The clever way Zenefits CEO Parker Conrad makes sure his super-hot startup focuses on the right stuff

Zenefits CEO Parker Conrad knows that fixing human resources isn’t the most exciting thing.

“On some level, what we do is dreadfully boring,” Conrad said.

But on stage at TechCrunch Disrupt SF, Conrad revealed that he’s both a little bit crazy and a little bit genius when it comes to developing his product.

Zenefits is a free cloud service for human resources professionals, and one of the hottest companies in Silicon Valley. A little more than two years old, it raised a massive $US500 million round at a valuation of $US4.5 billion back in May, and Conrad has said it will grow its customer base by more than 17x this year.

Zenefits uses its own system for managing its people, but Conrad is the only one with admin privileges in the system.

It’s made him acutely aware of what’s painful about the product. Every time an employee applies for a loan or a new apartment, for example, Conrad has to deal with the employment verification requests and go into the system to manually pull the information.

That’s a pain point that will keep growing as the company adds more employees, and Conrad knows that the company needs to address each one — like trying to build an automated employment verification system — or else they will just grow larger as Zenefits itself grows.

“It reveals to me a lot of the pain points and the stuff that isn’t fun to be doing,” Conrad said.

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