Zenefits controversial cofounder, Parker Conrad, appears to be back on his feet.
He’s already working on a new startup after he was forced to resign as CEO of Zenefits in February.
The current startup is still in stealth, but Fortune’s Dan Primack has managed to shake down a few potential tidbits on what it’s all about.
Apparently, Conrad and his cofounders are going to solve the technology onboarding problem. They are reportedly working on software that lets HR and IT instantly and easily get an employee set up with all the software they need on their computers and smartphones.
The idea is that an employee can start on day 1 with all the software and HR stuff they need, pre-loaded and ready to go, like Box, Slack, Concur, health insurance and so on.
As Primack points out, it’s not a wholly original idea. There are plenty of other apps that do pieces and parts of this kind of onboarding (including Zenefits).
But an app that that does all the HR stuff and all the IT stuff in one fell swoop could be appealing.
This new startup is yet another chapter in Conrad’s roller-coaster life. Conrad started Zenefits when he was too broke to buy a car and walked away from Zenefits a wealthy guy.
He cashed out over $10 million of his Zenefits equity before questions on the company’s business practices and culture came to light and led to his departure. So he should have the cash to bootstrap this startup until he can convince an investor to back him.
It will be interesting to see who will back him when the time comes.
Zenefits was being investigated in multiple states for selling insurance without a licence and Zenefits’ current CEO David Sacks has accused Conrad of writing a piece of software that allowed some Zenefits employees to skirt some requirements for getting their California licenses.
Conrad was also fired (his words) from the previous startup he cofounded, too, SigFig. His life has been filled with even more ups and downs: he’s a cancer survivor who built SigFig while secretly living in an old people’s home.
Then again, even with Zenefits troubles, it is arguably a successful business, offering small companies free HR software in exchange for being their insurance broker.
Although Sacks just renegotiated a strange deal with investors that cut the company’s valuation from $4.5 billion to $2 billion, that still means investors value the young company at $2 billion.
And under Conrad, the company grew from nothing to about $60 million in revenue in a few years, Zenefits has said. That pursuit of growth caused the company to spin out of control and take shortcuts, but it’s still the kind of thing that could turn investors’ heads, even though Conrad is now estranged from some of the most powerful investors in Silicon Valley, including David Sacks.