Moncton-based human resources (HR) software startup Alongside has secured $8 million CAD in Series A financing to expand its product suite and set the stage for its expansion across the country.
Alongside has already invested some of the funding from the December round to make a strategic acquisition, acquiring jobs site CareerBeacon from Irving family-owned media company Brunswick News late last year.
Yves Boudreau, Alongside’s co-founder and CEO, told BetaKit that the startup raised this capital to finance the CareerBeacon deal, fuel its product innovation plans, and enable Alongside’s Canadian expansion efforts.
“Our focus in 2022 is to reintroduce ourselves to the world with an improved offering, while setting the stage to expand both our product suite and our market share in Canada,” said Boudreau, who added that the startup is also exploring other strategic acquisition and partnership opportunities that align with its roadmap.
Alongside’s all-primary round was led by San Francisco’s 500 Global, which previously invested when Alongside took part in its accelerator program in 2015, and saw follow-on support from the New Brunswick Innovation Foundation (NBIF), Sparkland Capital, and Mariner Partners co-founders Gerry Pond and Bob Justason. New investors LongShot Capital, Leslie Magee of East Valley Ventures, and angel investors Jim English and Mike Tilley also participated.
This $8 million total consists of $3.2 million in equity and $4.8 million in debt financing from TD Bank. The round brings Alongside’s total equity funding to $5.5 million.
Founded in 2014 by Boudreau and CTO Benoit Bourque under the name Qimple, Alongside is an HR tech firm focused on improving the hiring process. The startup offers an applicant-tracking system tailored to small-to-medium-sized businesses (SMBs). According to Boudreau, Alongside’s “sweet spot” is companies with 100 to 500 employees, adding that although its platform is sector-agnostic, it has a bit of a focus on the tech and professional services industries.
Alongside plans to use the new capital to “modernize” its HR product.
As part of the round, 500 Global Managing Partner Tim Chae is joining Alongside’s board of directors. In today’s environment, where competition for attracting and retaining top talent is high, Chae said the firm sees “a growing opportunity for technology-enabled services to improve the job-seeking and recruiting process.”
“We believe Alongside is well-positioned to establish itself as a leader in this space,” he added.
Boudreau sees the startup’s acquisition of CareerBeacon as an important step towards that goal. In December, he told BetaKit that Alongside’s vision is to integrate the company’s HR tools and offerings with CareerBeacon’s jobs site.
“Basically, we want to be the first job board in the market that also has the most robust set of [HR] tools available to companies and to job seekers,” he said.
Alongside’s relationship with CareerBeacon dates back to 2014, when employers using the Alongside platform first became able to post their jobs directly to CareerBeacon. In 2017, Alongside partnered with CareerBeacon to revamp its brand and manage its recruitment and talent management website.
Boudreau called CareerBeacon an appealing acquisition target because it has over 2,000 active customers, and saw an average of 5,800 new jobs posted monthly in 2021.
NBIF’s director of investments, Ray Fitzpatrick, said it was “inspiring” to see Alongside make “such a bold strategic acquisition.”
“Usually, our start-ups are the ones that get acquired and not the other way around,” he added. “Alongside has shown there is more than one way to obtain growth in the [New Brunswick] tech sector, which may be paving the way for future start-ups looking to go down this path.”
In addition to making all of its existing offerings available within CareerBeacon, Alongside intends to fill other gaps in the hiring pipeline, ranging from employment offers to payroll and ongoing time-off management.
Alongside has already used the capital to grow its team from four to 17 employees over the last two months, some of which joined the startup from CareerBeacon. Boudreau added that Alongside plans to continue to grow its team throughout 2022.