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- Munich-based HR startup Personio has just raised a pre-emptive $75 million Series C round.
- Silicon Valley fund Accel led the round with participation from Lightspeed Ventures. Previous investors Index Ventures, Northzone, Global Founders Capital, and Picus Capital also participated in the round.
- The round takes the German startup’s total funding to $150 million since its founding in 2015.
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Munich-based HR startup Personio has raised $75 million from top-tier backers including Accel and Lightspeed.
The company’s CEO and cofounder Hanno Renner is a former yacht skipper who founded the company in 2015. Personio helps companies manage staff and resources through its platform.
Silicon Valley fund Accel led the round with participation from Lightspeed Ventures. Previous investors Index Ventures, Northzone, Global Founders Capital, and Picus Capital also participated in the funding, which takes Personio’s total to $130 million.
Renner said the round was pre-emptive, saying the firm had not planned to raise until late 2020 but took an earlier round after investors came knocking.
“We were already well funded from our round last year but when Accel and Lightspeed come calling you have to take it,” Renner said in an interview with Business Insider. “The key for us was ensuring that we could get a deal done in an efficient manner and also at a valuation that would still be attractive in 12 months time.”
Investors propositioned Personio throughout 2019 before Renner agreed to talks, which took three weeks from the end of November and saw the deal close just before Christmas. Personio had no formal pitch deck for the process and instead held a series of workshops and talks with investors about the sector.
“I think funds have a real fear of missing out,” Renner added. “Funds could track a company for years and years but it’s getting harder and harder to do so. They don’t want to miss their window of opportunity, so it’s better to pay upfront to be able to ensure you are the preferred partner.”
The potential market for digital solutions for businesses in Europe is around $30 billion, according to Renner. He notes that some 1.7 million companies are underserved when it comes to staff management.
Despite that, sales of Personio’s software has almost tripled in the past twelve months, while the number of employees has more than doubled to over 350 from 120 at the start of the year. The company is set to reach 700 employees by the end of 2020, according to Renner.
Onboarding new staff has been a challenge, but a welcome one, Renner said. “When you bring in so many new people it can be hard to try and keep the culture, mission, and goals of our business but I’m really happy with where the mood of the team is.”
Last year Personio bought Spanish startup Rollbox, a company that offers an API-based payroll solution. Having another office in Madrid taught the HR startup valuable lessons about managing its own staff, Renner added with the first acquisition providing plenty of information about integrating the two sets of employees.
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“While software entrepreneurs have traditionally overlooked developing solutions for SMEs [small- to medium-sized enterprises], Personio has recognised this large and growing market of customers hungry for better solutions for their businesses,” said Harry Nelis, partner at Accel, in a release.
“With millions of SMEs looking for improved human resource and recruitment management, Personio will lead the way. As Personio’s highly-ambitious team moves into their next stage of growth, we are excited to be part of the journey.”