WorkTech episode 2 – Beamery Announces $50M Series D and Becomes Work Tech’s Newest Unicorn
Host: George LaRocque, WorkTech Founder
Guest: Abakar Saidov, CEO & Co-Founder, Beamery
Beamery CEO and Co-Founder Abakar Saidov discusses their $50 million Series D Round and $1 billion unicorn valuation with WorkTech Founder George LaRocque.
Along with the details of the funding round, in this interview you’ll learn about:
– The timing of the deal
– Beamery’s success with Fortune 500 clients
– Their evolution into talent lifecycle management
– What Abakar sees for Beamery and the market in the future, and much more
Thank you for joining the show today! Remember to subscribe wherever you get your podcasts.
George LaRocque 0:13
Hi, everyone, this is the Work Tech podcast brought to you by Work Tech. This is George LaRocque. I’m your host. And this is where we explore everything related to the future of work, and the technology and people that are shaping it. Welcome. Hi, everybody, welcome back to Work Tech. We’ve got some really exciting industry news today. We it’s coming out of Beamery, the talent lifecycle management company, and they’ve just announced a $50 million series D round, which also bumps its valuation to a billion, so a brand new minted unicorn, which are more rare these days than in previous years. So it’s exciting news as we’re getting ready to close out the year. And I’m joined by Abakar Saidov the founder and CEO of Beamery, welcome.
Abakar Saidov 1:12
Thank you, George. Thank you for having me on here. And pleasure to see you again.
George LaRocque 1:16
Yeah. Welcome back. It’s always great to chat with you. And for anyone new to Beamery, could you tell everyone a little bit about yourself and about Beamery?
Abakar Saidov 1:26
Absolutely. So as you mentioned, Beamery is talent lifecycle management platform, and we help a variety of different organizations of different sizes, you know, with everything, from sound development, to upscaling to Agile workforce planning. And we are a very global organization, we have customers deployed in almost 100 countries, you know, working with kind of medium or large enterprises. We are headquartered in both the US and Europe here in London, and I’m personally based in London.
George LaRocque 1:59
Cool. And so tell us about the timing of the deal. What’s happening for Beamery, or what’s happening in the market are both that led you to raise this round now?
Abakar Saidov 2:12
Sure thing, so right, now’s a really interesting time in the markets. We’re seeing a lot of demand from organizations and global enterprises, looking for better intelligence to help them make decisions, especially around their workforce, you know, around agility in the face of economic uncertainty. And a lot of them are starting to look inward first around, you know, what is the talent that we have? What are the skills that we have, and then understanding the kind of business demands for the skill gaps, and, you know, really stopping for how much of that is going to come from external and internal. And so it’s actually a really interesting time, because that preparation for uncertainty and business transformation is so critical, and we’re incredibly busy.
George LaRocque 2:57
Yeah. And so, I’m going to ask you more about talent lifecycle management, but I want to, I’m going to stay on the deal itself for a minute. So with all with that happening, and you go back to raise one of your existing investors, you know, as they say, doubled down on on Beamery, for this round, and that’s the Ontario teachers pension plans, teachers ventures Growth Fund. And I, I imagine that given that they’re providing retirement security, and that those are their words, for a few 100,000 teachers, there, they look pretty closely at every deal. I wonder, you know, what was it like to raise this round in this climate? And what what what is it like to work with an investor like that? Because that’s not your typical VC that we see in the market?
Abakar Saidov 3:54
Absolutely. It’s actually super interesting, because the types of organizations that we’ve been spending a lot of time with and teachers ventures growth is been a fantastic partner. For us. It’s really the the organizations that have a truly long term view. And by that we mean 10 years plus, you know, the, the, those that align, you know, to the mission and vision that we have, and the approach that focuses on that late stage venture and growth investments. And so, as you said, you know, they look after the pensions for hundreds of 1000s of teachers, which means that when they diligence company, they obviously spent a lot of time on understanding the business, but also the alignment to the broader mission of access to work, access to opportunities, careers, and so as you’ll know, you know, we’re a very mission focused organization, you know, we got our business, our company mission is that equal access to work opportunities and skills and careers should be available to all and I think we saw a lot of common ground there with TBG. Yeah, I think actually the sorry, go ahead. No, no, go ahead. Good. And so I think that the them doubling down today is actually a big part of their strategy. They, they’re one of the organizations that as you work with them, and that’s the businesses that they invest in mature, they, they really focus on actually deploying more capital as the business becomes less and less risky over time. And so they do both private marketing and investing, like, in this instance, as well as public market investing to.
