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HR Tech in SEA — the Opportunity
HR Tech has the ability to be transformational for an organization and lead to a competitive advantage that well managed organization.
One of the many spaces for B2B Tech to have addressed is in Human Resource Management. Many employers have already begun to integrate technology into the variety of manners in which they would hire and manage their employees. The pandemic has accelerated this digital transformation and identified a number of gaps and exacerbated the difficulties in the existing systems while creating new challenges for employers to manage.
HR Tech has the ability to enable companies to make better hiring decisions, improve collaboration and engagement, eliminate redundant processes and make more effective and efficient usage of the human capital resources that they have. This can ultimately become transformational for an organization and lead to a competitive advantage that well managed organization are able to demonstrate.
The High Level Trends
There are a number of challenges facing companies today to compete for sales and growth and this ultimately brings specific challenges to managing the human capital resources, the people, that are necessary to achieve the desired results.
Ø Southeast Asia is one of the fastest growing regions in the world and the collective ASEAN is expected to become the fourth largest economy globally. These countries are not only a global hub for manufacturing and trade but also have one of the fastest growing consumer markets.
Ø The gig economy has extended the definition of work and what is a workforce. This new segmentation creates additional management challenges.
Ø The war for talent will become increasingly fierce as organizations will have to fight harder to become top destinations for talent. The challenge does not end on attracting, as retention is critical, and companies will need to address engagement, professional learning and development and other means by which to ensure the both attract and retain talent.
Ø The use of technology is progressing beyond simply digitizing work (spreadsheets and simple record keeping) and is now digitalizing the work flows and processes. There is a shift in the openness to technologies that can redesign and optimize the full value chain from recruitment, training, engagement and employee experience.
The startups that are creating the enabling solutions to solve real problems to provide real value for the operations and efficiencies of its customers are the ones that will succeed.
The Indelible Ventures Approach
Indelible Ventures looks for companies that are able to demonstrate a clear value proposition to customers and build a focused, repeatable sales model that can scale in multiple country markets.
People-First — We are firm believers that it takes incredible people to scale a start-up. Building a company from the ground up is one of the most challenging things a person can undertake and we look for Founders with the growth-mindset and resilience to endure and adapt with the fast paced market. In the HR Tech space more so than others, we take a very close look at whether companies are practicing what they preach in how they manage themselves and their own HR.
Process — We know that scaling a product requires agility. The early product-market fit that is experienced may evolve as you scale or shift with customer segments. We always look for companies that are building internal and external feedback loops to ensure that they are rapidly collecting feedback (whether from customers or other stakeholders) and quickly processing, understanding and adjusting based upon the feedback. The more effective the feedback loops we see, the higher level of comfort-level that a company will be capital efficient in their growth and be able to achieve a fast-pace to scale.
Product — No assessment is without a deep-dive into the product and we want to know everything from your roadmap to how you have established (or are currently) the product market fit validation, and what your go-to-market strategy is. We often look at assessing the commonality of needs in the “problem you are solving” across markets and look at the barriers and competition that you face. We want to know what differentiates you and how you are going to be Indelible in your segment.
Opportunities and Interests
It is an impossible exercise to attempt to make a durable prediction on where the opportunities are with any level of specificity. However, we will outline a non-exhaustive list of a few areas in which we are looking at.
Ø Employee Engagement — the young workforce is characteristically more challenging to manage than prior generations. Employee turnover shows a generational increase. With a young population, it is likely that employee engagement will be a key success factor to attract and retain talent.
There are many ways in order to address engagement. One example from the Indelible portfolio is FutureLab, a mentorship platform. They connect university students with industry mentors to prepare them for the workforce via online mentorship. Their platform also enables corporates to run mentorship programs, which have shown to increase engagement, increase job satisfaction and cultivate a learning ecosystem to better develop talent resources. Both solutions are addressing critical issues that are pervasive throughout the SEA region and beyond.
Ø Where is your Work — in the post-pandemic world, the reversion from work-from home to in office will likely not be 100%. This change will present numerous challenges in managing a partial/fully remote workforce. This opens a variety of areas in communications, collaboration, and many other areas of management that need new solutions.
Ø Skills — There are a number of companies that have been focused on upskilling and reskilling the work force. There are numerous niches of occupations that have their own unique challenges in relation to this. Training of skilled labor has become more challenging with changes in technology and the dispersion of the workforce. A long list of opportunities exist here.
Ø Focused on Results — Blurring the line of HR Tech vs general SaaS, there are a number of start-ups that are looking at employee output and managing the processes associated with improving outcomes in talent utilization and enabling better monitoring against KPIs, OKRs, etc.
This is just scratching the surface of the category. Reach out to us to if you have a startup in this space or if you just want to discuss a little deeper.