Controversial Zenefits founder launches new HR startup with $7M in funding

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A year after giving up the reins at Zenefits Inc. amid concerns over his conduct as chief executive officer, Conrad Parker is taking another shot at disrupting human resources software.

The entrepreneur, who helped establish his previous company as one of the top players in this market, on Tuesday launched a new startup that aims to ease worker management. Operating under the name Rippling, Conrad’s team has developed a cloud-based platform designed to help firms streamline the task of hiring and dismissing employees. The service accomplishes that by automating the dozens of small chores involved in the process.

During the initial onboarding stage, Rippling can assemble the various documents that are needed to make a hire official and send them to the relevant parties for signing. The platform will then automatically assign the new worker access to all the internal services they require for their work. According to its website, the service can set up accounts in Salesforce.com, Slack, Box and several other popular cloud-based tools. Rippling can also take care of hardware procurement.

More specifically, the service enables managers to order a computer for every new employee under a rental scheme that provides the option to upgrade every two years. Once everything has been set up, Rippling makes it possible to handle maintenance operations in a web-based console that covers both the hardware and services configured through its service. The main focus of the console is to help enforce security policies, which also come up when an employee leaves a company.

Organizations need to ensure that former staffers don’t retain access to the various internal assets they’ve used as part of their work. To address the challenge, Rippling includes an automatic termination feature that can disable an employee’s login credentials and take care of the paperwork in one fell swoop.

Conrad resigned from Zenefits about a year ago after the company ran into problems, overestimating sales projections and failing to get broker licenses properly for some employees. Some fellow entrepreneurs and others questioned investors’ willingness to back him again. “Top-down culture of breaking laws. Lipstick-on-pig product. Bad workplace. False hype to investors,” angel investor Ted Rheingold, onetime founder and chief executive of Dogster Inc., tweeted today.

Despite the controversial history of its founder, the startup has managed to attract an extraordinary amount of investor interest. Conrad told Reuters that his team received $7 million in the run-up to this week’s launch from about two dozen investors, 20 of which also backed Zenefits. The providers offer several common features that may eventually lead them to compete with one another in some areas.

Image: Rippling