With $12M More, HR Software Startup Namely to Double Staff in 2015

After tripling its headcount to 50 in the past year, Namely in New York plans to keep growing fast.

“We will absolutely double in staff over the next year,” says Matt Straz, the company’s CEO and founder.

Namely developed a cloud-based, human resources and payroll platform and early this month raised $12 million in a Series B round led by Matrix Partners. Straz says the expansion will include more engineering, sales, and marketing staff for New York and possible sales hires in the San Francisco Bay area.

The rapid growth also means finding a new home for the company. “We’ve maxed out our space,” Straz says. “We’re in two spaces, one in Manhattan and one in Brooklyn, where engineers and designers work.” Namely plans to lease a 25,000 sq. ft. office in 2015 in the financial district, he says, to bring the New York staff together under one roof.

Straz says Namely’s software caters to small and midsize businesses, offering a variety of functions without becoming too complex for the layperson. He believes the market wants software suites with 10 to 12 major features in one product. “Most HR products were built for HR people,” he says. “Most HR systems really are a bear to work with.”

Midsize and small companies, Straz says, do not have the staff to manage multiple human resources applications. Moreover, they want insight on their staff, which is difficult to do if the necessary data resides in several different databases. “They don’t want to have to work with five or six different systems, especially if they’re growing midsize companies,” he says.

Namely developed features that bring together compensation data, performance data, and other information in one central database that can be used by managers, finance staff, and human resources alike. With the Affordable Care Act changing the nature of benefits, Straz believes Namely’s platform can help midsize and small companies keep abreast of the regulatory reporting requirements as the system record.

Human resources software is getting a bit more attention these days in the startup scene, with other developers such as Justworks in New York also raising funding recently. Straz says Namely tries to set itself apart from the growing competition by offer a suite of features rather than focus on one element.

The idea for Namely came from Straz’s prior experience as an employee and a manager for one of WPP’s agencies (Nasdaq: WPPGY). WPP is a London-based advertising and PR firm. He oversaw large teams around the world, which meant managing hundreds of people—through spreadsheets. A wish for an easier way to get the job done would linger with him, though he did not tackle the idea immediately.

Namely is Straz’s latest go at the startup world. Most recently, he co-founded ad tech company Pictela in New York, which was acquired in 2010 by AOL.

Straz decided to pursue his ideas to change human resources software, and in late 2011 work began on Namely. “We spent the first year and a half just working on data structure, permissioning, and reporting,” he says.

The software is used by some 150 companies with collectively more than 20,000 employees. Thus far Namely has raised $22 million in funding. Its other backers include True Ventures and Lerer Ventures.

Namely is trying to be the human resources software that meets the needs of midsize companies, which can be overlooked by software designed for larger enterprises. Straz says there is been a bit of disconnect in figuring out how to address such matters. “What the market wants and what founders typically build—and what VCs fund—are typically two different things,” he says. Straz thinks his company can be the answer.

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