New Zealand startup Joyous, led by HR tech industry veteran Michael Carden, has raised a $4 million Seed round for its employee feedback app. Carden was quoted in SmartCompany saying “Employee experience is a fashionable term, but it’s quite possibly just a whole new way to disappoint employees.” “What you really need to do is you need to give employees a voice … let them shape the experience they want at work.”
Joyous joins a crowded field of feedback and “listening” apps that intend to give employees a voice while innovating employee experience. This competitive field includes startups, best-of-breeds, and large established platform players. It’s not the first time Carden has entered a crowded sub-category in HR tech. Carden was the founder of Sonar6, which was one of the earliest innovators of new models for employee performance management. Sonar6 was acquired by CornestoneOnDemand in 2012. The HR technology landscape has changed dramatically since those days, with increasing amounts of private equity and venture capital investment globally, along with increasing R&D budgets in the “platform players.” All fueling innovation areas like employee experience.
Sonar6 broke out in the market driven by “guerrilla marketing” tactics and provocative and witty messaging. Will Joyous run the same playbook? Whatever the case, it will be fun to watch.