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Investing in Lever and the Future of Work

26th April 2022

Mia Hegazy, Principal at Apax Digital, considers the rapidly shifting dynamics of the global workforce, the challenges facing businesses in the hiring process, and the subsequent drivers behind the Apax Digital Funds’ (“ADF”) investment in Lever.

In the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, the Apax Digital team took a thematic deep-dive into the impact of the pandemic on the adoption of digital technologies by small and medium sized businesses (“SMBs”), concluding that technology focused on helping to track, operate and grow businesses will experience significant growth over the medium-term.

As part of this SMB digitization thesis, we considered solutions that help leaders run their businesses. Hiring is a key component of running a business, with labor representing one of the largest expenses for companies.

In the past couple of years, several factors converged to make hiring one of the most important challenges for leaders:

  • Ongoing labor shortage with unemployment rolls shrinking to lowest level in 52 years
  • Organizations reconsidered their approach to work (e.g., work from home, hybrid, or in office)
  • Employees reconsidered what they want from a job, triggering the Great Resignation or Great Reshuffle (in 2021, the number of domestic LinkedIn members who changed jobs rose 40% from the prior year)
  • Record-high venture funding, enabling employers to compete on salary, benefits and perks
  • Evolving skillsets required new approaches to identifying, assessing and recruiting talent

According to a PricewaterhouseCooper’s US Pulse Survey, 65% of workers nationwide say they are seeking new employment. These jobseekers are motivated by practical considerations such as compensation and benefits, as well as personal fulfilment through identifying with a company’s mission or a role that provides empowerment and growth. Companies and employees alike seek diverse workforces, and employers are re-evaluating their systems and processes to reduce bias and attract diverse talent to strengthen their teams.

As newer generations of workers become more accustomed to flexibility, professional autonomy, and self-employment, companies must engage over the longer term. Employers need to consistently nurture talent prospects to build a relationship and be top of mind for a candidate’s eventual job change.

Given the pressure on companies from the competitive hiring environment and evolving considerations for employees, ADF sought a solution that empowers recruiters to find and nurture talent while offering the table stakes: best-in-class, intuitive, efficient applicant tracking workflow. For employers, establishing their brand has never been more important with 89% of passive candidates evaluating employer brands before applying and 76% of jobseekers reporting that diversity is an important factor when evaluating job offers.

Through our work in this space, we connected with Nate Smith, CEO and co-founder of Lever, a leading talent acquisition suite, and in November, funds advised by Apax Digital led a $50 million Series D investment.

Lever is a leading talent acquisition suite that addresses these critical pain points for employers. Lever offers a complete applicant tracking platform and candidate relationship management capabilities in a single native platform, empowering talent leaders to build their brand, nurture talent relationships, make efficient and impactful hires, and scale their hiring strategies. ADF shares Lever’s vision of enabling every company to connect human potential to meaningful work.

We are in the early days of the investment and are excited about the future for Lever, the talented team who works there (known as Leveroos) and the clients they serve. In recognition of the company’s success, Lever was included in the inaugural SMBTech 50 List, the first list to recognize the growth and potential of startups that serve small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs). ADF continues to seek opportunities to invest in the future of work, across several subsectors including diversity, equity and inclusion solutions, deskless worker training and development, non-traditional benefits, and employee culture management.