Throughout the world, the power of data analysis is transforming the ways that people and companies do business. Quick, reliable access to the most important metrics affecting competitiveness and performance contributes to deeper insights, sounder decisions, more impactful results and, ultimately, enhanced bottom lines.
In recent years, that transformation has been most apparent in sales and marketing functions. In those areas, increasing proficiency in using email, social media and online platforms and activities has been the key factor in helping companies track, expand and extend customer “life cycles.” The pace of change has been slower in another critical area of operations, as human resources departments by and large have not moved with the same sense of urgency in using data to track performance and leverage trends and opportunities — which is where Employee Cycle, the HR analytics dashboard, comes in.
“Our mission is to make HR smarter and more data-driven,” declares Bruce Marable, co-founder and CEO of the Philadelphia-based startup. Marable says that, by providing a web-based analytics dashboard that empowers human resources teams to view, track and analyze employee data in real time, Employee Cycle is “elevating the data maturity and sophistication” of HR departments in ways that help companies “tell a better story” about themselves and their employees.
“HR departments have been struggling to strategically leverage data,” says Marable. “In starting our company, we found that, even while other departments have used data to transform their operations and results, HR has continued to do their job in the old-fashioned, manual way, with primarily with messy spreadsheets. They typically spend 90 percent of their time managing data and only 10 percent analyzing it. We’re helping them automate and flip that process, so they can spend virtually 100 percent of their time analyzing the data across the entire employee life cycle.”
A native of Philadelphia, Marable got his start as a technology entrepreneur while earning his degree in communications studies at Pennsylvania’s West Chester University. He recalls that the company “failed gloriously, but the experience taught me that I had the passion and the stomach” to succeed as a tech founder. After graduating, he co-founded a web design and app development company, and then moved on to co-found a recruitment software startup. That company got some early traction in a highly competitive field and eventually was acquired and merged with an employee onboarding software firm. That experience with HR leaders led to the development of Employee Cycle.
“I kept hearing the same problem from the HR leaders I was interacting with,” Marable says. “They had this real sense of urgency about getting better at using data to make decisions, but they lacked data visualization and analysis skills, while having the problem of dealing with multiple disconnected HR systems.
“I did a lot of research and realized that this was a wide-open market,” Marable continues. “I also found the perfect technical co-founder, who shared my belief that HR should be the most data-driven department in any company that wants to succeed on a large scale.”
With fellow founder and Chief Technology Officer Salas Saraiya, Marable developed a solid customer base and now is completing a $500,000 pre-seed investment round for Employee Cycle. Based on feedback from early customers, the next version of the company’s product will launch in early fall 2019.
Among the early investors in Employee Cycle is Bronze Valley. Marable was introduced to Bronze Valley CEO Neill Wright by a friend, and while he readily admits that Alabama “would have been one of the last places we would have proactively looked” for capital, he says Wright’s explanation of Bronze Valley’s mission — along with Marable’s knowledge of Shipt, the Birmingham-based grocery delivery platform acquired by Target for $550 million — made it a natural fit.
“It’s a brilliant way to support the ecosystem,” Marable says of Bronze Valley’s approach. “The approach is very forward-thinking. It’s one thing to invest in companies, but Bronze Valley provides support, advice and connections that take that to a different level.”