KKR and Teachers’ Venture Growth Lead US$140 Mn Series E in SmartHR


KKR, a leading global investment firm, and Teachers’ Venture Growth (TVG), the late-stage venture and growth investment arm of Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, today announced the signing of definitive agreements under which KKR (on behalf of funds managed by it) and TVG will jointly lead a US$140 million (JPY 21.4 billion) Series E fundraise of SmartHR (the ‘Company’), a leading cloud-native human resources management platform in Japan, with participation from existing shareholders.

The investment will be used to accelerate SmartHR’s growth, including through the development of new solutions, talent acquisition, and organic and inorganic growth strategies.

Founded in 2013, SmartHR is a cloud-native human resources management platform that provides a suite of tech-enabled human resources management solutions, which are focused on employee management and administration, growth, talent management, and employee productivity. Through its comprehensive range of solutions, SmartHR serves a diversified spectrum of businesses including large enterprises and SMEs.

Mukul Chawla, Partner and Head of Growth Equity, Asia Pacific, KKR, said, “As one of Japan’s leading human resource Software as a Service (SaaS) platforms, SmartHR is playing a critical role in enabling the country’s drive towards greater workforce productivity, while leaning into accelerating digitalization and cloud penetration. Through our technology growth strategy, we look to support innovative, disruptive local champions with our expertise, best practices and networks across KKR’s global platform. SmartHR is an exceptional example of Japan’s new economy, and we are delighted to work with the company’s management, board and TVG in supporting SmartHR in the next phase of its growth.”

Olivia Steedman, Executive Managing Director and Global Head, Teachers’ Venture Growth, said, “SmartHR has demonstrated innovative ways to help companies of every size improve how they manage and develop their workforces. As Japanese companies increasingly transform their businesses with digital solutions, SmartHR is well-positioned to support a variety of their labor management needs. We look forward to working alongside KKR to help accelerate SmartHR’s growth journey while also leveraging our global expertise to find ways to be a value-adding partner.”

KKR makes its investment as part of its Asia Next Generation Technology (Asia NGT) strategy. This marks KKR’s latest technology investment in Japan, which has included: Yayoi, a financial and accounting software provider for SMEs; NetStars, the operator of Japan’s largest QR code payment gateway; and dataX, a marketing SaaS platform. Other Asia NGT investments include: GrowSari, a B2B e-commerce platform for SMEs in the Philippines; KiotViet, a SaaS platform for SMEs in Vietnam; Privy, a digital identity provider in Indonesia; MUSINSA, an online fashion platform in Korea; Lenskart, an omni-channel eyewear retailer in India; and Advanced Navigation, a developer of AI-powered robotics in Australia.

Explore HRTech News for the latest Tech Trends in Human Resources Technology.