July 31, 2012
Matrix Partners, Relay Ventures fund TribeHR's Boston invasion

Canadian human resources cloud
software startup TribeHR has landed $2.5 million in funding from Relay Ventures
and Waltham's Matrix Partners, cash TribeHR plans to use to
"aggressively" expand its Boston-area marketing and sales operation.  

CEO Joseph Fung called TribeHR,
founded in 2009 in Waterloo, Ontario, the latest in a string of Canadian HR companies like Taleo, Rypple and

The 13 employee startup has two
employees, its vice presidents of marketing and inside sales, working out
of Matrix's office in Waltham. Next month, the company plans to move into its
own office in the Boston/Cambridge area. TribeHR will keep its development
operation in Waterloo, in order to take advantage of talent from the University
of Waterloo, which is also Fung's alma mater. But it plans to grow its Boston
operation aggressively, Fung said.

Fung spends a week out of every
month in Boston. Aside from Matrix, which invested $1 million in TribeHR last
year, the Boston area offers a deep talent pool and a similar culture to
Southwest Ontario, a close-knit tech community with strong business-to-business
experience, Fung said.

"Heck, over here we even
have a Burlington and a Cambridge," he said.

TribeHR has 10,000 employee users
at "hundreds" of companies, mostly small and medium businesses with
under 500 employees. The startup charges companies between $2 and $10 per month
per user.

"People say SMBs are an easy
market because there are so many of them," Fung said. "But at a
smaller company, you know everyone, so you really want them to have a great
experience with the product."

And while TribeHR sells to HR
departments and company owners, Fung said the most important user is the
employee. The funding will also be used to build social and mobile features for
the company's service, which, among other things, lets companies recruit
socially and track hiring, and employees book days off for vacation or illness.

"When you wake up sick in
the morning, you don't want to have to log in to a web portal," Fung said.
"You just want to pick up your phone and do it."

Toronto-based Relay handles
almost exclusively mobile investments, while Matrix general partner David Skok
has experience with cloud and Software as a Service companies.

"The two things together are
a really great combination," Fung said.

Brendan Lynch is a journalist and contributor to VentureFizz.  You can follow him on Twitter (@bmolynch) by clicking here.