Market Watch for Talent & HR – October

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Executive Summary

Microsoft’s acquisition of is disrupting the HR tech market by extending Microsoft Viva capabilities with performance management. Culture Amp and BetterUp made strategic acquisitions extending their platforms’ offerings to understand human emotion, gather feedback, promote social recognition, develop insights, and manage performance and engagement. 

CoachHub acquired MoovOne to expand market present and combine coaching services. Virgin Pulse acquired Welltok to build a health activation and engagement platform. Freshworks and Sterling made stellar debuts on Nasdaq with an estimated valuation of $12B and $2.2B respectively.

 ICIMS, one of the leaders in the talent acquisition space, decided to jump into the internal mobility market and compete directly with AI-driven leading platforms such as Gloat, Fuel50, Phenom, Eightfold and Degreed. Gloat launched its new organizational agility offering and showing its market leadership by deploying its platform across several Fortune 500 organizations.

Degreed is also showing market leadership and building partnerships with different players in the HR Tech market such as Visier, Microsoft, and Credly to create a seamless learning and engagement experience.

Several organizations such as GEM, Leena AI, Retrain AI, Clovers, Humanly, Canvas, The Org, Brighthire, Pymetrics and Mybasepay are injecting capital (funded by VCs) for sales, marketing, market expansion and product development. The post-pandemic has accelerated the need for new HR tools and platform to help organizations with Employee Experience, Employee Listening, Talent intelligence & New Skilling offerings.

Market Insights


  • Microsoft announced the acquisition of, an OKR (objectives and key results) software service provider. This strategic move for Microsoft is shaking the HR Tech market by extending Microsoft Viva capabilities to enable the employee experience in the flow of work.
    • OKR software was launched in 2018 and in the last three years, according to the press release, they have grown to 1,000+ customers in 80+ countries and a team of 250+ people.
    • Microsoft Viva currently has four modules: Topics, Connections, Learning and Insights. With’s acquisition, Microsoft plans to launch a new module extending its platform to performance management and OKRs.
    • In the same line of thinking, ServiceNow expanded partnership with Microsoft with new collaborative app for its employee center that integrates with Microsoft Teams. 
    • Impact: Microsoft is coming for the HR Tech market with new services and acquisitions. They launched Microsoft Teams in 2016, acquired LinkedIn (which acquired Glint in 2018), launched Dynamics 365 Human Resources in 2020 and Microsoft Viva in 2021. This move is great for organizations but at the same time a big impact for OKRs and performance vendors competing for a piece of market share. We will see how the market reacts to it. See news HERE.
  • The coaching, mental health, and well-being platform, BetterUp, announced today that they raised $300M in series E. This round brought the company to an estimated valuation of $4.7B – Its valuation grew seven times in seven months.
    • In September BetterUp acquired Motive and Impraise, bringing AI, ML ,NLP technologies to understand human emotion, gather feedback, develop insights and manage goal and OKRs performance.
    • BetterUp funding will also propel product development and international growth – having most recently opened new offices in Munich, London, and Amsterdam
    • Competing solutions include: CoachHub, Culture Amp, Lattice, Betterworks, Leapsome, and People Fluent.
    • Impact: This is reflecting a tendency in the market where leading platforms are injecting capital to extend their product offerings and solve a variety of pain points across the talent lifecycle. See news HERE.
  • Culture Amp, an employee experience platform, announced the acquisition of values recognition platform Disco. 
    • With the acquisition of Disco, the company is bringing social employee recognition, values nominations, and pulse surveys to track employee engagement in real-time. 
    • The company has more than 4,000 customers including Airbnb, Slack, Oracle, McDonald’s, SoulCycle , Aegon.
    • Vendors competing in this space: Glint, Perceptyx, Medallia, Peakon, Qualtrics and Lattice. In 2019 the company acquired Zugata (performance management). 
    • Impact: Market is evolving constantly, and vendors are consolidating offerings to provide a seamless experience. Culture Amp continues expanding its platform to help clients to improve employee engagement, performance, and culture. See news HERE.
  • CoachHub, an enterprise coaching platform, announced the acquisition of MoovOne, a French digital coaching organization, to expand market reach. See news HERE.
  • Virgin Pulse, one of the leaders in the wellbeing market, announced its intent to acquire Welltok, a data analytics and multi-channel communications organization. See news HERE.

Venture Capital Funding

  • GEM, a hiring platform, announced that they raised $100M in series C. This investment brings the company to an estimated valuation of $1.2B. The capital will be used for sales, marketing, and international expansion in 2022. It has already doubled employees in the first six months of 2021. See news HERE.
  • Leena AI, an enterprise conversational AI platform, raised $30M in series B, bringing the company’s total amount raised to $40 million. According to the press release, the new funding will accelerate product development and expanding to other functional areas by early 2022. See news HERE.
  • Retrain AI, a talent intelligence platform, raised $7M to expand services to the US market, hire new talent and product development. See news HERE.
  • Clovers, an interviewing platform, announced they raised $15M in seed funding. They also announced the launch of the interviewing platform. See news HERE.
  • The Org, a network of public org charts, announced they raised $20M in series B to expand the platform, hire new talent and launch new features. See news HERE.
  • Pymetrics, a soft-skill talent assessment platform, announced they secure strategic investment scale product development to satisfy client demand for hiring, internal mobility, and employee development. See news HERE.
  • Humanly, a conversational AI organization, raised $4.2M in seed funding to enable a better candidate experience. See news HERE.
  • Canvas, a diversity recruiting platform, raised $50M in series C at an estimated $400M valuation. The company also announced the launch of a new product: Canvas Diversity Analytics & Benchmarking. See news HERE.
  • BrightHire, an interviewing platform, raised $20.5M in series B to build the future of hiring. See news HERE.
  • Mybasepay, a contingent workforce platform, raised $60M in private equity round. See news HERE. 