George LaRocque 5:29
Okay, okay, that’s really interesting. And I think it’s, it’s a really key point for folks that are, you know, evaluating tech in your category. Because, you know, the, I think we’re at the beginning of a renaissance of looking at, you know, stability in, in, in vendors, and you talked about a long view, you know, providers who not only have a long view vision, but the ability to sustain. And so it’s a vote of confidence, given the profile of your, your, your lead investor on this round and existing investor. So talking about those companies that you focus on with the long view, you also announced that fortune 500 ad revenue has risen by over 250%, since your last round, congrats on that. And net retention of the Fortune 500 revenue is, is 135%. So that, to me, that says you’re keeping them and they’re investing more in Beamery is, and so tell us about that, what, what are they? Are they expanding? You know, where they’re using Beamery, or are they buying more products and services? Or what does that look like, with your customers.
Abakar Saidov 6:52
So it’s actually both. So they’re both doubling down within the existing strategies that they have, as well as going to buy more things. So what we’re seeing is, you know, honestly, we have a truly fantastic customer base, I think we’re super privileged to work with, you know, the who’s who of fortune 500 organizations, and, you know, many of these long standing customers for us, especially in the current environments, what they’re doing is not only focusing on the traditional kind of data acquisition, kind of use cases that we’ve been known for in the past, but also focusing on you know, being regrow, which is our talent, mobility products, they’re focusing on the skill inferencing and universal skills platform that we have, and they can opt out marketplace. And so the, the really interesting thing, especially in the last kind of nine to 12 months, we’ve seen is the real privatization of employee retention and engagement. And so the kind of talent lifecycle vision of looking at holistically of, you know, everything from candidates, to employees, to alumni to contractors, all of that is kind of coming together.
George LaRocque 7:58
Yeah. And, you know, given your position does a talent lifecycle management provider accompany you, when I met you, when you launched, you were my recruitment, marketing, automation, very innovative and very modern marketing approach to recruitment. But you’ve come a long way. And I’m, you know, tell us more about talent lifecycle management, you just touched on a few of the key components, but what is the vision for Beamery? And what what are you seeing and hearing from your customers, you know, if I can drill in on that a little bit around this concept, because it is a conversation that I’m having more and more in the in the market.
Abakar Saidov 8:50
100 percent and, you know, you’re spot on with the, we’ve always had this this big vision, around, know, how can you offer strategic talent capabilities, and, you know, helping them manage the lifecycle. And we have come a long way. And, you know, now we offer a very comprehensive, holistic platform that, you know, encompasses everything from the candidate employee alumni data, but also we have very much stay true to that that mission that we had from the very beginning. So the talent lifecycle management platform, you know, we offer a manifestation of that kind of original ideas, vision and and the requests we’ve had. What’s really interesting for me, George right now is that the, what we’re hearing in the current macroeconomic uncertainty is you know, how that client is impacting the different industries, the companies, the kind of at the individual level as well. So talent teams we’re finding are really shifting their priorities. And that’s happening very quickly, you know, acquisition is no longer the only priority.
Abakar Saidov 9:46
It’s now around orientation towards agility, towards resilience, in a which requires real time data. So it’s not only about, you know, just candidates or just employees, it’s all of them. And what we’re finding is that the they need to know that skills that they have today where the gaps are. And then, you know, the ability to redeploy re skill and you know, understand how their employees can be growing how they can actually focus on the DNI initiatives, especially at the more junior talent level and bringing new people into the organization. And also even for organizations that are implementing hiring freezes in places. And we actually saw this in 2020, during kind of the first COVID lockdown, is they still need to pipeline, they still need to be able to actually ensure that they have that agility and the talent that they’ve been developing and speaking to one, you know, they come out of this time of hiring freezes. And you know, that’s what we come in to try and solve all of those problems for them.
