Tech

Why German HR tech firm Aconso is entering the US market

CEO Ulrich Jaenicke says the company will soon launch a solution focused on creating documents that are compliant with the FTC’s noncompete ban.
article cover

Metamorworks/Getty Images

4 min read

Aconso, a document management software company headquartered in Munich, Germany, is expanding into the US market.

The company is starting with just two US customers, but hopes one-third of its recurring revenue will come from new US customers within the next 18 months, CEO Ulrich Jaenicke said in his first interview with a US media outlet.

Jaenicke said he believes Aconso’s user-friendly interface, coupled with a new solution focused on documents that are compliant with Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) noncompete ban, will help the German company stand out in a crowded market.

Aconso’s origin story. Jaenicke started Aconso with colleagues from the technology conglomerate Siemens in 2001, when much of the HR profession was still reliant on paper documents.

For many years, Jaenicke worked in Siemens’ HR department, translating the “language of HR into the language of the IT guys,” he told HR Brew. When Siemens expressed an interest in going paperless, Jaenicke and his team developed a software to digitize 200,000 employee files.

Today, Aconso has more than 600 customers, primarily working with European organizations like Lufthansa, the Munich Airport, and Siemens itself. Its software focuses on the entirety of the employee life cycle, creating and managing HR documents that cover events spanning from hiring and onboarding to departures.

Aconso recently picked up on an interest from US customers through its integration with SAP SuccessFactors, a human capital management system, Jaenicke said. About a year and a half ago, US companies approached Aconso after finding the product in SAP’s store. Aconso now has two US customers—one retailer with about 18,000 employees based in California, and another employer that oversees about 5,000 workers in the Midwest—but Jaenicke didn’t share their names. Jaenicke said Aconso has an office in Delaware, and hopes to build up its US client base over the next year and a half.

In a press release, Aconso said it has seen 15%–20% YOY revenue growth consistently over the past 20 years. Keensight Capital, a European growth buyout firm, secured a stake in Aconso for an undisclosed amount in September, with plans to “push for the increase of aconso’s international footprint with particular attention to the US.”

Quick-to-read HR news & insights

From recruiting and retention to company culture and the latest in HR tech, HR Brew delivers up-to-date industry news and tips to help HR pros stay nimble in today’s fast-changing business environment.

How Aconso will seek to stand out. With the US launch, Aconso is entering a crowded market at a time when many companies are working to digitize their HR functions.

Some 42% of business leaders reported their HR department had undergone a “digital transformation” as of 2023, meaning they had converted processes, documents, and other organizational information into a digital format, according to a 2023 survey from HR consulting firm McLean & Company.

The pandemic accelerated HR’s push to digitize, which was helpful to Aconso’s business, Jaenicke said. “Everybody learned you can’t handle paper if you are in a home office, and this had a very good impact [on] our company…HR departments were able to have the budget to go the digital way,” he said.

The HR management software market is expected to grow at an annual rate of 11.15% between 2022 and 2029, according to research firm Mordor Intelligence. Companies like Personio and HeavenHR sell products intended to help HR manage their staff digitally, while bigger firms like UKG and Oracle have similarly invested in document management.

Jaenicke said Aconso is counting on “user-friendly software” to help stand out in the US market, characterized by a self-explanatory and colorful interface. He added data privacy has been a bedrock of Aconso’s approach, given Europe’s fairly stringent regulations, and suggested this could be useful for HR departments seeking to comply with state-level data protections like those in effect in California, as well.

As part of its US launch, Jaenicke said Aconso will roll out a solution within the next month focused on creating employment contracts that are compliant with the noncompete ban recently passed by the Federal Trade Commission.

Quick-to-read HR news & insights

From recruiting and retention to company culture and the latest in HR tech, HR Brew delivers up-to-date industry news and tips to help HR pros stay nimble in today’s fast-changing business environment.