HR & EDUCATION | Staff Reporter, Singapore

HR software startup Peoplewave strengthens funding stream with $500,000 seed round

Their products include an onboarding app and a data-driven performance appraisal platform.

When Damien Cummings was made redundant at his role as global head of digital at Standard Chartered Bank, he went on to work for a few other companies where he discovered a business practice sorely in need of improvement: Many companies, he thought, had poorly implemented people management and employee welfare programs that made them predisposed to layoffs and retrenchments.

Using his personal savings and turning down a half-a-million-dollar-per-year job offer commensurate to his marketing expertise, Cummings founded the cloud-based HR software startup Peoplewave and as the current CEO now leads its “mission of making work fair and putting people first in people management.”

Peoplewave’s products, which include an onboarding app and a data-driven performance appraisal platform, were designed to address common HR pain points in employee development and people management. The technology approach adds a layer of ease that overworked, compliance-driven and acquisition-focused HR departments desperately crave.

The startup has found a thirst for its products in Singapore, and has led to a successful $500,000 seed round from a series of angels and aligned companies in the HR field that is expected to close on November 10. This follows an initial $100,000 pre-seed funding shelled out by founders, which also include CTO Phil Aldrige, an IT leader based in Hong Kong who has mentored startups across Asia and is the chair of the British Chamber of Commerce’s startup committee.

Damien is an Australian who has lived in Singapore for the past 10 years. He's recognised thought leader in the marketing and digital space, while Phil is a leader in technology.

Putting people first
“We have a simple goal, to put people first in people management,” said Cummings. “We do this by championing transparency and data-driven decision-making through our onboarding, performance review and employee analytics products.”

Peoplewave’s banner product is First 100 Days app, which the CEO said provides a more structured new hire onboarding and addresses the crucial issue of probation periods. A second product is Performance Wave, a data-driven platform that provides greater transparency during performance reviews through the use of a proprietary algorithm, which the company calls “formula of performance.”

“Peoplewave was born out of a deep frustration: Many smart and good people have become victims of corporate restructures, biased decision-making or been unfairly treated,” said Cummings, on why these two products are finding appeal among Singapore companies that want to avoid losing top talent due to poor onboarding and unfair performance appraisals.

He reckoned HR departments play a big role in reinforcing these organizational weaknesses in post-hire processes. Many HR functions make acquiring top talent their utmost priority, which takes focus away from effective post-hire management. It also does not help that HR teams fail to train line managers how to effectively nurture the same top talent that the former worked so hard to sign.

“The sad truth is that most managers are poorly trained in people management or have simply been thrust into these roles without guidance, mentoring or adequate support. At the same time, Human Resources teams often don’t play an active role in managing employees,” said Cummings.

But the CEO is hoping that with Peoplewave products, the tides will shift towards a more attentive onboarding of fresh hires and fairer evaluation of all staff.

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