New Offerings & Partnerships

  • ICIMS, a leading recruiting platform, decided to expand its offerings and enter in the talent marketplace market by launching its Talent Cloud Opportunity Marketplace to better connect employees to internal job opportunities.
    • In the last few years, ICIMS has been expanding its platform by acquiring Text Recruit in 2018, Jibe in 2019,, EasyRecrue and Altru in 2020, to provide end to end recruiting offerings.
    • According to CrunchBase, ICIMS has raised a total of $92.6M in funding over 4 rounds. Their latest funding was raised on Aug 17, 2018 from a Private Equity firm.
    • iCIMS has more than 4K+ customers in over 200 countries including enterprises such as Microsoft, Uber, Nascar, Sanofi, Celanese, Keurig and Dr Pepper.
    • Vendors competing in this space: Gloat, Degreed, Eightfold, Fuel50, Avature, Phenom, and Hitch
    • In August the company filed registration for an $100M IPO (initial public offering) with the SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission).
    • Impact: ICIMS Opportunity Marketplace reflect the trend in the market for one-central platform to attract, select, manage, and develop talent. Organizations are looking for a platform that allow them to move talent at scale by combining skills, experiences, job architecture, recruiting, performance and career tracks powered by AI. A big advantage for ICIMS customers is that they can “add” talent marketplace services and leverage the benefits from ICIMS recruiting platform. See news HERE.
  • Degreed and Visier has entered in a strategic partnership to combine people analytics and LXP capabilities to help clients in their talent transformation journeys. 
    • Visier offers powerful people analytics and insights capabilities while Degreed, a learning experience platform, offers skill data, assessments, learning content, personalized learning, career mobility and skill engine. Degreed and Visier are building a new offering that is planned to be released this quarter. 
    • Degreed also signed partnership agreements with Microsoft Teams and Credly for a more engaging and personalized learning experience.
    • Competing solutions include: Valamis, 360 learnings, and Edcast. 
    • Impact: The new skilling market made highlights this month with the acquisition of CorpU by Udemy and Faethm by Pearson. HR technology learning vendors are developing new capabilities to expand their footprint and create personalized learning experiences. See news HERE.
  • Gloat, the leading talent marketplace platform, launched its new organizational agility offering to optimize skill management, job architecture, workforce insights, ontology API, and career agility. The internal mobility market is a face-peace evolving market (ICIMS just entered to compete in this market). Leading vendors such as Gloat, Phenom, Eightfold, Fuel50, Degreed are consolidating and offering multiple services/offering to provide one central platform to match people to opportunities and manage workforce development. See news HERE.
  • Talenya, an AI-powered talent sourcing and diversity platform, launched automated talent sourcing tool to help companies increase candidate engagement. The system analyzes job descriptions from a company’s Applicant Tracking System (ATS) to create an automated search and look through different data market sources and reach to potential candidates and invite them to apply. See news HERE.
  • Repustate, launched newly enhanced sentiment analysis platform – Repustate IQ. The company helps organizations listen to (multilingual capabilities) and analyze employee feedback across all channels to improve employee experience. See news HERE.
  • Isolved, a HCM software provider, launched Predictive People Analytics services as a result of the recent acquisition of TrenData. See news HERE.

Organizations Public Debut:

  • Freshworks, an enterprise software platform, went public and it was valued at $12.2 billion in its Nasdaq debut after shares opened 21% above the IPO price giving the company an estimated market value of $10 Billion. See news HERE.
  • Sterling, a global provider of background and identity services, announced closing of Initial Public Offering (IPO) and full exercise of underwriters’ option to purchase additional shares giving the company an estimated market value of $2.2 Billion. See news HERE.

Relevant Articles

  • McKinsey published: 
    • ‘Great Attrition’ or ‘Great Attraction’? The choice is yours. See article HERE.
  • Josh Bersin published: 
    • “Ten New Truths About The HR Technology Market”. See article HERE.
    • “Microsoft Acquires Ally: Expands Viva Into Employee Goal Management. See article HERE.
    • “iCIMS enters The Talent Marketplace War”. See article HERE.


  • Jobs and Skill Ontology; event organized by Boostrs; Oct 14, 2021. Register HERE.
  • Why People Analytics Projects Fail to Deliver Value ( Zoom Panel); event organized by Panalyt; Oct 21, 2021. Register HERE.
  • People Success Summit 2021: Thriving Together; event organized by Glint; Oct 26,2021. Register HERE.
  • JOY Roadshow: London; event organized by Symphony Talent; Oct 28, 2021. Register HERE.

Art of the Possible

  • “AI has cracked a key mathematical puzzle for understanding our world”, reported by MIT Review. See news HERE.

More to come! Stay tuned.

Note: All views expressed on this article do not represent the opinions of any entity whatsoever with which I have been, am now, or will be affiliated. My opinions are my own.

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Albert Loyola

Artificial Intelligence | Employee Experience| HR Transformation| Advisor| Speaker

Albert brings global market research experience  to help executives harness intelligent technologies, reinvent HR, re-skilling and employee experience across NAR, APAC, LATAM and EMEA regions.

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