The Biggest HR Tech Deals of 2018

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Mike Lawrence

The boom in deals involving HR-Tech startups continued this year, amid an ongoing war for talent, continued technological innovation, and a broadening acceptance of AI’s role in recruiting / people management. HR teams, struggling to find, engage, and retain the very best employees, are increasingly willing to turn to tech-based solutions for assistance.

Established HR companies and venture capitalists have taken note, investing in or snapping up companies that offer innovative solutions in the space. The recent run of deals also illustrates the global nature of HR-Tech, with companies making strategic purchases in order to expand their presence abroad.

A November report by Hampleton Partners counted 57 transactions in just the first half of the year, with a disclosed transaction value of $2.3 billion. “Recruiting and motivating high-potential or highly qualified employees is becoming increasingly difficult,” Hampleton Partners director and HR-Tech sector principal Axel Brill said in statement. “Innovative HR-Tech can help companies win the race for talent by using technologies such as machine learning and artificial intelligence to identify the right people and recruit them quickly and cost-efficiently.”

Here’s a look at some of the biggest deals that have taken place this year:

Recruit buys Glassdoor for $1.2 billion
Recruit Holdings, the Japanese-based owner of the massive job search site Indeed.com, purchased the employer-review site Glassdoor in May. That gives Recruit access to an immense trove of data, collected from both employers via Indeed and employees via Glassdoor, and provides both companies even greater scale at which to operate.

LinkedIn spends a reported $400 million on Glint
LinkedIn announced in October that it would purchase employee engagement platform Glint. The company said that Glint’s “visibility into the overall health and productivity of the people within an organization will be a powerful extension of our talent business today.” While LinkedIn did not immediately disclose the financial terms of the deal, news reports pegged it at $400 million. 

Ultimate Software purchases PeopleDoc for $300 million
HR management SaaS company Ultimate Software purchased French startup PeopleDoc, which centralizes HR documents, in July. The acquisition represents part of Ultimate Software’s strategy to expand globally and to broaden the types of services it offers customers.

Learning Technologies Group acquires PeopleFluent Holdings for $150 million
British Learning Technologies Group, which focuses mainly on e-learning programs for workers, bought PeopleFluent holdings in April to expand its U.S. presence. PeopleFluent is an SaaS company in the recruitment and compensation space. The deal allows LTG to expand its services from simply worker training to include more general talent management.

Investors bet $100 million in background check service Checkr
T. Rowe Price led a group of investors, including Accel and Y Combinator, to raise the Series C funding round in April for Checkr, which provides background checks to companies, such as Lyft and Tumbtack, that hire gig workers. The investment illustrates the growing reliance on such workers and the need for companies to quickly vet them.

TRI Ventures invests $100 million in Scout Exchange
Scout Exchange, a platform for marketplace recruiting, received the funding in March, to accelerate the growth of its marketplace. Scout Exchange uses AI to analyze data points from specialty recruiters and job postings to connect search firms with the most qualified candidates for their roles.

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