The first employee to take the stage for Zenefits was sending a message to the almost-1,000 people in the audience at the company’s first user conference at San Francisco’s Palace Hotel. Bud Bowlin, a Zenefits senior benefits advisor and “older millennial” (he’s easily north of 50), sent the message that there’s clear benefits experience at the company. One of the first things he said was also a clear message: “We have a CEO who believes that doing the right thing is the only way to do business.”
When Zenefits secured $500 million in funding last year, vendors lined up to drink from the champagne fountain. Most were charmed (with palms extended). But not The Starr Conspiracy. See this article from our own Steve Smith posted in May 2015 eerily predicting the events of Q1 2016: “5 Reasons Zenefits Will Be the Biggest Bust in SaaS History."
Even though investment slowed down toward the end of the year, 2015 was a banner year for HR technology — the best since 2001 for U.S. startups and a year that included a billion-dollar quarter. Depending on whose numbers you look at, investment in HR and HCM startups was north of $2 billion for the year. What should industry watchers expect in 2016 as this capital begins working its way into the system?