Q&A with TribeHR co-founder and CEO Joseph Fung about making HR a manageable proposition for small businesses and the company’s $1M funding round

By Editor August 12, 2011

TribeHR-logoTribeHR is an SaaS application that enables social human resources management for small-and-medium sized businesses. The Waterloo, Ontario–based company was founded in 2009 and closed a $1 million funding round in late July.

SUB: Please briefly describe what TribeHR is, and the value proposition you offer small-and-medium sized businesses.

Fung: TribeHR is the first truly social human resources management software for small and medium business. The SaaS-based solution is designed to engage employees and managers in the HR process, minimize stress and automate a number of internal procedures that save time and money.

SUB: Who do you consider to be your competition?

Fung: Our competitors are slow, antiquated, and frustrating HR processes and the tools that reinforce them. Many customers are switching from Success Factors, Taleo and other enterprise HR systems, or simply moving away from frustrating paper and Excel-based processes.

SUB: What differentiates TribeHR from your competitors (or from those who have similar offerings)?

Fung: Our solution was designed and built from the ground up for small and medium sized businesses . Unlike enterprise systems that were originally created just to support HR and finance teams, TribeHR’s easy-to-use tools are designed for everyone in the organization—we allow managers and employees to engage and share information easily and often among themselves.

SUB: How are you marketing your service?

Fung: In addition to online marketing and advertising opportunities, we consider exceptional customer service to be a key component of our marketing mix. We believe it provides a strong competitive advantage.

SUB: What was the inspiration behind TribeHR? Was there an “aha” moment, or was the idea longer in developing?

Fung: The original “aha” moment came when two of our cofounders, coming from very different backgrounds, met to discuss areas within the small business process that needed help. In their experience, many HR processes were breaking down because technology was simply not keeping pace with the Internet. Their desire to fix what was broken in HR, by applying more modern approaches to web and social software, is what led to the founding of TribeHR.

From idea to launch took approximately 18 months and was focused squarely on the HR process within small-to-medium sized companies. We conducted interviews, focus groups and numerous prototypes based on customer feedback, and completed two distinct beta trials that spanned several industries and geographies.

SUB: You recently closed a $1 million funding round. How do you plan to use the funds?

Fung: The company will use the funds to drive product development and expand sales and marketing programs.

SUB: Why was this a particularly good time to raise outside funds?

Fung: Adoption of SaaS-based software in SMBs is growing rapidly and demand for our HR solution remains strong. With a significant increase in new customers in recent months, our new funds will allow us to hold firm to our commitment for superior service and support and to rapidly build out the roadmap of new features our customers need and want.

SUB: Do you plan to raise more outside funding in the near future?

Fung: Although I can’t comment on future funding plans, I can say that we always keep our eyes open for good growth opportunities.

SUB: What have the biggest obstacles been so far to building TribeHR?

Fung: Because HR practices are so ingrained, yet in many respects so antiquated, our greatest challenge is to constantly think outside the box and keep our software simple and elegant.

SUB: Where do you see TribeHR in about a year from now?

Fung: It’s hard to predict with any level of accuracy but believe we are in the early stages of extreme growth. In addition to maintaining the highest software standards, we are also committed to integrating third party solutions. Doing so will allow our customers to easily share personnel data between their applications and across their organization.

TribeHR – www.tribehr.com