Aiming to give SMEs tools to evolve and thrive, Parisian startup Simbel raises €4 million

French founding duo Loïc Jourdain and Charles Gras rolled up their respective track records in IT services marketplaces and HR tech to build a new portal for personal development tools.
Aiming to give SMEs tools to evolve and thrive, Parisian startup Simbel raises €4 million

Small businesses want a stake in the pie when it comes to the rapidly evolving objective of enriching employee personal development.

Many of these companies will have at most two or three staff members tasked with HR activities, leaving their efforts dwarfed by their larger peers.

But software that allows small companies to access best-in-business personal development tools is gaining ground.

Today, Parisian-born startup Simbel announces a €4 million seed raise for its SaaS marketplace stocked to the rafters with knowledge and skills-based employee content; in all, there's 500 downloadable tools, many of them integrating with existing HR and performance workflows.

That should leave small HR teams with more time and resources to "inspire" their teams, says Simbel's CEO and co-founder, Loïc Jourdain.

"The reality is that SMBs typically only have one or two people to manage all these activities and still run their L&D on Excel sheets,” Jourdain added.

Jourdain has been overseeing the software stack's development with co-founder Charles Gras, who has experience creating learning and development tools for both SMBs and larger corporates.

Meanwhile the CEO has a track record in building IT services marketplaces, stemming from his time heading business operations at another French startup, Stootie.

Today, Simbel is ending the beta experiment of its software product to officially on board SMBs across Europe, armed with a €4 million seed round.

Speedinvest co-leads the round continuing its string of deal-making announcements in recent weeks. Also co-leading is ed tech-focused investor Brighteye Ventures.

The seed round is filled out by some notable angels; namely eFounders visionary Thibaud Elziere, Figures co-founder Virgile Ringeart, Stupeflix co-founder Nicolas Steegmann, and Prestashop co-founder Alexandre Eruimy.

Product development is first on the Simbel check list. The team wants to make sure Simbel-equipped businesses have a time-efficient UX for matching the right employee to the right L&D module.

Like many HR tech business, Simbel will also be judged on its ability to win employees on board, and avoiding unpopular "check box" exercises that team members may see as being purely for show.

Speedinvest partner for marketplaces and consumer, Jeroen Arts, says 200,000 European SMBs are "historically underserved" by skills-building software products.

"To stay competitive in today's rapidly changing working environment, companies must make sure their employees have the up-to-date skills needed to perform their jobs well.

"It's a massive task for any size organization and even more difficult for resource-strapped SMBs."

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