2016-11-03 sumser hrexaminer image icims website home page 300x238px.jpg

iCIMS is 17 years old and has consistently grown at 30% a year. Today, iCIMS is at an inflection point. They’re moving the physical location of the company and refocusing on the ‘enterprise’ (over 2,500 employees) market.

Earlier this week, I spent a day in the iCIMS headquarters in Matawan, NJ. iCIMS is the leading independent Applicant Tracking System (ATS). A 17 year old veteran, the company nimbly navigates the minefields strewn with recruiting tools from Oracle, SAP, IBM, and Workday. If it weren’t for the disciplined tech team and 700 person workforce, you might mistake them for a smaller operation.

I expected to find an unsophisticated organization with rag tag technology. My impression emerged as the result of iCIMS’ grassroots orientation to marketing and market development. I was never the target of their marketing.

What I discovered was a sophisticated technology machine with more than $100M in revenue built in the SMB market. It’s a focused business with a modest and disciplined CEO. The core technology, trivialized as amateurish by their competition, is a rational stack of cutting edge elements in a classic platform architecture.

Did I mention that the company is 17 years old? That it has consistently grown at 30% a year? That it devotes significant resources to questioning its own assumptions.

Colin Day, the CEO is an unassuming, easy to like guy who is deeply curious about what it takes to make the company the best it can be. He does this while retaining a commitment to profitability. iCIMS is a bootstrapped (no external funding for most of its existence) company with a consistent history of profitability. 

It’s an unusual model for a contemporary HRTech company.

iCIMS started its outreach to people like me last year with its initial Analyst Day. These events are designed to give the universe of people who influence and drive the Technology market a deeper look at the company. One of the signs that a company is serious about growing is the way it treats the audience of analysts and influencers. This might have been called ‘the press’ in an earlier time. There’s a level of growth that requires branding that transcends individual transactions.

Sure enough, iCIMS is at an inflection point. There are two elements to the shift:

  • Moving the physical location of the company
  • Refocusing on the ‘enterprise’ (over 2,500 employees) market.

Northern New Jersey used to be one of the nation’s technology hubs. Anchored by the Army (and other secure communications agencies) at Ft. Monmouth, the area featured R&D labs from GE, AT&T, Raytheon, and Wall Street. Between the breakup of AT&T and the emergence of Silicon Valley, the last 25 years have not been very kind to the region. iCIMS is a key part of the reemergence of tech in the area.

In November, they will become the anchor tenant in the old Lucent Technology R&D building in Holmdel. Back when AT&T was in its ascendant, this was a critical part of the Research network that made AT&T a tech powerhouse (That’s a long way from the media powerhouse it is becoming today.) It’s hard to imagine a better symbol for the role iCIMS is playing in the revitalization of the region’s technology sector.

At the same time, the company is shifting its focus towards the large dollar transactions in the enterprise sector. This decision is motivated, at least in part, by the investment the company has taken in the past several years. Investors love the average deal size in the enterprise business.

It’s an ambitious move. While it is possible to imagine a company that uses a single technology stack to serve both the SMB and Enterprise markets, it’s harder to see a company with one sales team and one marketing team. The two markets are very different.

It felt like this event was a launch point for the next phase of iCIMS existence. I’m sure you’ll be hearing more.



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