Arik Hesseldahl

Recent Posts by Arik Hesseldahl

SilkRoad, Another HR Software Service in the Cloud, Lands $35 Million

One of the evolving themes of the year has been the heat coming from the otherwise sleepy world of human-resource software — applications that companies use to manage their people and payroll.

For years, the applications were traditional on-premise software — you’d run it on a server or a series of desktop machines wherever the people who used them happened to be. And the biggest players were — or rather, still are — Oracle, by way of its takeover of PeopleSoft, and SAP. But when these apps started to migrate to the cloud and be available on demand, things started getting interesting. Companies that used them started to love the functionality, the ease of use, maintenance and support, and also the lower cost, and they started voting with their purchase orders in favor of the cloud.

That’s when the established on-premise suppliers got grabby. Last year, the race to roll up the cloud players started in earnest when SAP spent $3.4 billion for SuccessFactors. Not long after that, Taleo, another cloud player, went to Oracle for $1.9 billion. And nabbed Rypple. Meanwhile, a bunch of former PeopleSoft execs are building Workday into a credible threat to all of them.

So this makes today’s news from SilkRoad — yet another player in the cloud-based HR application business — all the more interesting. The company announced a $35 million Series C led by Keating Capital and NTT Finance, joining existing investors Intel Capital, Crosslink Capital, Foundation Capital, Azure Capital and Tenaya Capital. Customers include McAfee and International Paper.

Another reason for all the heat being generated by this low-profile sector: The market research firm IDC reckons that, by 2015, companies will spend north of $8 billion on human-capital management tools.

The company says the funding will support its international expansion plans, especially internationally. Its products currently support 18 languages, and there are plans to add to those.

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There’s a lot of attention and PR around Marissa, but their product lineup just kind of blows.

— Om Malik on Bloomberg TV, talking about Yahoo, the September issue of Vogue Magazine, and our overdependence on Google