As companies use new tools to enable remote ways of working, it becomes more difficult for their staff to track and manage information about internal services. It’s not just the C-suite that’s being challenged — lower-level workers too have to grapple with employers’ now sprawling catalogs of apps. According to Statista, the average company uses 110 software-as-a-service apps today, up from eight in 2015. Coveo found it that as a result, employees will spend just over 3 hours a day looking for information by 2022, an hour more than a year ago.
If you ask Perttu Ojansuu, the answer is an intranet, or a company-specific, digital portal that centralizes much of a company’s software and documentation in one place. Ojansuu admits his bias – he co-founded happy, a startup developing intranet software to connect employees with business tools. But Ojansuu says his opinions were shaped by his experiences working with clients at Gapps, a Finland-based Google Workspace reseller he co-founded in 2010.
†[With Gapps,] co-founder Antero Hanhirova and I saw a great opportunity to help enterprise companies in Scandinavia with their cloud transformation,” Ojansuu told londonbusinessblog.com in a recent interview. “During our Gapps time, we identified an important and consistent challenge that our customers faced: There was no central source of truth for information that could be easily integrated with other software-as-a-service tools… In 2016 was born from That customer challenge we decided to create a comprehensive solution for our customers.”
Ojansuu and Hanhirova launch HappeoThe first incarnation, ‘Universe’, in early 2016. In 2017, the two officially founded the company. To date, Happeo has raised $47 million in venture capital, including a $26 million Series B round co-led by Endeit Capital, Smartfin and Evli Growth Partners, which closed today. (Inkef Capital, Maki.vc and Vendep Capital also entered the Series B.)
Happeo wants to connect teams and people in an ‘organic way’. says Ojansuu, allowing them to create channels and pages around projects and mutual interests. The platform brings resources and apps together in a searchable home portal, with a launcher that allows employees to jump into a variety of software.
Happeo’s “federated search” can search across a company’s various internal tools. In addition, the service, which integrates with Microsoft 365 and Google Workspace, provides a place to host shared files and documents. At the back, an analytics dashboard shows stats such as channel, page, and post engagement, as well as search activity (e.g. top searched keywords).
†Because technology companies are growing fast, they don’t have time to build processes – the result is information chaos, leading to lower productivity and a low employee experience.” Ojansuu explained via email Q&A. †That’s where Happeo comes in… [It] removes the burden of sharing important updates to instant messaging tools so teams can use them to collaborate instead of being overwhelmed by information.”
Intranet platforms are hardly new – they’ve been around in one form or another for decades. And there are plenty of competitors in the space, including Google and Microsoft. Last July, Simplr raised $32 million for its tools to build intranet sites. More recently (in March), Staffbase raised $115 million at a valuation of $1.1 billion to expand its intranet-style communications platform.
It’s worth noting that the big rounds of funding are partly a reflection of the enthusiasm among VCs for HR technology broadly. The year 2021 turned out to be a record year for HR technology vendors, with approximately $14 billion invested in more than 300 deals.
One hurdle that Happeo has to overcome is the perception that intranet services are not particularly useful or pleasant from the user’s point of view. A questionnaire found that only 13% of employees use their intranet on a daily basis, while 31% admit they have never used it. Research views outdated or irrelevant content and a lack of executive involvement as the main culprits, along with a lack of a clear purpose.
But Ojansuu claims that Happeo’s is more holistic than most.
“Work is no longer a place where employees come together, share knowledge, bounce ideas off each other, communicate and build trust and connection. Brick-and-mortar offices and conversations about water coolers are gone. Employees took all this shared information into the home office.” Ojansuu told londonbusinessblog.com. †Employee experience is now at the heart of the HR tech market… [E]everyone wants to build an ‘experience layer’ that sits in front of the employees. happy is actively addressing this by becoming the central source of truth for companies to access all their information.”
Ojansuu says – for what it’s worth – the sales pitch convinced Rajeev Suri, the former CEO of Nokia, to make his first-ever angel investment in a Finnish company. It probably helped that Happeo had more than 366 customers before the Series B closed, including Pinterest, Decathlon and Marqeta.
“The problems happy solves are business-critical for success and the urgency for companies is high, both in times of economic downturn and in times of growth. Because of this, happy expect no effect on expected growth. Q2 2022 was a record quarter [for the company]† said Ojansuu. †Having just completed our Series B round, we are in a great position and have many vacancies, especially in technology and sales.”
Short-term, Ojansuu says the plan is to invest in Happeo’s product development with a focus on adding new app and service integrations. Further expansion in North America is in the works, which will also affect Happeo’s sales and customer success teams in New York.
Happeo currently has 124 employees and expects to have 160 by the end of the year.