The new world of work is here. Tech it or leave it.
Background The HR fund is a venture capital company founded in 2012 by prominent HR professionals to identify and invest in potential HR startups, apart from helping them with operational advice and knowledge.
Being a small group, its investment activities were limited to early stage investments, seed funds and series A, restricting its ability to play a bigger role in growing startups with greater financial needs (series B, and C).
Also, market conditions changed with large private equity funds bringing down their minimum ticket size to attract more startups—increasing competition for our client, and with entrepreneurs increasing their initial financial seeking, investment opportunities became more challenging.
To counter it, HR Fund aimed to enter a bigger league of venture capitalist companies by earning an Alternative Investment Fund (AIF) status, allowing greater financial stability and reach. But for that, it needed an initial corpus of 100–120 crore, which meant reaching to a new pool of investors with greater financial appetite, and not necessarily from HR background.
Objective ICD was approached to rebrand the company, moving its image away from that of a small sector-focused PE fund and making it an attractive place for investment for its new investors, as it journeyed towards becoming an AIF. Not an HR Fund by professionals, but a technology fund focused on disruptive and innovative HR solution providers.
Research We set out to understand investment drives for existing and prospective investors, uncovering perceptions and biases. In-depth interviews shed light on their investment stance; while investment decisions for HR-insiders were driven by ‘passion’ and/or ‘interest’, outsiders were primarily driven by monetary returns.
Attitude towards sectoral funds was fairly negative: they were found limiting due to constrained exposure but sectors with scale and reach like tech, work, people, were attractive investment opportunities.
And, HR businesses as well as VC firms operating in the HR sector were plagued with the passive, and departmentalised image of a corporate HR function.
Strategy The new HR fund was to distance itself from ‘HR’, weaving in the story of scale and impact, and implying that 'it's the opportune moment to invest'.
Rebrand We identified language as a key prong to bringing about the shift. The phrase HR or human resources suggests a professional vertical, or an administrative function, and does not convey either excitement or scale. To counter that, we changed the language to ‘work’ and ‘people’, which connote far-reaching impact and scale.
Second, we introduced a new way of looking at HR practice in light of a ‘new world of work’—changing workforce, global networks, digitalisation, and the key message areas of efficiency, efficacy, experience.
Even the criteria for selecting businesses changed from simply HR businesses to businesses that impact work and workforce and with a definite tech ingredient (some investees didn’t even identify themselves as HR businesses).
Design A new identity with the brand name that distances itself from HR but associates with the category image of signifying growth and progress with a tagline hints at possibilities of scale. Vrixa means tree in Sanskrit, and the x playfully hints at multiples of value. The x splits and reconfigures itself in a variety of ways to create a visual language.
The visual design suited the fund’s role—an ‘expert’ personality that is rugged, restrained but sharp. A stark minimal design that uses minimal gestures to get the job done.
Partner-in-charge & Creative Director Itu Chaudhuri | Art Director Richa Bhargava | Design Concept & Development Niloy Kundu | Alternate Design Concepts Kshitij Tembe, Niloy Kundu, Palash Jain | Project duration 3 months