Papaya Global now the fourth company to join Group 11's growing stable of unicorns

By Devon Morris, Partner, Group 11 and the Group 11 Team

Less than a year after Group 11’s initial investment, and only five months since the company’s Series B led by Scale Venture Partners, we are pleased to announce that Papaya Global has completed a $100MM Series C round led by Greenoaks Capital, with participation with Group 11 and existing investors. This raise values the company at $1.1BN and adds Papaya to the Global List of Tech Unicorns, making it the fourth in Group 11’s continuously-growing stable of unicorns.

Greenoaks Capital will join existing Papaya investors: Scale Venture Partners, Insight Venture Partners, New Era Capital Partners, Dynamic Loop Ventures, Bessemer Ventures, Workday Ventures, and Access Industries. In addition, Greenoaks will join Papaya’s Board of Directors along with Group 11 and other investors. We are excited to have a reputable growth investor like Greenoaks Capital accompany us on this journey with Papaya.

So why are we investing more into Papaya so soon after its Series B? It is because Papaya has proven, throughout the COVID-19 crisis, that its team and product are perfectly positioned to continuously meet the changes and challenges that affect the global payroll. To the extent that the company has grown its customer base and revenues over 160% this year, and many of its new customers are inbound.

Papaya Global’s global teams

At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, nobody could have accurately predicted how much the global workplace would fundamentally change. But once we were a few months in, it became apparent that there was a complete paradigm shift taking place in how businesses operate in a global market and manage their offices and employees. Halfway into 2020, the back-office suddenly had to be streamlined and automated and it had to happen as soon as possible. A decentralized workplace, especially for a global company, had to be connected in the best way it could in a remote world: digitally. As stated in Group 11’s Fintech’s Quantum Leap article, “One aspect of the post-COVID landscape people seem to under-appreciate is precisely how deeply digitization will have seeped into all operations. Before COVID hit, automation was a nice-to-have; business owners would get around to when they had the time. Everyone knew it was coming, but it could come tomorrow. With COVID, automation suddenly became what you do to stay viable.”

This is where we find ourselves at the beginning of 2021. Globally-minded companies need to digitize processes as much as possible to stay afloat and competitive; there is no alternative. Even as mandated shelter in place and work from home orders are being lifted in many geographies, and vaccines are becoming more accessible, it is clear the workplace and workforce will not return to how it was pre-COVID. A decentralized workforce is the new normal and a streamlined, digital back-office is mandatory. Globally-minded businesses that can properly manage this new normal, and utilize software, automation, or any process to make Human Resources and operations more efficient, will easily surpass those that do not adapt. Papaya Global’s HR platform facilitates this necessary digitization of the back-office to help those global companies stay ahead.

Papaya Global’s Human Resource Management System (‘HRIS’) platform fits this market need, and is properly positioned to address this new shift and new normal for businesses’ back-office, payroll, and HR needs. Stated simply and best by Papaya’s executive team: “Our mission is to help your company grow. Our passion is automation. Our platform makes it happen.” Based on their 2020 growth, and continued strong inbound interest from the market, it seems obvious to Group 11 that investing more into Papaya to provide them with the additional capital to further build out their platform and increase market share is a sound and timely decision.

In Group 11’s Medium post in September 2020, we wrote, “every company is now fixated on improving its operating margins in tighter times. Every globally-minded company must transform its business with digital offerings and Robotic Process Automation (‘RPA’) solutions especially in its HR department, and Papaya Global’s platform is leading this transformation.” We see it, Papaya sees it, the market sees it, and large growth investors like Greenoaks Capital see it. Group 11 is excited to have Greenoaks join Papaya’s existing investors and we look forward to watching Papaya continue its market leadership in global payroll, human resources, and PEO management.

Congratulations to everyone in the Papaya Global family!