Parker Conrad — Silicon Valley’s comeback kid — talks rebuilding at Disrupt

If you love a great comeback story, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a more dramatic one than Parker Conrad, the former CEO of Zenefits. A legendary Silicon Valley serial entrepreneur, Conrad took Zenefits on a meteoric rise to a $4.5 billion valuation just three years after launching the company in 2013.

But there is rarely gain without pain. After the company ran afoul of compliance issues, Conrad stepped down as CEO in 2016. Undeterred, Conrad founded a new startup within months of leaving Zenefits.

Rippling, a promising, high-flying HR and IT software company, hit a valuation just slightly north of $11 billion last May after raising $250 million in Series D funding. The round, co-led by Bedrock and Kleiner Perkins, included participation from existing investors Y Combinator, Sequoia Capital and others.

We love a comeback story, too, which is why we’re thrilled that Parker Conrad will join us onstage for a fireside chat at TechCrunch Disrupt on October 18–10 in San Francisco.

Rippling amasses employee data and uses what Conrad calls a “compound” model to build multiple products that share components for easy integration. Its most recent offering, Finance Cloud, adds spend management — including bill pay, corporate cards and expenses — to the HR and IT mix.

Conrad compares Rippling to Salesforce in the sense that his company is an internally facing system to manage your company, whereas Salesforce is an externally facing system for managing business processes related to customers, sales and marketing.

We can’t wait to sit down with Conrad to hear what it’s like to make such a resounding comeback. We’ll ask him about the key lessons he learned from his Zenefits experience and how he applied them to building out Rippling.

We’re also curious about what other products might be coming down the pipeline and which tech unicorns might be sitting in Rippling’s crosshairs. If anyone knows the roller-coaster highs and lows of startup life, it’s Parker Conrad. This should be a fascinating and valuable conversation.

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