Rippling: Replacing Paperwork With Software on a Highest Level
Those who run a company know it has a lot of manual administrative work. It takes hours to onboard new employees, and there’s much work connected to organization chart changes or sending out annual reminders, resulting in a mountain of paperwork.
That’s where Rippling comes in!
The company’s mission is to create a single system for employee information that companies can plug in and play right into. The tandem that made Rippling possible is made of two creative guys, Parker Conrad and Prasanna Sankar.
Check their story to see how they used their innovative skills and grew a billion-dollar company.
Early Life and Passions
Parker Conrad grew up in the upper east side of New York City. When he was 12 years old, he was an understudy for Colin Craven in “The Secret Garden” on Broadway. Things changed over time as Parker developed a passion for becoming a scientist once he went to high school.
He eventually got a job working for a lab up at Columbia. The lab was studying sea slugs, particularly neurological development, and how the process of learning and memory was unrolling.
He was then placed on one of the top projects in the national science competition Westinghouse Science Talent Search. He got in by applying, ending in third place, and getting a scholarship. The 70 hours a week he put into his paper made him realize he wanted to work on startups.
Much like Parker, Prasanna Sankar wasn’t a great student either. His love for software began when he got his first PC from his parents. He played video games all day long, but once Prasanna discovered people code those things, the computer he had became much more interesting than the video games he used to play.
The first thing he ever created after learning about coding is an embarrassment of a virus, as he says. He put the virus on a copied CD of a game he lent his friend.
The so-called virus showed a picture of Rajinikanth and a 5-minute countdown. His friend had to write an email to firstname.lastname@example.org for the antivirus. The joke, although untasty, paved the way for Prasanna to what he has achieved today.
Parker Conrad started his professional career in a company called Amgen Ventures. He held a Product Manager position from 2003 to 2006, when he left the company to pursue better opportunities. In January 2011, he got a higher position, President and Head of Product, in SigFig, a financial services firm.
His career kept on growing as, in 2012, he became Chief Executive Officer at Zenefits. Zenefits is a cloud human resources software provider. However, several years later, the company faced a scandal. Namely, BuzzFeed learned employees at Zenefits were not properly licensed to sell insurance, which is why Parker stepped down, and David Sacks took his position as CEO.
Prasanna got a more professional taste of what his career will be when his teacher signed him up for the IOI (International Olympiad in Informatics). When he was in college, Google launched a huge Indian event called Code Jam.
He signed up for it, and even though he didn’t know much about algorithms, he managed to qualify in the final, in which he did poorly. Later on, this event was launched on a global level, so after several months of living in his head and constantly thinking about algorithms and computer science-related topics, Prasanna got another chance.
During the event, he got ranked number one in India. Eventually, during his second/third year of college, he moved to the US as he got his dream job working at Google. Once Microsoft offered him more money, he grabbed the opportunity and stayed there for a year and a half.
Although satisfied with his current position, he quickly realized that he needed something more. So, he left Microsoft and managed to develop an app that both Google and Facebook wanted to purchase. Unfortunately, none of that happened as the app crashed very soon.
The Beginning of Rippling
Rippling was founded in 2016. This company’s platform allows for one-click hiring, payroll, benefits, training, and much more. When it comes to joining ideas, skills, and implementing a good team for Rippling, Parker and Prasanna had an advantage as they were both working at Zenefits.
This is how these two ambitious people came to join forces and create a new product on the market. They both took their previous failed projects and worked to improve this one in all places they missed before.
But entering the market as a startup is always hard, and Prasanna and Parker saw this from many aspects. Although they were aiming to put competitors in the shadows, these two had a hard time finding customers for Rippling. As Prasanna said, “People would rather pay to use other already established companies offering the same services rather than use Rippling for free.”
However, one of the biggest risks, in Parker’s and Prasanna’s minds, was how big the minimum viable product would be. This was followed by another hardship - the struggle of getting funds as, at that time, no investor wanted to put their money into a startup with employees without health insurance. The battle was a steep uphill, but eventually, they managed to overcome it.
Rippling currently uses around 85 tech products, including HTML5 and Google Analytics. This only proves that the company invests in itself with the intention to enhance its services and create an even better end product for its customers.
Funds to Fuel the Company
Rippling managed to acquire $697 million in 5 rounds of funding with 36 investors, where 5 investors stood out. The first cash fuel in 2017, i.e., the seed round, reached $7 million, with Initialized Capital being the lead investor. This was also the round where the company had the biggest number of investors - 25.
Kleiner Perkins rose up the bar as this venture capital firm invested $45 million on Apr 3, 2019, in the Series A round. Next up was Series B, when Founders Fund invested $145 million on Aug 4, 2020. On Oct 21, 2021, during Series C, Rippling raised $250 million more thanks to Sequoia Capital Global Equities.
The exact same amount was given by Bedrock Capital and Kleiner Perkins almost half a year later, on May 11, 2022, in the final Series D funding.
These funds enable Rippling to continue its work and employ more people. Today there are close to 5,000 employees, with Parker being the co-founder and CEO, together with Prasanna, the other co-founder and CTO.
Future Plans for Rippling
Rippling has stationed its headquarters in San Francisco, California.
HR and the payroll software are unappealing areas because of the complexity they hold. However, the total amount of this market is expected to be $35 billion in the next 6 years. With such big numbers, many are striving to get a piece of it, and Rippling’s future is based on the same idea.
According to Parker Conrad and Prasanna Sankar, Rippling users have yet to see the best of this company as they have a few more aces up their sleeves. It is for us to wait and see how it will transform.
Be sure that if the hiring and adding of new employees to a company’s system goes under any changes, Rippling will surely know as it is working at the same pace the industry dictates.