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3 Takeaways From the HR Tech Conference Pitchfest


Guest blog by Shannon Flynn, Managing Editor with ReHack.

This year’s 2021 Pitchfest competition made headway at the HR Technology Conference & Exposition with a list of 33 excitingly new startups competing for $30,000 in cash prizes. The competition took place at the Expo Hall during the HR Tech Conference at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas.

Randstad Innovation Fund is responsible for the prize money donation alongside the extra booth space they will provide at next year’s HR conference. The judges of this year’s Pitchfest competition — Joanne Estrada, Chris Hayrilla, and George LaRocque — grilled each startup as they competed through several rounds of pitches for solutions in health insurance, salary benefits, and more.

Here are the key takeaways from the HR Tech pitchfest:

1. Leadership, Equality, and Teamwork Should Have an Active Presence in the Workplace

Abby Wambach, a professional women’s soccer player, speaker, and activist, shared her message at the HR Tech Conference about the struggles of inequality and inclusion in the workplace.

She noted that women of the workforce, especially women of color, are making less than men and how it’s imperative to understand that there are costs to not just the money but also their freedom. She also mentioned that only 5% of women are in CEO positions around the country.

HR is working around these issues to make equality and inclusivity a reality for everyone in the workforce. With the use of technology, HR employees can make their organization a better place for everyone.

2. HR Technology Continues to Promote Growth and Innovation

Many challenges remain for organizations in regard to hiring and recruiting employees. At the HR Tech Conference, Josh Bersin, a global industry analyst, delivered his message about the significant shifts HR technology makes to increase employee retention rates. Companies are now using new tech solutions to support the challenges they face with employee application overload.

Organizations are starting to think differently in the way they recruit new employees. They should no longer care for the traditional methods they use to hire and teach employees new skills. What his message indicates is that companies shouldn’t care about what job level they’re at. When hiring internal employees, organizations should start using a skills app to understand what they can do and want to do in life.

Josh Bersin also notes that employers can find new opportunities if they invest in better technology and strategize more effectively when considering the marketplace for internal talent.

3. Employers Face Challenges in Bringing Women Back Into the Workforce

Close to half a million women and men exited the workforce during the pandemic earlier this year. The speakers of Women in HR Tech Summit present the realities that the pandemic has brought down on the U.S. economy, including a total loss of 3 million women workers and $800 billion in income.

However, technology is playing a prominent role in how employers are recruiting women into the workforce. Employers are looking for ways to actively solve this issue by exploring fairness in pay, childcare access, and mental health support. As employers actively move forward with changes in technology, AI (Artificial Intelligence) will introduce a strategy to reduce unfairness and surround a focus on rebuilding the workforce in recruiting more women.

What Makes Pitchfest Significant to the HR Tech Community?

The competition allows startups to pitch their solutions within only a few minutes for each round, making this event a thrilling experience. After the startups make a presentation, the judges, also experts of the HR tech space, ask a series of questions to the entrepreneurs. After they finish their presentations, the judges look over the content, the deliverables, and how quickly they answer the judges’ questions.

Overall, the Pitchfest competition is a powerful contribution to the innovative technology in the HR tech community. The members who attend the HR conference are the first to look at the latest technological developments and provide an overview of the challenges that present themselves in the HR industry from the tech experts of the community.

The Pitchfest itself is influential for anyone who works in HR and allows each member to achieve new developments in terms of growth.

The Foundation of the Competition

Each competition displays rounds of three-minute presentations for each competitor, followed by two minutes for the judges to ask questions. The judging panel represents 70% of their overall score, allowing conference members to vote at the end of the competition. The remaining 30% of the scoring pertained to the members’ votes.

The HR tech conference split participants into three groups, which allowed them to pitch their startup and provide solutions to the judges’ questions. After judges placed their scores and the audience voted, the overall score determined which six of the competitors would reach the final round of the competition.

The List of Startups Chosen to Compete at Pitchfest

The first-place winners received a generous cash prize of $25,000 and a seat at next year’s expo, while the company that placed second received a $5,000 Talent Experience prize. The 33 startups of this year’s 2021 Pitchfest listed the following participants:

  • MyExcelia
  • Cauldron
  • NoahFace
  • centralF
  • One Donation
  • Charthop
  • Onwards HR
  • Clovers AI
  • Phoenix Technology Systems
  • Compa
  • Pointers
  • Culturora
  • PTO Genius
  • Edammo, Inc.
  • Public Insight
  • Equality AI
  • Sciolytix
  • GraceBlocks
  • Sentinel Pay Analytics
  • ICC
  • Shaka Culture Application
  • Included
  • Stayhome Inc.
  • Insurights
  • STEERus
  • INTalent
  • Translator, Inc.
  • InternConnect
  • Viveka
  • Learn In
  • Workrowd
  • MeBeBot

Winners of the HR Tech Conference

The winner in the 2021 competition at Pitchfest was Onwards HR, a female-owned tech company assisting HR reps in the automation of employee departures. They contribute to effective operations associated with the overall experience concerning employee exits. After the final round, Pitchfest awarded Onwards HR a $25,000 check and booth space for next year’s HR conference.

Sciolytix, a software startup that offers simulations for aligning sales performance, took second place in the competition. Pitchfest awarded Sciolytix with a $5,000 Talent Experience prize.

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