George LaRocque 10:42
It’s so interesting to be in this economic climate, right, you know, coming, I don’t know, if we’re out of COVID, or, you know, you know, and this tail end of COVID. Because COVID was a different experience from that perspective, then than I expected, I think many expected, I think we expected more of a slowdown, more of an economic issue in our market. And I know many people were impacted that way. And that I’m not, I don’t make light of those areas. But by and large, our industry did really well through 20, late 2020 and 2021. Because of the focus on these issues, and it’s almost I feel like as I’m talking to, you know, maybe maybe you’re hearing this with your customers, but it was almost like a reminder that, you know, we need to be ready with that agility, as you say, like, it’s, it’s we don’t know what the next unknown is. So to turn, now is a time to invest and not a time to pivot our focus is is it that kind of spirit or or thing that you’re experiencing with your customers as well?
Abakar Saidov 11:57
Absolutely. And actually, to build on that, you know, what we, what we saw in kind of the beginning of 2020 was, you know, often that kind of initial shock to the system, that organizations recognized that status quo is not sufficient. So for example, that, you know, that old adage, you know, HR getting a seat at the table. Well, now, actually, the people teams and the HR departments and talent departments had been on them, the owners to solve the business critical issues, where’s the talent gonna come from? How do we expand? How do we grow? And obviously, there was a lot of change and transformation that started happening where, you know, ecommerce businesses boomed, you know, travel businesses shrank. And so what we’re seeing today, in terms of the transformation that’s happening, is the trigger is different. So for example, a lot of organizations are looking at, okay, how do we deal with higher prices, higher wages? How do we deal with, you know, the requirements for high profitability, but all of those are still components of in order to reach those business objectives? Talent execution, time transformation is critical. Yeah. And so that is where a lot of the intelligence needed for fast decisions is what we’ve been what we’ve been serving, because it’s not just about, you know, having workflow software, it’s actually having the data at your fingertips to make good decisions.
George LaRocque 13:15
Right. Right. Yeah, it’s, we used to have people data sort of, you know, cordoned off over here, and then the rest of the business. And now, you know, I think there’s an appreciation that the people data is business data. And it’s, it’s a theme. And, you know, Beamery, I have to give you credit, you were early on on this before any of this was happening. You know, along the way, as I get updates, you know, to your that you’re providing to the analyst community, you were talking about this sort of intelligence and analytical v analytics view, to what’s happening in New York and outside to drive decisions. So it wasn’t just right place at right time for you.
Abakar Saidov 14:03
Well, there’s also an added element, which is, it’s not just having the data to make the decisions, it’s actually then also having the tool to execute the decisions because you’re having wonderful information that I should do something but actually not being able to do it. So for example, knowing that oh, the way that we solve, for example, for this business critical challenge is to be able to say upskill circumstance of employees or kind of reconfigure the distribution of skill sets into different priorities, but then not being able to do it would be incredibly frustrating. So that the way that we’ve we’ve tried to focus our product strategy and our kind of business strategies around not only giving the insights or decisions, but also the the tool to execute them. And then the final piece is actually about risk. Because I think increasingly what’s happening and especially as you kind of go broader in the organization, it’s knowing whether the decisions you’re making and the execution of those things is going to come true and there’s risk around and everything from well, I feel for those critical skill gaps, as well as you know, am I allowed to even have certain data compliance AI regulation? And so what we’ve really focused on is also really working with our customers to understand what are the risks that they’re seeing? What do they need to react to? What do they not understand. And so, for example, the new regulation that came out in New York about AI data, now we are front and center of that, we actually launched a new product recently called the compliance preference Center, which allows candidates and organizations to really create a dialogue.
George LaRocque 15:31
Oh, that’s cool. And you’ve, you’ve got a track record there. I remember with GDPR, you were, you know, the first out with a guide to GDPR and recruitment. And it was more, it wasn’t just an ebook, it was, it was about you know, what to do, how to do it, and especially leveraging memory. That’s interesting. So I can keep I can keep drilling into the years, the category that you’re in, and what you’re seeing for a while, but a few quick questions about, you know, what, now, with the with this round, so, you know, what, what are your plans for, you know, you’ve, you’ve raised the the new 50 million, you’re a unicorn now, what are you going to deal with, with with this round?
