5 Finalists in the 2017 HR Tech World Startup Competition

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The competition for the best startups in the world of HR, the Future of Work and Technology is upon us yet again. Over 200 Start-up Founders and CEOs, carefully handpicked exhibitors and 5 Finalists descend on Amsterdam next month. The HR Tech World Start-up Competition, first hosted in October 2011 and the first competition for HR Tech Startups in the World, has its main roots in Amsterdam and Paris. The established Red Ribbon event on the Future of Work and Technology has seen 8 finals in total, 4 in Amsterdam, two in London and two in Paris. Interestingly for the year that we celebrate diversity – 3 of the last 4 winners have been women!

The small guy

Initially, the competition started as pro-bono work to give the small guy a leg up so to speak. In a world of giants, this had not happened before. The competition has since become its own event for 2 days. HR Tech World attendees will find sessions and updates from past winners and finalists, VC panels, and pitches from a dozen other start-ups looking to disrupt the HR World, to make the world of work a better place and become the next Workday, SuccessFactors or SmartRecruiters.

Over the years, we have witnessed the success of +50 finalists and 100’s of applications from over 40 countries from Sydney to Silicon Valley, from New York to Helsinki to Tokyo. As the show has evolved, what began as pro-bono work has since turned into the place to be for HR start-ups, where they learn how to pitch their solution to fans and critics alike including seasoned  entrepreneurs, analysts, vendors, media and perhaps most importantly of all – the organizations they wish to win and serve.


What’s the reality of our successes from the early days to today? TalentBin winner of HR Tech World Start-up Competition 2012 was acquired by Monster, which has since been acquired by Randstad – all sponsors of our community. Talentbin is the talent search engine for the entire web and finds passive candidates where they are active online, based on their skills, interests and actions.

HR Tech World Start-up Competition 2013 Finalist Zao, the social recruitment platform that lets employees and a company’s wider network get rewarded for making job referrals, was bought by legacy UK e-recruitment company Amris (now owned by the Pixid Group).

In 2015 we saw Clustree win the competition and we’ve watched them go from strength to strength; in June this year, they won another round of investment for $7.9 million. In the last 6 months, the success of the competition and our speed dating exhibition for startups is clearly evidenced by the last 2 winners and runners-up raising over 30m in investments and over 100m across all Startups involved with HR Tech World over the last 12 months including Tandem HR Solutions, Textio, Beamery and more.

Investment talks

Startups who have participated in the competition and startup exhibition have managed to raise over 200 million dollars over the last 3 years! Examples include JobandTalent ($43m), Harver ($8.1m), Jobbatical ($3m), Impraise ($1.6m), Textio ($20m), Tandem ($2.5m), Klaxoon ($5m), Beamery ($5m), Praditus ($1.5m), CultureAmp ($36m), Apploi ($7m), SmartRecruiters ($56m), Peakon ($6.5m) and so on.

Brand Evolution 2017-2018

They say plagiarism is the best form of flattery. Our success is no exception and has spawned a number of copycat events, so we’ve decided to disrupt ourselves and at the same time keep things simple for this year’s flagship show. The Startup Competition has had various incarnations, the last being disruptHR which seems to be the name of every other show out there at the moment. For this year to stay on brand, the competition and expo are just HR Tech World Startup Competition and HR Tech World Startup Expo. Note: There will be more brand evolution to come which we will announce at the show next month.

Sincere Thanks

Special thanks to our sponsor Cornerstone for getting behind this very special part of the show and recognition to Adam, Colette, Naomi, Jason and all the team at Cornerstone for their continued support and sponsorship over the years. They can take great pride in being part of this success and evolution.

Special thanks, too, to Jerome for successfully moderating the competition since 2011. Jerome started his own business SmartRecruiters in parallel and over the last couple of years has successfully raised over 56m in funding. SmartRecruiters is taking us into the new era of hiring platforms.

Where it all Happens

Find the agenda for the entire show, including the startup competition here. The competition will run for 1.5hrs on Day 1 from 1pm sharp, so don’t miss out on learning about what innovation and disruption these companies are bringing to HR Tech World.

We will announce 5 Finalists on THURSDAY MORNING and look forward to celebrating the next crop of startups changing the Future of Work.

Below is a letter I received during the summer from the winner of last year’s competition in Paris.

Dear Marc,

I wanted to update you on some progress that we’ve made with Tandem and thank you for the part HR Tech World played in that. We have secured our seed round investment of €2m and have attracted a really great team of advisors, mentors and Board members. We have the ex CEO of Twitter, the CEO of Britebill and some high profile investors joining us to help us on our journey.

So I wanted to reach out to say a big thanks to you as our journey with investors really started with winning your competition. It helped us attract the right level of interest to secure funding and gave us access to PR, which led us to win new clients. We’re now supporting global organisations such as Swiss Re, Manulife and John Hancock and our product has evolved to meet the needs of those organisations.

I know how hard you all work but I wanted to say that what you are doing is making such a difference to start-ups like us and we are very grateful for the opportunities it presented to us. Thanks for all your encouragement and giving us this start. You are all a big part of our success to date. We are really looking forward to Amsterdam. Good luck in all the preparations!

Sincerely, Aisling Teillard, CEO and CoFounder Tandem

Next year will see HR Tech World Startup Finals in 3 locations – two in Europe and one in the United States. There are still loads of opportunities to get involved this year and next year so if you’re interested in being involved whether you are a start-up, venture capitalist, media, consultant, etc please contact us here.


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