WestBridge Capital leads $30 mn investment at HR-tech Phenom People

WestBridge Capital leads $30 mn investment at HR-tech Phenom People
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20 Jan, 2020

India-focused investment management firm WestBridge Capital has led a $30 million series C round at a global technology-based human resource company, marking its first technology-based startup bet of the year.

The fresh infusion at Philadelphia, United States-based Phenom People brings total investments at the company to $61 million, it said in a statement on Thursday.

“To support the global demand for AI-driven (artificial intelligence) talent experiences, Phenom People will use the investments for continued company growth and scale,” the statement added.

A fund belonging to global asset management firm AllianceBernstein also participated in the fundraise. Returning investors were AXA Venture Partners, Sierra Ventures, Omidyar Technology Ventures, Sigma Prime Ventures and Karlani Capital.

“Global organisations are shifting their spend from legacy singular HR tools to data-driven, intelligent talent experience platforms. CHROs can make an investment in a modern approach - connecting every interaction across the talent lifecycle for candidates, recruiters, employees and management,” Mahe Bayireddi, CEO and co-founder at Phenom People said.

The company operates an AI-enabled software as a service platform called ‘Talent Experience Management’ which connects four stakeholder experiences in the talent lifecycle. It reduces time-to-hire and cost-per-hire, improving productivity, the company claimed. Notable clients as listed on its website include Microsoft, Abbott, Philips, Hershey's, Southwest Airlines and General Motors.

Apart from its home base, Phenom People has offices in Canada, India, Israel, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands. It holds 500 employees and over 300 industry-agnostic customers.

“Their (Phenom People) solution is transforming and progressing HR in ways that point solutions and acquired technologies do not. This matches the market direction towards experience management for talent,” Sumir Chadha, managing director at WestBridge Capital was quoted as saying in the statement.

Human resource services industry has seen a growth spurt in the past few years, with companies investing in emerging technologies to find the right talent. 

In December, Gurugram-headquartered human resources technology startup PeopleStrong HR Services acquired Qilo Technologies, a Noida-based company that operates an eponymous software-as-a-service performance management product.

WestBridge Capital currently manages investments amounting to about $3 billion. Founded by Chadha, KP Balaraj, SK Jain and Sandeep Singhal, it has offices in Mauritius, California and Bengaluru. The team also co-founded Sequoia Capital India.

Phenom People marks the Mauritius-headquartered firm’s first technology startup bet in 2020, according to data available on VCCEdge. Its technology startups space bets in the past year included participation in a $52 million Series C at online lending platform Biz2Credit, a $42 million worth series C investment at online tutoring startup Vedantu, and a $54.55 million worth funding round at bike taxi startup Rapido.

“We’re prioritizing strategic investments that align with market trends. Experience management is the next era for global companies investing in talent...” Abhishek Sud, managing director at AllianceBernstein Private Credit Investors’ (AB-PCI) fund called ‘Growth Stage Capital Group’ was quoted as saying the statement.

AB-PCI manages about $9.2 billion in capital available for investment and offers a range of financing solutions to middle market companies, according to the statement.

The ‘Growth State Capital Group’ fund has previously invested in cloud data management company Rubrik, web-based work management and project management software company Workfront, a learning and skill-tracking platform for professionals Degreed, AI-driven CRM (customer relationship management) platform for brick and mortar retailers Punchh, product analytics firm Heap Analytics, cloud communications and collaboration software platform Fuze and data science platform DataRobot.