Parker Conrad’s ripple hits $11.25 billion valuation as ex-Zenefits CEO bounces back with HR software
“I don’t think Silicon Valley has ever seen a comeback like this before.”
PArker Conrad is back.
Less than seven months after its HR startup hit a $6.5 billion valuation in October, the San Francisco-based company has boosted that figure by more than 70% to $11.25 billion.
The new high valuation comes as the company raised a further $250 million, bringing its total investment to $700 million, led by Kleiner Perkins and Bedrock Capital. The funding comes as publicly traded tech stocks have fallen and many late-stage venture capital-backed tech companies have struggled to raise new funding.
“It’s always fun as an entrepreneur to get those moments of validation,” Conrad says in a video call with Forbes from his home in San Francisco.
We first wrote about Rippling two years ago as part of the Forbes Next Billion-Dollar Startups 2020 list. Conrad, the fallen CEO of the tech unicorn behind Zenefits, was trying to find redemption with Rippling, which aims to facilitate human resources with software. With the new raise, Rippling is worth two and a half times the $4.5 billion Zenefits was worth at its peak.
Conrad founded the company with Prasanna Sankar, former director of engineering at Zenefits, to simplify HR. Its advantage is that it not only automates payroll, but also automatically manages the software tools, applications and workgroups that new employees need, and keeps them all up to date as employees are promoted, change groups or leave. This type of paperwork isn’t the sexiest activity, but it can save companies countless hours of their executives’ time, and the headaches and costs that come with it.
Rippling has grown rapidly since its inception. Its recurring annual revenue is now over $100 million (though the company declines to elaborate), up from $13 million when we profiled it in 2020. The company says its ARR has more than doubled since its last funding round six months ago. . Revenue for accounting purposes is lower than ARR, a sales metric subscription-based companies like Rippling prefer to use.
“In the early days of Rippling, there were a lot of times when we were talking to customers and they were scared because of Zenefits,” says Conrad. “I’ve always felt that we just need to create a much more compelling product to attract people… We’re going to have to be twice as good at trying to overcome that, and at some point At some point those worries will start to kick in. fade and it will be a huge accelerator for the company.
On the call, Conrad shares his screen to show how underlying employee data can be routed to mailing lists, for example, or expense report approvals. This all-encompassing capability makes Rippling different from other companies that offer simple HR software. “If you build products with this understanding of employee data, you can eliminate a lot of the administrative work,” he says.
Over the next 12 months, Conrad says, Rippling plans to launch seven new products, an aggressive expansion plan. In total, the company spends 50% of its revenue on R&D, compared to 20% or 25% for a more typical SaaS company of its size, he says.
While Rippling has started selling to small and medium-sized businesses, in the past six months it has started to clash with human resources and finance giant Workday by selling to large companies, according to Mamoon Hamid, general partner of Kleiner. Perkins. Rippling’s net revenue retention is close to 200%, Hamid says, meaning that for every dollar of revenue earned today, the company earns nearly $2 next year as customers pay to use more his products.
This rapid growth attracted investors, who lobbied for the Series D round, although Rippling still has a substantial war chest, including the $250 million it raised last October, and was not looking not to lift. “For me, the logic was to want to insulate the business from any potential future macro shocks,” Conrad says.
Geoff Lewis, founder and managing partner of Bedrock, says his firm has invested a total of $125 million in the current funding round (in addition to the previous $35 million), making it the largest investment in the company. ‘business. He thinks Rippling has the potential to be as big a company in employee data as Salesforce is in sales data. He believes his product extensions give him the potential to outperform major software players well outside of Rippling’s original area of expertise, such as Deel, a $5.5 billion valuation startup that makes software. payroll software for international teams, and Okta, the market-trading user authentication security company. public market at a market cap of $14 billion. “We have an entire slide that we’re creating internally with 80 companies that we think Rippling has the potential to move,” Lewis says.
“People doubt the company and underestimate it from the start,” he says. “I don’t think Silicon Valley has ever seen a comeback like this before.”