Rippling's Strategic Capital Raise and its Impact on Future Growth and Competition

Explore Rippling's strategic capital raise and its potential impacts on growth, competition with Deel & Gusto, and why an IPO might be delayed, in OutSail's latest HR Tech analysis.

Brett Ungashick
OutSail HRIS Advisor
April 17, 2024
rippling giving investor update

Rippling, a leading HR technology platform, has recently made headlines with its plans to secure a new round of funding that would significantly raise its valuation to $13.4 billion, up from $11.25 billion just a year ago. This move not only underscores the company’s robust growth trajectory but also signals a strategic shift that may affect its competitive stance in the HR tech space and its approach to a potential initial public offering (IPO).

Capital Infusion and Expansion Strategy

Rippling’s rumored capital raise consists of $200 million in direct funding alongside $670 million in secondary sales, allowing long-time employees and early investors to cash in some of their equity. This infusion is crucial as Rippling continues to scale up its operations and product offerings. Traditionally known for its employee onboarding and HR management solutions, Rippling has expanded to include comprehensive workforce management features, such as global payroll services, benefits management, and IT infrastructure​ (TechCrunch)​.

The expansion into these new areas not only diversifies Rippling’s revenue streams but also enhances its value proposition to existing and potential customers. By integrating more services into its platform, Rippling is positioning itself as a one-stop-shop for HR services, increasing its stickiness with customers and its competitive edge against rivals like Deel and Gusto.

Competitive Landscape and Market Positioning

Rippling's move comes at a time when competition in the HR tech space is intensifying. Deel has carved out a niche in handling payroll and compliance for international remote teams, while Gusto has been expanding its suite of employee benefit solutions alongside its payroll services. Each company is racing to provide more comprehensive solutions that can address the broad spectrum of HR needs in a rapidly evolving workplace environment.

With this new funding, Rippling is likely to accelerate its product development and geographic expansion to counter these threats. Enhanced financial flexibility could enable more aggressive marketing and sales tactics, or even fuel mergers and acquisitions that could bring new capabilities or rapidly increase market share.

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Implications for an IPO

The significant component of secondary sales in this funding round suggests that Rippling is providing liquidity options to its stakeholders, a move often seen in companies preparing for an IPO but not necessarily rushing into one. This strategy allows long-time employees and early investors to realize gains on their investment without the company needing to go public immediately. Such financial moves could indicate that Rippling’s management is looking to stabilize its capital structure and shareholder base in preparation for an eventual IPO, but perhaps not in the immediate future.

Allowing stakeholders to cash in now also relieves some of the pressure for a public offering as a liquidity event, potentially enabling Rippling to choose a more opportune time for an IPO, away from current market volatilities. It reflects a thoughtful approach to growth, balancing stakeholder satisfaction with strategic financial planning.

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Long-Term Outlook and Strategic Analysis

Rippling's approach to raising capital, particularly through significant secondary sales, may be viewed as a strategic maneuver to strengthen its balance sheet and align its long-term goals with the interests of its stakeholders. As Rippling continues to evolve and possibly absorb more market share, the delay in pursuing an IPO could serve it well, offering more control as it scales and fine-tunes its operations without the immediate scrutiny that comes with being a public company.

Moreover, the capital raise and the company’s strategic initiatives could be a harbinger of further consolidation in the HR tech sector. As companies like Rippling continue to round out their service offerings, smaller players may find it increasingly challenging to compete, potentially leading to acquisitions or mergers.

In conclusion, Rippling’s latest moves are not just about funding; they are about setting a stage for future growth, competitive repositioning, and a strategic pathway towards an IPO that aligns with the company’s evolving business model and market dynamics. While the competition with firms like Deel and Gusto heats up, Rippling's broadened capabilities and strengthened financial foundation place it in a good position to emerge as a leader in the comprehensive HR solutions market.

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Meet the Author

Brett Ungashick
OutSail HRIS Advisor
Brett Ungashick, the friendly face behind OutSail, started his career at LinkedIn, selling HR software. This experience sparked an idea, leading him to create OutSail in 2018. Based in Denver, OutSail simplifies the HR software selection process, and Brett's hands-on approach has already helped over 1,000 companies, including SalesLoft, Hudl and DoorDash. He's a go-to guy for all things HR Tech, supporting companies in every industry and across 20+ countries. When he's not demystifying HR tech, you'll find Brett enjoying a round of golf or skiing down Colorado's slopes, always happy to chat about work or play.

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