Countdown to HRTech: Acquisitions

The TA tech market is not slowing down even during the dog days of summer.

My latest blog in the countdown to #HRTechConf focuses on acquisitions. Just a few weeks ago, I was wondering if we would see any big announcements this month, and then, three major (and surprising) acquisitions were announced. Acquisitions are a natural part of any industry. Providers are looking for partners to help expand their global footprint, customer base, or product portfolio. And, sometimes, they are just simply about revenue. In 2020 and 2021, conversational AI, automation, analytics, video, and branding drove many of these decisions. Each of the acquisitions below enhanced the capabilities of the providers and offered customers something more across TA.

Some of the acquisitions from the past two years include:

This month, acquisitions look a little different. Some were a last-ditch effort to stay afloat, and others were a doubling down of similar solutions.

Here are my initial thoughts about some of the most recent acquisitions:

Employ Acquires Lever

Employ (owned by private equity firm K1 Investments) announced the acquisition of ATS provider Lever. Employ is the combination of Jobvite, JazzHR, and NXTThing but also includes the acquisitions of Talemetry, Talentgy, Canvas, and Rolepoint. The addition of Lever gives the Employ umbrella three ATSs, 2 CRMs, employee referral capabilities, communication, analytics, and an RPO. It is one of the largest end-to-end talent acquisition platforms, but each product and brand will remain separate.

If you are confused, you are not alone.

This is not the first time we have seen ATSs buying ATSs. Typically, one ATS will replace or complement the other, but in this case, three separate ATSs. The plan is to have JazzHR support SMB, Lever the mid-market, and Jobvite the enterprise.

Below are my thoughts on the acquisition:

  • Lever is a solid ATS. I like Lever, and I think Lever is a great ATS for mid-market and high-growth companies. With over 3,000 customers and some big tech brands. Lever’s differentiators include its investment in analytics this year. It offers visual insights and integration with Tableau and other analytics plugins to help companies understand their data and take action. One thing that sets Lever apart from other providers in this report is its company culture. It is the only provider in this report founded by a woman with the highest Glassdoor ratings. It values customer feedback and tries to work that into product enhancements. Was Lever a smart company to acquire? Yes, but the confusing piece is the overlap with Jobvite.
  • Jobvite is not currently an enterprise ATS. Jobvite supports mid-market and a few enterprise clients but does not truly compete against global enterprise ATS providers. Making the jump from mid-market to enterprise is no small task and requires a different approach to sales, marketing, and product.

SilkRoad Acquires Entelo

Onboarding provider, SilkRoad, acquired Entelo, a sourcing provider. This acquisition was the most surprising to me. SilkRoad was once a leading talent management provider that could check every box from recruiting to performance management to compensation. Does anyone remember the Red Carpet? But, what SilkRoad did better than anything else was onboarding. It was one of the first providers to offer forms compliance, tasks management, and a new hire portal. I made a bold decision around six years ago to ditch its talent management suite and focus solely on onboarding and employee experience/transitions. It has remained relatively quiet until this month. The Entelo acquisition puts SilkRoad back in the talent acquisition market with a top-of-the-funnel solution.

Here are my thoughts:

  • Robert Tsao is the right choice. Robert Tsao (ironically was at Jobvite previously) will take over as CEO of SilkRoad. Robert was Entelo’s CEO for the past few years and deeply understands TA tech.
  • Market perception will be a challenge. The market perception of both companies is that they are no longer relevant. Entelo, at one time, was a leading sourcing provider that seemed to lose its way. Customers started looking at providers like SeekOut and HireEZ as better alternatives. The team will have to work on the product and marketing to shift some of this perception and make Entelo relevant again.
  • Not the last stop. My guess is that SilkRoad won’t stop at Entelo, and we will see another acquisition to complete its TA tech portfolio further.

Harver Acquires Pymetrics

This acquisition makes the most sense to me out of the three this month. Pymetrics is a leading assessment provider with some large customers, including Unilever. And Harver has been building a hiring experience empire over the past few years. It made several strategic acquisitions over the past few years, including WePow, Checkster, FurstPerson, and Launch Pad. Its combined offerings include unique differentiators such as a strong experience, a comprehensive suite of solutions, and feedback. Unlike other solutions that stop at the offer, Outmatch includes a feedback loop on hiring decisions to have post-hire data and AI-driven insights to help companies make better decisions for the future. With over 1200 customers across a wide range of industries, Outmatch is best suited for enterprise and global enterprise customers.

Only 4 weeks until the HR Technology Conference! Hope to see you there!

Madeline Laurano

Madeline Laurano

Madeline Laurano is the founder and chief analyst of Aptitude Research. For over 18 years, Madeline’s primary focus has been on the HCM market, specializing in talent acquisition and employee experience. Her work helps companies both validate and re-evaluate their strategies and understand the role technology can play in driving business outcomes. She has watched HCM transform from a back-office function to a strategic company initiative with a focus on partnerships, experience and efficiency.

Before founding Aptitude Research, Madeline held research roles at Aberdeen, Bersin by Deloitte, ERE Media and Brandon Hall Group. She is the co-author of Best Practices in Leading a Global Workforce and is often quoted in leading business publications including The Wall Street Journal, The Boston Globe, Yahoo News, The New York Times and The Financial Times. She is a frequent presenter at industry conferences including the HR Technology Conference and Exposition, SHRM, IHRIM, HCI’s Strategic Talent Acquisition conference, Unleash, GDS International’s HCM Summit, and HRO Today.

In her spare time, she is a runner, an avid sports fan and juggles a house full of boys (where a spontaneous indoor hockey game is not unheard of!).