Work tech was hot among investors in 2022. So much so that it became the second-ever largest VC year in history. Q4 proved to be a $1.61 billion quarter, with two new work tech companies that surpassed the $1 billion valuation, and thus became unicorns.
George LaRocque and WorkTech
WorkTech’s main aim is to help HR leaders that use and buy HR technology and HR tech providers to understand each other. Founded by George LaRocque in 2009, the company has excelled at helping employers understand the trends that are impacting their workforce today and in the future. Every quarter, LaRocque publishes an extensive report on the four accumulated sectors that combine into work technology: Human Capital Management (HCM), Talent Acquisition, Talent Management and Work Tech.
Another significant quarter of investments
2022’s fourth quarter proved to be another significant one in terms of venture capital raised by companies within the sector. While the first half of the year was on similar pace as the record-setting year of 2021, Q4 saw less results compared to Q1 and Q2 — while still exceeding quarterly results of most prior years. “2022 is now the second largest year of global Work Tech venture capital in history, with $12.83 billion invested”, LaRocque writes.
Unicorn #1: Factorial: Spain’s newest unicorn
The largest deal of the quarter belonged to Spain-based HR Suite Factorial, the first company on the list of new unicorns. Factorial is one of the bigger players in the area of building HR technology for SMBs. In October, the start-up managed to raise $120 million in its Series C round. With it, Factorial is now valued at $1 billion, double its valuation a year ago when it raised $80 million in its Series B round.
Unicorn #2: Beamery: innovating talent lifecycle management
Q4 saw UK-based talent lifecycle management provider Beamery raise a further $50 million in its Series D round, propelling the company into unicorn status. “An early mover in recruitment marketing automation, Beamery has evolved as an innovator in talent lifecycle management”, LaRocque added. “They extend from external recruiting to internal mobility, helping customers develop a skills-based workforce strategy and agile workforce planning”
Three other companies to watch
LaRocque earmarked three other deals as noteworthy deals to watch moving forward.
Gale Healthcare: $60m
US-based Gale Healthcare’s deal of $60 million represents a trend LaRocque expects to see more of in 2023 and beyond. “Industry specialisation, in this case, with a focus on healthcare. And the blending of capabilities and business models into a marketplace to improve the experience for employees and employers. Gale blends staffing services and workforce management capabilities into its platform.”
Ireland-based Team Experience platform Peptalk is another company to watch, according to LaRocque. The platform founded by cousins, James and Bernard Brogan, completed a $3.6M funding round led by Venture Wave Capital in December. “Peptalk takes employee engagement to action and focuses on teams”, he wrote. Based out of Ireland, they work with several global brands and are launching in the US during 2023.”
Finally, LaRocque saw another US-based company stand out in BuildWithin. The company’s software aims to bring together end-to-end workplace monitoring, learning, task management, and real-time feedback to make apprenticeships scalable. The start-up raised $2.4 million in Pre-Seed funding in November. “BuildWithin blends learning and a job marketplace, helping employers launch apprenticeship programs and bringing on-the-job training to workers of all types and career stages”, LaRocque said.