Nearly 15 years ago I stumbled into the world of “HR Tech.” I was newly married and decided to uproot my life in Silicon Valley and embark on a new adventure in Boston to research and analyze technology companies. I quickly gravitated towards the emerging “HR Tech” space and was excited to learn everything I could about this rapidly growing market.
I worked my way into every analyst day and vendor conference that I could. I listened to HR practitioners, consultants and virtually anyone I thought knew anything about HR Tech. Eventually, I worked my way on to Bill Kutik’s infamous analyst panel at the HR Tech conference. I tried to be the first guy at the welcome reception and the last guy to depart an event. Over time, I managed to meet some pretty amazing and wildly successful entrepreneurs. I was introduced to Lars Dalgaard when SuccessFactors was a mere 30 employees operating out of their investors’ office. I got to witness Dave and Mike Duffield unveil Workday at a launch event in Boston and got a briefing in my dining room from Adam Miller when Cornerstone OnDemand was bootstrapping its way to success.
My journey went into overdrive nearly 8 years ago when I joined Adam at Cornerstone OnDemand to learn what it really takes to build enterprise-class cloud software and collaborate with a world-class executive team. The journey evolved from a newly public company with $50M in revenue in 2011 to over $500 million in annual recurring revenue (ARR) last year.
I’ve always desired to launch my own entrepreneurial journey but timing, fate and loyalty prevented me from making the leap. As Cornerstone started its journey from a growth company to a value company last year, the window of opportunity opened and I decided to kick-start a new journey into entrepreneurship. Unlike many tech entrepreneurs destine to change the world or build the next unicorn company, my ambitions are much more simple: 1) to advise companies and spearhead change in the industry, 2) to invest in the next generation of companies focused on a more broadly defined category of “WorkTech” and 3) to give back and and fund some of the most important philanthropic initiatives impacting how work impacts our economy.
Late last year, I created The Acadian Company, the first step in starting my business. Today, I’m excited to announce the launch of Acadian Advisory, the next step in my journey of entrepreneurship. Acadian Advisory is designed to be a playbook of sorts. You often hear that many late stage, private equity investors insert their “playbook” immediately after making an acquisition or investment. Unfortunately, most earlier-stage, venture-funded companies are on a journey of their own without support, guidance, and knowledge of the industry.
I believe success in the HRTech and WorkTech market requires industry insight combined with specialization. I want to help founders, teams, and investors better understand the confluences in the market to better guide their product initiatives, go-to-market plans, and more broadly, their organic and inorganic growth strategy. By leveraging content and insights in a more consumable and structured way — similar to how we learn — I believe we can guide the next generation of companies and help accelerate their vision. That is why Acadian Advisory has been structured as a learning experience. I encourage you to visit us at www.acadianadvisory.com and let me know what you think by sending me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Don’t forget to sign up for our new weekly newsletter, too!
(Cross-posted @ Arcadian Insights - Jason Corsello)