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hibob, The Shoreditch HR Start-up Which Raised One Of UK’s Largest Ever Seed Rounds, Targets Pension Auto-Enrolment With Appointment Of Lady Barbara Judge As Chair

You don’t have to be mad to work here…Lady Barbara Judge, the current Chair of the Institute of Directors has joined the board of East London based HR start-up hibob as Chairman.

Lady Barbara, who also acts as a Business Ambassador on behalf of UKTI, was once chair of the UK Atomic Energy Authority, and the youngest ever commissioner of the Securities and Exchange Commission, recently stepped down Chairman of the Pension Protection Fund which perhaps freed up enough time, and makes her the perfect candidate to accept the role at hibob, who are aiming to become one of the leading forces in providing auto-enrol pension services to SMEs.

In June, hibob raised $7.5m of seed funding in a round led by Bessemer Ventures – one of the largest seed rounds ever to have been completed in the UK.

The start-up provides tools to help SMEs in Britain – who make up 99% of the UK’s private businesses – efficiently manage their staff in a more integrated way, targeting areas such as compliance, benefits, retention and pensions, by providing a “one stop shop”, cloud based platform.

Lady Judge commented upon joining at the beginning of August “Small and medium sized businesses are the backbone of our economy, yet the daily pressure they face to remain compliant and retain their staff is huge. hibob is spearheading some much needed innovation to help companies grapple with this.

Lady Judge is expected to use her in-depth knowledge of the pensions sector to help the platform better serve millions of businesses who have the requirement to auto-enrol their staff.

She commented about her meetings with hibob co-founder Ronni Zehavi “We quickly realised we shared the same passion for helping small businesses in general but also more specifically to help them deliver auto-enrolment in a way that is efficient and engaging.”

Zehavi said: “Lady Barbara’s track record in supporting British SMEs and the pension industry is second to none. She has the perfect blend of top down policy thinking on pensions but also a critical bottom up understanding of British business.”

hibob describe themselves as a “people management platform that sorts all the people stuff for smart modern businesses who love their staff.” The platform, its founders say, can save businesses up to 36 days per year on day-to-day tasks, as well as driving staff-retention, and all-importantly tackling pension auto-enrolment which states that all businesses must have auto-enrolled their staff into a pension by April 2017.

The company launched in June after Silicon Valley based Bessemer Ventures, VC LocalGlobe, and several well-known angel investors found $7.5m in seed funding.

Research has shown that UK SMEs are spending upwards of £95 billion per annum on employee benefits, which hibob say they can help reduce, along with a £30,000 per SME churn problem, in part by gathering intelligence and using big data to discover trends – how employee interests, marital status etc. impacts on suitability for roles.

hibob has offices in London, at the Corsham Street premises of WeWork, and in Tel Aviv, Israel. The start-up’s team numbers more than 40, and besides Zehavi, who was previously a founder of content accelerator CDN Contendo, a start-up which was acquired for $300m by Akamai in 2011, co-founders include CTO Israel David, CSO Andy Bellass and CPO Amit Knaani.

Lady Barbara, Zehavi and Adam Fisher, a partner at Bessemer, make up the board.

“HR-tech” has been slow to catch on but the sector is currently booming, with $2.4bn invested into it in the US last year. hibob’s pension play looks to be the real driver behind the launch of this start-up, as SME’s will struggle to meet the demanding deadlines for auto-enrolment without expert advice and a dash of disruptive tech.

In fact, rumour has it Taavet Hinrickius, founder of Transferwise and one of London’s most prominent entrepreneurs, is one of the angel’s to have invested in the business.

Besides pensions, the firm will concentrate on a holistic approach to the management of HR concerns, and using big data to help companies understand their staff and find the right profile people to bring into a company.

There’s nowt so queer as folk – especially London folk – you may need more than a platform to understand them, but having one no doubt helps.


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