Something unsaid but I think sometimes overlooked, even forgotten, in our industry is this: Work Tech does not equal HR Tech. HR Tech is certainly a part of Work Tech, but Work Tech is so much bigger and more expansive than HR Tech ever was.
The pandemic-era boom of Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Slack, Headspace at Work, to mention a few brands, should have made the wider scope of Work Tech clear. Big FinTech brands like Square and Stripe have expanded into Work Tech, offering payroll, time and attendance, and other people-focused solutions. Now, now ChatGPT and Generative AI are just pouring gas on the fire. More than that, the biggest brand stories in tech in the 2020s have all been about Work Tech.
Consider this story from this week: Oracle has invested in Cohere, an artificial intelligence startup that competes with OpenAI. Oracle also plans to make the startup a centerpiece of its strategy to catch up to bigger cloud rivals that already sell services powered by large-language models.
As an industry, we need to keep pushing ourselves and challenge our own thinking about Work Tech. We are in the middle of one of the biggest opportunities in the history of the tech industry. Even in a tough market, the opportunities are there. Let’s go get them.
What else is going on this week?
Funding, mergers and acquisitions
- Cohere raises $270 million Series C. The Toronto-based startup is an AI platform for the enterprise. (FinSMEs)
- GSoft gets $94 million investment. The Montreal startup creates products that improve the employee experience at companies in more than 100 countries. (FinSMEs)
- Pigment raises $88 million in Series C funding. The San Francisco business-planning platform serves a range of enterprise use cases, including team collaboration, HR, and sales. (FinSMEs)
- Docebo acquires Edugo.ai. The move adds generative AI-based learning technology that uses advanced large language models (LLMs) and algorithms to optimize learning paths and adapt to individual learner needs. Terms were not disclosed. (Press Release)
- Instabase lands $45 million Series C. The San Francisco startup, which automates document processing, has doubled its previous valuation and comes as the company is looking to increase its investment in generative AI. (TechCrunch)
- Comeet and Spark Hire merge. With shared target markets and complementary recruitment technologies, the new company will have a combined customer base of over 7,000 companies. (Press Release)
- Fountain acquires Clevy. The San Francisco-based ATS and provider of hiring automation software for the hourly workforce acquired Paris, France-based provider of AI conversational technologies for businesses. (FinSMEs)
- Traliant acquires Clear Law Institute. The Manhattan Beach, Calif., provider of online compliance training solutions acquired the Arlington, Va., provider of compliance training, investigations training, and other compliance services. (FinSMEs)
- Ringover raises €20 million(U.S. $25.38 million) Series B. The Paris startup aims to transform the business phone system into a modern productivity tool via a cloud communication solution that combines telephony, video conferencing, SMS, and group messaging. (FinSMEs)
- Contextual AI raises $20 million. The Palo Alto, Calif., startup is advancing a new approach to generative AI for the workplace: large language models (LLMs) purpose-built for enterprises. (FinSMEs)
- Onfly gets $16 million Series A. The Brazilian startup is a travel technology company that provides an end-to-end platform for corporate travel and expense management. (FinSMEs)
- 2045 raises $4.2 million in pre-seed funding. The NYC-based company is developing an exclusive network for influential professionals of color. (FinSMEs)
- Finch raises additional funding. San Francisco startup that offers an API for employment systems raised an undisclosed amount in additional funding. (FinSMEs)
- BurstIQ acquires business intelligence platform from Olive AI. The acquired solution, now known as LifeGraph Intelligence, further enhances BurstIQ’s offerings and is purported to change the way healthcare organizations see and use their data. (Press Release)
- Neobrain acquires Flashbrand. With the move, the European AI-powered talent management solution further establishes itself in the U.S. market with the acquisition of the San Francisco-based HR performance platform. (Training Industry)
- Atrium acquires Gibbs Hybrid. The NYC extended workforce management and talent solutions startup acquired a majority interest in the London-based IT and business services firm. (FinSMEs)
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- Getting from A to B for startups is taking longer. Crunchbase analysis is seeing evidence of delays this year, with the average time lapse between Series A and Series B hitting 31 months — the longest span in at least 12 years. (Crunchbase)
- Visier launches new generative AI assistant to deliver workforce insights. (VentureBeat)
- WeWork faces more turmoil after CEO departs. (The New York Times)
- Skillsoft launches ChatGPT learning journey for businesses to harness the potential of generative AI. (Training Industry)
- 15Five launches HR outcomes dashboard to tie programs to business impact. (Training Industry)
- Salesforce is developing a ton of new AI products that could lead to “a massive new buying cycle,” Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley analysts believe. (Business Insider)
- Glean launches AI chat assistant that unlocks search for the enterprise. (VentureBeat)
- Zoom can now give you AI summaries of the meetings you’ve missed. (The Verge)
- API management is a commodity: What’s next? (The New Stack)
- Tech companies — early boosters of remote work — now want people back in the office. (Wall Street Journal)
- European IPO backlog expected to drive rush when listings rebound. (Pitchbook)
Around the shop
Things we are talking about or find interesting right now.
- AI used to create a new and final Beatles song, says Paul McCartney. (The Guardian)
- Survey says: We’re out! GenXers and older Millennials just want to go back to the time before the Internet existed. (Fast Company)
- We all need a little zen, so here’s a conductor leading a full orchestra in the “Jurassic Park” theme — dressed as a tiny-armed T-Rex. (ClassicFM)
That’s it for this week!
Everybody love everybody,