January 12, 2016

SmashFly Secures $22M, Plans Expansion to Boston

Any business leader will tell you that hiring top talent isn’t easy. It takes a lot to win candidates over: interesting work, collaborative people, a winning culture, great benefits - the list goes on. But before all that, you have to find them. And, especially in today’s age, that’s no easy feat.

Enter SmashFly, a SaaS-based recruitment marketing automation platform that helps attract and nurture candidates, converting them into job applicants.

“What marketing is to sales in an organization, recruitment marketing is to recruitment,” explains Michael Hennessy, SmashFly founder and CEO. “[SmashFly] is like the Hubspot of recruiting.”

SmashFly isn’t an applicant tracking system, though - Hennessy’s quick to explain that. But you could say that’s where its roots are. In the early 2000s, Hennessy was founding architect and director of engineering at talent management system BrassRing, where he built the first four versions of the solution before it was acquired by Kenexa in 2006. Six years later, Kenexa was acquired by IBM.


After the BrassRing-Kenexa acquisition, Hennessy left and launched SmashFly in 2007.

“Having spent 10 years helping build a talent management system, I knew what most applicant tracking systems were missing: getting applicants to apply in the first place,” Hennessy says.

For the first seven years, the organization was bootstrapped. Hennessy intentionally grew it slowly in an effort to “build something of value,” particularly because recruitment marketing wasn’t a tool or topic on most businesses’ radar.

With time, the company grew to 20 employees and in 2013 brought on its first chief of sales. Subsequently, SmashFly closed its three largest deals that same year. In 2014, SmashFly secured its first round of funding: $9M from OpenView Venture Partners. Since then, it has grown significantly, more than tripling its staff. Its number of new mid-market and enterprise customers tripled too, increasing year-over-year sales by a reported 143 percent.


Today, SmashFly announced it has secured $22M in Series B funding led by Bessemer Venture Partners. OpenView participated in the round too, capping the company’s total financing at $31M. It joins a list of Bessemer investments in the human capital management space, including LinkedIn and Cornerstone OnDemand.

“This funding is an indicator to the market that recruitment marketing and what we’re doing is a big deal,” says Hennessy. “We’re still in early stages in terms of this category and the opportunities… The size of the round itself is an indication of the commitment.”

Plans for the investment include product development, a new Boston office, and hiring an additional 70 employees.

“We’re focused on putting ourselves where the best talent is,” Hennessy admits, explaining that while SmashFly plans to retain its Concord office, many qualified candidates may not be up for that commute.

The company, already a recognized place to work in Boston by both Boston Business Journal’s Best Places to Work and Glassdoor, will continue to keep culture top-of-mind while doubling staff in 2016.

“Culture is extremely important to us and it has been since day one,” Hennessy says. “Having a strong culture is in our DNA.”

Kaite Rosa is Director of Content & Marketing at VentureFizz. Follow her on Twitter @KaiteRosa.

Cover photo and thumbnail image via SmashFly's Glassdoor page.

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