customers with “the ease of only having to track information about their people at one place and then pushing them via our API”.

Concrete examples of areas covered by Personio include: a full applicant tracking system, with support for multi-posting to over 100 job boards (e.g. Stepstone, Indeed, LinkedIn, etc); a digital employee file; document and contract management; on/off-boarding; attendance tracking; absence management; salary management & payroll; and performance management and feedback.

Renner says that typical Personio customers are European companies between 10 and 1,000 employees. “However, our core segment is between 100-500 employees. Typical examples would be HelloFresh, Statista or Scalable Capital,” he adds.

Competitors are cited as Excel and paper-based files. Or more directly, European HR platforms, such as HiBob or HeavenHR, which have more of a focus towards employee benefits (similar to Zenefits in the U.S.). Instead, Renner says Personio is starting earlier in the employee life-cycle including recruiting, and provides a seamless transition of successful applicants into the HRM section.

“A lot of our customers have therefore replaced for example BambooHR and Jobvite to have everything in one tool. Besides the all-in-one approach, our main differentiator is customisability of all processes as well as a strong focus on data privacy which is critical given the sensitive information our customers store in Personio,” he adds.

Unlike many of the other new HR startups, which offer their wares for free but make money selling benefits and insurances, Personio is employing a classic SaaS-subscription model. In addition, the company has a secondary revenue stream from multi-posting on job boards and other integrations.