Local tech firm Emplify lands $7.5 million in venture capital

Emplify Inc., a Fishers-based software-as-a-service firm, has secured $7.5 million in venture capital, the company announced Monday.

It’s the first round of growth capital secured by the company, which focuses on human resources-related products. Company founders Santiago Jaramillo and Adam Weber will retain ownership stakes in the company and continue to lead its operations.

The round of funding was led by growth equity investor Princeton, New Jersey-based Edison Partners. Other investors include Carmel-based Allos Ventures, St. Louis-based Cultivation Capital and former Aprimo co-founder and CEO Bill Godfrey.

The capital will be used for continued development of Emplify’s SaaS-based employee-engagement products and to accelerate market adoption through a new partnership program, Jaramillo said.

Emplify, founded in 2016, has 65 employees—64 at its downtown Fishers office—and Jaramillo predicts at least doubling the company’s workforce in the next 18 months. The company is hiring a digital marketing manager, sales representatives and customer service employees, Jaramillo told IBJ.

The company declined to disclose revenue figures. It has added more than 200 brands to its customer portfolio in the last 18 months, according to company officials.

Due to favorable market forces, Jaramillo said Emplify has “ramped up” four times faster than the previous tech company he founded, Bluebridge Digital Inc.

Bluebridge, founded in 2011, sold two subsidiaries for $8 million to focus its attention on employee-engagement app service Emplify—which became the new company's name. Jaramillo said proceeds from that sale have funded Emplify thus far.

Emplify is in demand from clients such as Harley-Davidson, Crew Car Wash, Ivy Tech State College and Atlanta-based Terminus. 

Jaramillo said customers are attracted to products and services that measure employee engagement within a company, take the pulse of employees to hone in on the one or two their biggest issues, put corrective measures in place and re-measure employee engagement on a quarterly basis.

Emplify targets companies with “100 employees to many thousands of employees,” Jaramillo said. He added that the service is especially useful to companies with multiple offices and with employees who “are spread out and/or work remotely.”

Other consulting firms, services and online programs offer some of the same services as Emplify, but not as comprehensively, Jaramillo said.

“A body of research finally exists to support the hypothesis that employee engagement is the best leading indicator of business performance,” Ryan Ziegler, Edison Partners general partner, said in a written statement. “Emplify’s impressive customer growth is indicative of a broader trend; more dollars are flowing into employee engagement solutions to reduce turnover and improve results in an ever-changing and scarce talent market.”

Emplify differentiates itself from competitors such as Google Forms, Survey Monkey or Seattle-based Tiny Pulse, by offering “actionable data,” Jaramillo said.

“Employee engagement has traditionally been an abstract, nebulous area that leaders are unsure how to act on strategically,” Jaramillo said. “Impact-making executives have long suspected that popular gimmicks and ping pong tables aren't effective for driving engagement and performance. What companies need is a metric to understand how people are doing at work and clear action steps to improve that metric to help employees do the best work of their life.”

Emplify charges an annual subscription rate of $10,000 for a company with 50 to 100 employees. Jaramillo said his company can demonstrate a solid return on investment for clients.

“Research shows a disengaged workforce means lower productivity, higher burnout and more turnover,” Jaramillo said. “Recruiting, hiring and training a single employee can cost $10,000. We’re confident our clients will see a strong return.”

The company's new Emplify Partner Program is aimed at helping human capital management consulting firms attain, retain and grow their customer bases through advanced employee engagement diagnostics and analytics. HCMs can give clients better guidance by pinpointing their most effective areas of improvement, Jaramillo said. 

The program includes a number of leading HCM firms, including Westlake, Ohio-based CultureShoc; Verve Health and Purple Ink, both of Carmel; and Performant Solutions and Diverse Talent Strategies, both of Indianapolis.

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