If you are looking for signposts on the road to a tech recovery, not many are coming out of the financing ecosystem just yet. Our own Work Tech investment data seems to reflect that things have bottomed out and are trending slightly up once again. However, more broad-market tech financing still seems to be struggling.
One dynamic that’s worth watching is debt financing; it’s showing broad declines in a Pitchbook analysis of debt-financing trends. The challenge right now, when fundraising is difficult, is that whole Silicon Valley Bank collapse thing. Before SVB tanked, it was pretty easy for startups to raise debt financing. SVB was pretty easygoing about that kind of thing. These days, debt is much harder to raise because SVB doesn’t exist in the same form and most lenders are incredibly risk-averse right now.
Let’s hope that as the specter of an impending recession begins to fade, Work Tech software buying emerges from the deep freeze. Employers have plenty of people-related problems. This fall they need to get about spending money on fixing them.
What else is going on this week?
Research: Experiential rewards = more EX impact
New research from Blueboard — conducted in partnership with The Starr Conspiracy — shows that experiential rewards have a 3.8X greater impact on employee experience than does any other type of reward, including cash and gift cards. Find more in this blog post from Blueboard co-founder Kevin Yip and in the research, here.
Funding and acquisitions
- Gamified e-learning platform Kahoot gets acquired in a $1.7 billion deal. (TechCrunch)
- Collective raises $50 million. The San Franciso startup is launching an AI-powered finance platform for freelancers. (VentureBeat)
- Savvy raises $30 million. The Israeli cybersecurity startup eliminates workforce-initiated security incidents. (FinSMEs)
- RecruitBot raises an additional $8.2 million in seed funding. The San Francisco startup offers a recruiting experience platform. (FinSMEs)
- Opolis raises $6.6 million in bridge funding. The Denver startup offers a member-owned platform that uses blockchain to provide employment infrastructure for independent workers. (FinSMEs)
- Administrate raises $6.4 million. The Edinburgh, Scotland, startup offers an enterprise training operations platform. (FinSMEs)
- Dashworks raises $5 million, launches AI assistant to streamline internal knowledge for enterprises. (VentureBeat)
- Optio extends Series A financing for its B2B SaaS equity compensation solutions. (FinSMEs)
- Appcast acquires Bayard Advertising. (FinSMEs)
- OnePlan Solutions receives strategic investment. (FinSMEs)
- When I Work acquires Lean Financial. (FinSMEs)
- SAP’s Sapphire Ventures plans to invest more than $1 billion in enterprise AI startups. (TechCrunch)
Entry is open for the 2023 Top 25 Work Tech Vendor List!
It doesn’t matter if your technology is designed to help HR, EX, Wellbeing, Employee Comms, Voice, Inclusion… if your tech has real purpose and impact, the Inspiring Workplace community and world wants to know about it.
Enter now before the September 22, 2023 deadline.
- Qualtrics launches XM/os2: The next-generation platform fully enabled with AI; investing $500 million in AI over four years. (Press Release)
- New research confirms that bad behavior runs rampant during virtual meetings. (BenefitsPro)
- What Oracle’s new AI-powered personal assistant means for the market. (HR Executive)
- Microsoft Teams might have ended the video conferencing wars for good. (TechRadar)
- Layoffs: Factorial (20 employees, ND % of workforce), Payscale (14/2%), Skill-Lync (200/ND)
- Open Sesame launches Simon, a first-of-its-kind creation and translation platform that simplifies course development and enables seamless multilingual training. (Press Release)
- The mass exodus of tech’s DEI leaders is underway. (Fast Company)
- Gmail brings Calendly-style availability sharing to Google Calendar. (TechCrunch)
- A Gen Z-forward blueprint for building a confident AI-powered workforce. (Fast Company)
- Slack’s vision for AI automation. (VentureBeat)
- Shutterstock announces Open.ai deal. (CNBC)
Around the shop
Things we are talking about or find interesting right now.
- Anthropic, a safety-focused A.I. startup, is trying to compete with ChatGPT while preventing an A.I. apocalypse. It’s been a little stressful. (The New York Times)
- Thomas Otter: What I learned from SuccessFactors. (Substack)
- Why pay transparency is turning CHROs into “chief human financial officers.” (HR Executive)
- The rise of tech worker fiction. (Esquire)
That’s it for this week!
Everybody love everybody,