Singapore: HR startup EngageRocket closes S$450k angel round

Visual from EngageRocket Facebook page.

Singapore-based EngageRocket, a venture which applies workplace analytics to improve talent retention and productivity, said it has secured S$450,000 ($322,422) from investors in an angel round. 

Founded by ex-consultants Leong Chee Tung and Dorothy Yiu, this funding comes at a time when employees based in the city-state are found to be the least engaged in Asia. Funds raised in this angel round will accelerate product development and allow scaling of operations to meet strong local demand, the company said. 

“Creating an environment at work that engages staff contributes significantly to revenue and profit growth, improves talent retention by 59% and productivity by 21%. The problem is, most companies don’t have the data systems in place to understand how to do this reliably,” said Leong Chee Tung, Co-founder and CEO of EngageRocket.

“The most progressive companies in the world like Google and Amazon have already made the shift to more frequent, shorter employee surveys, allowing management to calibrate behaviours and programmes with staff feedback in a more agile, responsive way. EngageRocket makes this analysis available for any company,” he added. 

The company’s cloud-based software analyses feedback from employee surveys in real-time to advise leaders on building and maintaining the organisational culture, as well automating survey administration, analysis, and the resultant generation of advice to management.

A 2016 report by Deloitte had identified the market size of feedback tools to be up to $300 million, with an annual growth rate of 100 per cent per annum.  

Huang Shao-Ning, co-founder of JobsCentral Group and an investor in EngageRocket, said, “As a business owner, I believe timely employee engagement data is key to high performing teams. Imagine managers being able to measure the morale of their teams on a real-time basis and addressing issues as they come up! EngageRocket founders, Chee Tung and Dorothy, have the right combination of domain knowledge, industry insights and technical know-how to offer such a solution.”

The MD and co-founder of JobsCentral, whose professional background is rooted in general corporate HR functions, told this portal in an email exchange: “I have 16 angel investments in my family angel/PE portfolio. We have been angel investing since 2009. I would think all angel investments hold a similar level of risks (ie. very high!); one should invest in what one understands. So for me, investing in a cafe would be deemed riskier than HRtech as I know nothing about the food retail business.”

She adds, “The reason for my husband and me to be involved in angel investment is our pay it forward, to help the new generation entrepreneurs via sharing our own start-up experiences/industry knowledge.” 

In an email interaction with DEALSTREETASIA, Leong said the venture was already present in several markets in Southeast Asia, and intended to expand to other Asian markets within the next 18-24 months. 

Asked about the types of engagement they encountered in Singapore and the ASEAN region, Leong said: “The largest proportion of our working population probably lies between the ‘Drifter’ and ‘Underachiever’ categories. Gallup’s data shows that 76% of our workforce are ‘disengaged’, generally having ‘neutral’ behaviours and ‘indifferent’ to ‘positive’ perceptions of their job. Such perceptions may stem from the relatively high pay or prestige that comes with some PMET roles, which don’t necessarily translate into more positive behaviours.”

Leong added that it was the corporate vision to “encompass all types of employee feedback and analytics throughout the lifecycle in a company to support data-driven management decisions,” ranging from helping teams with change management to assisting companies in employee onboarding through analysing targeted feedback.

Asked about their exit strategy, Leong said, “We believe that if we build something uniquely valuable, serving our customers well and helping them be successful, and manage the company robustly through our growth, the financials and nature of our exit will take care of itself. Our focus has been and will always be delivering disproportionately high value in the marketplace.”

Huang further adds, I foresee holding onto the position until they get to their series A or beyond, so that should be some 4 to 5 years. As in what kind of exit, I would leave that to the founders. I play a support role as an investor; whatever key decisions they have to make, my job is to share the pro and con views. The final decision is theirs. Angels or even VCs should not be the one dictating how the business should be run.” 

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