When you want to learn about Dutch HR Tech startups, one name comes up everywhere…. Wendy van Ierschot!
Hello Wendy, thank you for taking the time to answer HRTech Nation’s questions, kindly state the name ffof your company and whether you are a VC/ Private Equity / Angel.
VIE Tech Capital, Angel investment.
Q. Do you have any HR Tech companies in your portfolio and if so, which ones.
A: Yes: Impraise (Continuous feedback between co-workers), Teamily (TEAMDRIVER is an excellent framework that can be used to develop strong performing teams), Healthy Workers (They create a HEALTHY office and the best possible office environment) Keencorp (Employee engagement).
Q. Which is your favorite technology to invest in today and why – Advanced AI sourcing tools, Recruiting tech, screening, HRIS, talent managing, tech to support contingent workforce or others?
A. Tech leveraging one or both of the following factors: One being radically improving the employee/ candidate experience and the other the solid use of analytics up on towards machine learning (AI doesn’t exist yet) for better management decisions.
Next to that the start up needs to stimulate my brains, needs to make me wonder; “wow…never thought about that”.. interesting!”
Personally – Too early for investment opportunities yet – I am very interested in the developments around cryptocurrencies and blockchain, in the sense that it will make it possible to distribute the (financial) benefits of new ideas, products or vital contributions in organisations or the total production – sales chain – on a totally different way and that will have impact on how we organise ourselves and our thinking around employer/employee and remuneration.
It is way too early to invest in a decent HR tech startup in this field but if there was one that understands that revolutionary new process I am very pleased to talk to them.
“..If there was one (startup) that understands the social consequences of the revolutionary new process (blockchain, cryptocurrency),
I would be very pleased to talk to them ”
(Wendy van Ierschot, Angel investor)
Q. We see more and more HRtech applications developed for small and middle market companies.
That’s one of the major trends – Are there any other trends you would like to draw awareness to?
- Move towards SaaS in order to access this SME market.
- Move towards open ended tools, ability to easily connect to other tools. However: only a tool is not enough, someone has to use it, and has to use it properly. So how do you implement or add HR knowledge to your customer & how do you combat App/Tool Fatigue is a challenge that is underestimated by many.
- Too early to call it a trend, but it will become a trend: Health entering the HR Tech market. The health market is huge and very innovative but not yet entering the business market. That will happen. Hopefully I’ll be on the front row 😉
Q HR professionals are frustrated with HRTech founders for not consulting with them early in the process and listen to their pains. Startup founders don’t do so as they are concerned with exposing their ideas too early in the process. What is your experience with startups that you are familiar with and what is the best way to go about it, in your opinion?
A: My observation is just the other way around. HR managers that are not interested at all in technology that can improve their work or radically improve the company. Often only thinking of the digitalisation of their paper process or improving the digital process, not in making radical changes in thinking. And if they want to talk to HR tech founders it is very difficult for them to separate “the wheat from the chaff”.
There are a lot of start-ups solving non-urgent, non-important but ‘oh yeah, indeed, that might be an issue / nice solutions for non – relevant problems’.
And then: if you, as founders, are afraid of an HR professional that will steal your idea, then either your idea sucks, or you are not a very good entrepreneur. I am never afraid of others stealing my product, they will never be able to do it the exact same way, and if they are better? Good for them. In this world you will never be successful if this is your fear. The HR professional is not going to take your idea and build a product, but they can give you context. Tools get better by user feedback. Not collecting that feedback up front in the developing process is a missed opportunity. It would be wise to select a few founding partners in HR for feedback and testing.
Q. Currently there seems to be an interest on the investors side to invest in HRTech, What is
your vision on how investors will behave in the upcoming years?
A. There is money to be made and HR Tech use will only increase. Side by side upwards line. HR tech like we are seeing it today is relatively young. Investors might also aim for the early catch. On the other hand, investors might be disappointed about the quality of the HR tech potential startups. A lot of room for improvement still.
Q. I feel there are thousands of standalone HRtech application that will HAVE to be incorporated within future recruiting platforms (exit), or at the very least, integrate to ones. We, as recruiters will prefer to see one-stop-shop platforms. What is your take on that?
A. You might get App store like companies, ie. salesforce. Where one company is the umbrella for all ‘tools’. It comes down to ease of use, switch on/off and connectivity to all metrics underlying the tool. Or tools become highly specialized, doing that one thing. Feels like the usual “eb and flow”. Would be interesting to see if the market can push highly specialized tools towards easier (multi-)logon possibilities (what I mentioned in trends). And there will probably be other platforms that will allow you to import different kind of data and metrics from different tools to help you analyze what is going on.
Q. We welcome your opinion on any other HRTech issue you think requires more attention from all sides – HRs, Founders & investors.
A. The biggest challenge: improving the tech interest from HR professionals. They need to be educated, getting curious, interested and energized about the revolution that is going on and that will address the most important issue: how to make our working together effective, stimulating, creative and fun?
Part of what Van Ierschot stands for, and what we mentioned above, we are about creating best places to work from a human perspective. If you tackle any problem on the employee journey ask:
What is the science behind the problem?
What is the tech that helps achieve and analyze this particular behaviour or issue.
Who is using your tool, does it connect with the HR professional on a daily basis and what is the experience of the candidate/employee?
Does it facilitate new ways of working? Flexibility and user friendliness?
All of these remain open doors, but as of yet, are not getting enough attention.
Thank you so much for your time Wendy, and for sharing your thought & ideas with us !
Wendy van Ierschot , Amsterdam, The Netherlands
After working in various HR roles at Shell, Wendy established the HR company Van Ierschot which she has grown into a successful business with fast growing scale ups as clients that outsourced strategic HR and (global) innovative clients like Booking.com, Rijksmuseum, Shell, Beerwulf (Heineken corporate start up/scale up).
She has founded several companies in the HR field, is an expert and a public speaker on HR and HR tech matters. She acts, on a regular basis, as a chairperson and judge on international start-up competitions and is an active board member and advisor. As of recent, Wendy is focusing on advising and investing in young entrepreneurs in HRtech domain in the Netherlands and abroad, together with the European Angel Fund (part of European Investment Fund). Other initiatives relevant on the HR domain: HR Tech Meetup Amsterdam (>1500 members) and www.HRtech.community