by Tony Abena, Operating Partner
Seven Peaks Ventures is really excited to announce our investment in ZapInfo, a Minnesota-based startup that transforms the way companies source and hire talent. While we would not normally invest in a company outside of our Pacific Northwest/Western state regional focus, this company made us “break the rules” for three key reasons.
First, the company itself is focused on a crucial workforce-based problem for enterprises. One of our key investment sectors is WorkforceTech, which comprises ten different market segments, worth over $100 billion collectively, all focused on helping companies find, hire, retain and manage talent, and help them be more engaged and productive. Even with all of the investment in these workforce-related tech startups over the last few years, we still see a tremendous opportunity to help create innovative, disruptive companies of scale in this space, particularly leveraging team collaboration and AI/ML technologies as companies shift from a focus on people-based engagement to team-based productivity to drive business outcomes.
Companies talk a lot about how important talent is to their businesses. As a result many certainly invest a lot in their attempt to win this “war for talent.” However, the technology and processes used by many F1000 companies are often very siloed between a number of disconnected SaaS and software-based platforms/tools, and organizations/departments that are not aligned to systematically improve both their time to hire and quality of hires. ZapInfo combines workflow features and data enrichment to allow talent acquisition professionals to dramatically improve their sourcing and hiring productivity in both areas.
Second, the ZapInfo team is made up of proven leaders who have built and scaled market-leading companies in this market over the last 20 years. Doug Berg, Founder/CEO has raised over $130M in VC funding and has built and exited two companies, including Jobs2Web which SAP acquired in 2011. Suzanne Dunham, VP Sales has been a serially successful sales leader in a number of human capital-related companies, including Avionte Staffing Software and Plato Learning. Evan Carothers, CPO, and Ryan Morlok, CTO, are technology and product leaders who built and sold their previous company, Docalytics, to Contently.com and have extensive experience in both startups and larger companies such as Thomson Reuters and Seagate. We are thrilled to be able to ride-along with such a great team and help in whatever way we can.
Third, we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to invest alongside Jeff Hinck, who is the Managing Partner at Rally Ventures in Minnesota. We have worked with Jeff for a number of years, and are currently co-investors in CrowdStreet, the leading commercial real estate crowdfunding platform, which just raised its Series A round of financing to further fuel its growth and team expansion. Tony Abena, our Operating Partner lives in Minnesota, has invested with Jeff, and has also worked with Doug Berg in his last two startups as both an investor and board member. Tony represents Seven Peaks as a Director on the ZapInfo Board as well.