Their relationship, incubated as they crossed paths along the Toronto-Waterloo tech corridor, began long before they sat down for coffee last April, but Caitlin MacGregor says it was conversation over java brewed at Balzac’s, the coffee shop housed in the Lang Tannery building, that got the ball rolling properly.
That was when MacGregor, the CEO of Waterloo-based tech scaleup Plum, and Janet Bannister, Partner at Toronto venture capital firm Real Ventures, roughed out the plan that would lead to Plum completing a US$4.2-million raise led by Real Ventures.
“Basically, from that first coffee, from that point on, we fit very well,” MacGregor.
It was there, MacGregor said, that she was able to explain to Bannister that “Plum had completely evolved from being a recruitment company.”
Real Ventures, MacGregor said, was looking to invest in companies “making a difference in the lives of people.” Plum, which got its start helping companies find and hire the right employees, had transformed into one that was focused on enterprise business and what the company calls “the full talent-management lifecycle,” including hiring, talent mobility, learning and development and identifying emerging leaders. It was a shift which positioned it to partner with SAP, the German multinational software company. Plum’s app integrates with SAPs SuccessFactors Recruiting product, part of its human capital management suite.
“Real Ventures has a real commitment right now to make sure that they’re thinking about the impact on people with the future of work and the disruption of jobs,” said MacGregor. “They’re looking to invest in companies that are making a difference in the lives of people and they saw that in Plum and so once we met, everything took off and it was a pretty fast process.”
Plum has 21 employees and MacGregor said the infusion of money will help it rapidly expand. The goal is to double its Waterloo workforce within the next 12 months.
The money will also allow Plum to grow its enterprise presence and its SAP partnership.
“Over the next decade, people will need to be assigned and trained for new jobs on a scale that has never been seen,” said Bannister in a release. “McKinsey claims that 400 to 800 million jobs will disappear due to automation in the next 15 years. At the same time, 85 per cent of jobs that will exist in 2030 do not exist today.
“Plum is the only provider of scientifically-validated, predictive data that can scale to get every person in the right job for the future of work – which is why we believe that Plum is poised to not only be a huge company, but also make a significant, positive impact on millions of lives.”
Plum, which has now raised a total of US$6.1 million, got its start 7 ½ years ago, and was part of Communitech’s former Hyperdrive accelerator program back in 2013. Coincidentally, Bannister is a member of Communitech’s board of directors.
MacGregor acknowledged the role played by their common involvement in Waterloo Region and the Toronto tech ecosystem in fostering the basis of a relationship that led to the raise.
“Absolutely,” said MacGregor. “[Janet] has worked to unite the [Toronto-Waterloo technology corridor] and I’ve worked to be in Toronto and Waterloo.
“Waterloo is my home and my main office and that has meant that we’ve had lots of interactions to really build a relationship of trust over the years. And so it’s a combination of that building [process] and that relationship, and then having the right product for the right time for the right thesis.”
Communitech is a partner of Startup HERE Toronto. This article originally appeared on their site.