Market Watch for Talent & HR – September

Hello and welcome back to my Blog.

Executive Summary

The new skilling market made highlights this month. HR technology learning vendors are developing new capabilities to expand their footprint and integrate assessments, skill analytics, learning systems, data on supply and demand skills, and content development to create an engaging learning experience while using AI to develop learning pathways based on gaps, experience and aspirations. 

In the same line of thinking, we saw the acquisition of CorpU by Udemy that is targeting to enhance learning experiences and content creation for leaders and executives. Pearson acquired Faethm, bringing analytics in the context of how future workforce, skills, and technology impacts to prepare organizations for the future of work.

To accelerate growth, many organizations are injecting capital and building partnerships to bring a unique and/or combined value proposition to clients: Filtered signed a partnership with Go1, Betterworks with Ultimate Kronos Group, Glider AI with TalentNet, Grayscale raised $3.25 million, Pymetrics received investment from ETS, and Veritone closed acquisition of PandLogic.

On the Cloud-based HR and payroll software front, Paylocity acquired Blue Marble Payroll to expand payroll capabilities in international markets. Papaya Global raised $250 million in series D reaching $3.7 billion valuation. Based on the information available, the company is preparing for an initial public offering (IPO) within the next two years.

The HR Technology conference 2021 in Vegas is around the corner and there is a great line-up of HR technology organizations with new capabilities and offerings. It’s worth joining to interact with them. See you there!

Market Insights

  • Udemy, a leading online learning platform, acquired CorpU, an online leadership development platform that delivers cohort-based immersive learning experiences and access to world-class experts. See news here.
    • This is a great addition to Udemy’s online-learning platform with cohort-based learning content for leaders and executives to expand footprint and keep disrupting the market with online course creation where anyone can teach and/or find the right expert/instructor to help individuals to develop new skills.
    • Udemy Business offers a subscription model where organizations can access to a collection of 7,000 relevant courses to upskill their workforces
    • In Nov 2020, Udemy raised $50 million in a series F round of funding that values the company up to $3.32 billion valuation.
    • Relevant clients include Walt Disney, Apple, Unicef, PayPal, Tata Inc., Samsung, Unilever
    • Competitors: Coursera, Udacity, Pluralsight, Fuse Universal, Simplilearn, LinkedIn Learning, Lynda

      Impact: This is a great opportunity for LMS and LXP vendors to expand its learning experience and AI capabilities assist individuals/organizations to create content “from scratch” and publish it in the platform.

  • Pearson, one of the largest learning organizations, announced the acquisition of Faethm, a company that provides future workforce and market insights to build organizations’ future workforce strategy. See news here.
    • This acquisition is creating a new trend in the market: combining virtual learning content, skill assessment, and new reskilling capabilities with market insights to enable organizations and institutions to prepare for future market demands 
    • Faethm will power the next generation of Pearson’s lifelong learning products. Its AI-powered skill taxonomies can be used (in the long run with Pearson) for recruiting, career development, analytics, and planning how to skill workforces.
    • Faethm has grown to serve customers in 21 industries in 26 countries. Competing solutions include Udemy, Coursera, Udacity, Skillshare, SkyHive, and Burning Glass
    • The e-Learning market size surpassed USD $250BN last year and is anticipated to grow at an exponential CAGR of over 21% between 2021 and 2027. New technologies, such as AI, VR, and leading LXP, LMS organizations will drive the market growth

      Impact: The acquisition will allow organizations to connect their Talent & Skilling strategy and identification of skills needed for future market/workforce demands with the ability to skill organizations at scale

  • Paylocity, a cloud-based HR and payroll software platform, acquired Blue Marble Payroll. This acquisition will expand Paylocity footprint by enabling U.S.-based companies to manage payroll for employees outside the U.S. across more than 150 countries. See news here.
  • Papaya Global, a cloud-based payroll and payment management platform, announced this week that it has raised a $250 million in series D round, reaching an estimated valuation of $3.7 billion, just six months after raising $100 million in a series C.  funding. The new investment brings Papaya’s total funding to $440 million. See news here.
  • Filtered, a learning experience platform, announced a strategic partnership with Go1 to support organizations’ upskilling efforts with the largest curated eLearning from Go1 that matches employee’s skill gaps with the right content. See news here.
  • Gloat, a talent marketplace and internal mobility leader, introduced “AMA”, a video series on all things Talent Marketplace. See news here.
  • Pymetrics, a leading soft skill and talent matching platform, received investments from ETS Strategic Capital (amount of investment has not been disclosed). See news here.
  • Lattice, a performance and employee engagement platform, has opened a London headquarters as part of its first strategic expansion into the European market. See news here.
  • Grayscale raised $3.25 million seed round. The organization is planning to use the investment to continue build their sales, engineering, and customer success teams, accelerate growth and develop new integrations with leading applicant tracking systems. See news here.
  • Betterworks, a leading vendor in the performance management and employee engagement space, joined the UKG (Ultimate Kronos Group) Connect Technology Partner Program to provide a simplified and more connected technology experience. UKG is a leading global provider of HCM, payroll, HR service delivery and workforce management solutions. See news here.
  • Qualtrics, a leading vendor in the employee survey & listening market, launched EX25, a new approach to measuring and optimizing employee experience by designing a framework to regularly listen to their employees, featuring 25 key drivers that impact every employees’ workplace experience. See news here.
  • Glider AI, a talent screening platform, and TalentNet, a direct sourcing platform, signed a partnership agreement to help clients to assess and hire talent at scale. See news here.
  • Veritone, an enterprise AI platform, closed acquisition of PandLogic, a recruitment marketing and conversational AI platform. See news here.
  • KangoGift, a recognition and employee engagement platform, launched onboarding tool services. See news here.

Relevant Articles

  • Harvard Business Review published: 
    • AI doesn’t have to be too complicated or expensive for your business. See article here.
    • Don’t force people to come back to the office full time. See article here.
  • Forbes published: 
    • Leading Machines in The Digital Era. See article here.
    • The Great Talent Migration: Four Ways To Attract And Retain Talent Today. See article here.


  • HR Technology Conference & Expo; Sept 28- Oct 1, 2021. Register here.
  • TechCrunch Disrupt 2021; Sept 21-23. Register here.
  • Webinar: How Coca Cola saves HR’s time on employee requests, approvals and signoffs , organized by Leena AI. Register here.
  • Gartner ReimagineHR Conference 2021; Nov 8-10,2021. Register here.

Art of the Possible

  • Agility Robotics’ Digit gets a warehouse gig.  The new workforce is in the workplace, as reported by Tech Crunch. See video here.
  • Tesla unveils chip to train A.I. models inside its data centers, reported by CNBC. See video here.
  • Robo-penguin: how artificial birds are relaying the secrets of ocean currents, reported by The Guardian. See article here.
  • has developed software designed to make accented speech sound more like Standard American English. See news here.
  • Wearable devices: Xiaomi launches its own smart glasses. See video 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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