Abakar Saidov 16:20
You know, I think we’re very much staying staying true to the to the roots, I think there’s so much more product to build George, in a way, we’re incredibly excited to kind of continue investing in the capabilities that we’re building, I think that the there’s a lot of shift and focus on priorities for organizations. So right now, it’s about not just kind of speed of time acquisition, but also kind of the operational consistency and stability. And so that kind of built, allowing businesses to have that kind of level of resilience. So to give you an example, one of the things that we hear the most is, you know, how do we get managers involved into the kind of talent process, you know, for example, for the last 25 years has been the the age of the customer, you know, organizations are focused on how to kind of obsess about attracting and retaining and maximizing lifetime value of their clients. You know, I truly believe the next 2025 years is the age of the employee and the age of talents, where it’s about, you know, attracting, retaining and creating incredible value both for businesses and for and for talented employees. And critical to that, you know, it’s not just becoming a, as a lot of organizations became customer centric, how do organizations become talent centric, and that means it’s no longer just, you know, the HR talent team’s job. It’s everyone’s job. And so we’re really focusing on, you know, building tools, not just, you know, for planning and workforce agility, which is super critical today, but actually around engaging the business within the talent processes. Okay, interesting. On top of that, I think we’re starting to see a lot of global demand. So we’ve we’ve always been present in, you know, North America and Europe, we’re now starting to see a lot more demand coming from kind of other regions of the world, such as LA times such as AIPAC, and so we’re actually also investing into those regions, too.
George LaRocque 18:07
Yeah, that’s very consistent with what I’m seeing, I’ve got a big report coming out in January, and I’m seeing the total addressable market for all of work tech, and HR tech, and certainly talent focused tech grow exponentially, partly because of largely because of expansion into emerging markets, seeing demand, and also, you know, tech players, you know, emerge. A few not not, it’s not a huge volume. But, but it’s, but it’s quite interesting. Even looking at adoption rates that are much lower than, you know, North America and Europe, the world’s a big place, there are, you know, billions of people in the workforce. So. So what about your customers? Will they will there be any, you know, impact that they’ll notice, from from this round up, you know, you’ve talked about a lot of product impact.
Abakar Saidov 19:13
I think, to be honest, it’s, you know, we we continue, obviously, to grow the customer base, the focus remains the same, you know, we are very privileged to have scale the platform and both in terms of feature set and scalability to be able to serve the world’s largest organizations. But I think also, you know, right now, as we’re talking about, you know, we’re looking at the data insights organizations that are needed for all the different stakeholders. So of course, we’re still serving, you know, the VP of talent and the CFO, etc. But now, we’re also starting to look at, you know, the finance organization, the CFO, and, you know, building not just for managers, but for also the kind of decision cycles, but then kind of all planning and all kind of micro macro decisions, and so, I think our customers will see, you know, continued acceleration in the roadmap. We obviously We are spending a lot of time with our clients around, you know, having, you know, product advisory boards and connections around what they need the most and what they’re seeing. And I think it’s a real it’s a real privilege to obviously have investors that believe in what you’re doing so much that, you know, we’re now able to deploy even more resources to do that.
George LaRocque 20:18
Yeah, very cool. And what? And what about employees? You know, I always like to I never leave out that constituency, there’s this, you know, create any impact for the employees?
Abakar Saidov 20:31
I’d be right. Yeah. I mean, the great news is that we’re continuing to grow our team. So I think that, you know, we’re, we’re a global organization, we continue to hire kind of everywhere in the world. And so I think for our employees, it’s kind of more investment into everything from size of team as well as kind of the the way we’re enabling our teams as well.
George LaRocque 20:53
That’s great. That’s, that’s exciting. So what’s what’s next for the business for the company? We’ve talked a lot about the product in the market. You know, what’s what’s next for Beamery?
Abakar Saidov 21:10
I think you know, right now, we were so confident in the kind of the necessity of what we’re doing everything we’re hearing from market from customers. I think what’s next is, is really focusing on the quality of the execution because we’re getting to a scale right now where I think you can, you can build a very large business here. And so for me, you know, we’re a very ambitious team, ambitious company. And so I think we want to really build the category king here. And so I think it’s, it’s an opportunity to, you know, when potentially a lot of organizations might be pulling back, you know, where we’re really leaning in.
George LaRocque 21:50
Okay, cool. And where can folks go to learn more?
Abakar Saidov 21:54
Beamery.com is our website and obviously, feel free to reach out to me or anybody?
George LaRocque 22:00
Great. Well, I really appreciate your time. I really thank you for being here. And I’m really excited to help tell the story about Beamery about this round.
Abakar Saidov 22:12
Thank you so much. Of course. That’s a pleasure, George.
George LaRocque 22:15
All right. And thanks, everyone for for tuning in to WorkTech.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai