In the past decade, Chief People Officers (CPO) have seen a dramatic expansion in their day-to-day duties. The role has evolved from an administrative HR function to a more strategic position, particularly as the pandemic has spotlighted the importance of retention, training and recruitment during a crisis. But despite the surge in interest — CPO is the third-fastest-growing C-level position, according to LinkedIn — CPOs often lag behind sales, marketing, and account managers in their approaches to data analytics.
With the goal of creating change, entrepreneur Joseph Quan founded Knoetic, a platform designed to provide insights into metrics such as turnover, diversity and employee growth. Knoetic integrates with HR systems to allow CPOs to perform analytics and automatically generate reports, and it also provides recommendations on how to improve employee retention if the platform identifies an issue with attrition.
Knoetic today raised $36 million in a Series B round led by EQT Ventures with participation from Accel and Menlo Ventures. More than 200 angel investors have contributed, including CPOs from Bill.com, Zapier, Box, and Calm.
“We’re not building an analytics tool or another tired community — we’re building a second brain, a cybernetic extension that gives CPOs superpowers… We envision similar to Salesforce building the first, early cloud customer relationship management system,” Quan said per TechCrunch Email framing Knoetic’s mission in decidedly overblown terms. “[We’re] continue to educate every CPO that they need data and analytics to earn respect as the next generation of people leaders.”
The Knoetic platform integrates with HR information systems, applicant tracking systems, and performance and learning management apps to uncover trends across the organization. At one point, Knoetic claimed to be studying machine learning models to predict the drivers of turnover and turnover, successful or fast-promoted employees, and employees who are central to the success of their departments.
Knoetic’s clients will also have access to a forum, CPOHQ, where they can discuss HR-related issues such as budgeting and immigration policies online and at in-person dinners, workshops and conferences. CPOHQ also hosts best practice documents and playbooks contributed by the community of more than 2,000 CPOs.
Knoetic counts Credit Karma, Calm, Checkr, Mural, and Synk among its customers, and while Quan wouldn’t give exact numbers, he said it’s grown 500% year over year. The startup’s war chest sits at around $50 million as Knoetic prepares to add about a dozen employees to its 50-strong workforce.
“Knoetic was actually founded out of the pandemic, which was a huge boost to the company’s growth. CPOs leveraged Knoetic’s qualitative and quantitative tools to navigate the tough challenges of the pandemic. The broader slowdown in technology has also only increased the need for solutions to support a strategic HR function,” said Quan. “With our current brand, we have runway for several years.”
Knoetic will also benefit from the perception that HR technology remains a safe bet even in a downturn. Data from WorkTech shows VC spending for the first half of 2022 puts the year on track to match or surpass 2021’s $17.9 billion record, while the second quarter came in at $4.6 billion -Dollar investing was the fourth-biggest quarter for the HR sector.