Remember when Zenefits imploded and kicked out Parker Conrad. Well, Conrad has launched a new onboarding startup for employees called Rippling. Now he's chasing another HR company called Gusto with a new billboard: "Outgrowing Gusto?" Presto change-o. ”
The problem is that Gusto eliminated it by issuing an injunction to Rippling and the poster operator Clear Channel Outdoor. This is despite the law that normally allows comparative advertising as long as it is correct. Gusto sells personnel, social, and payroll software, while Rippling does the same, but extends IT management to link a platform for employee identity.
Rippling tells me that growing out of gusto is the main reason why customers say they switch to rippling. There are no customers with more than 61
All of this indicates that the Rippling ad claim is reasonable. However, C&D claims that "Gusto counts multiple companies with 100 or more employees as customers and does not indicate that the companies will grow out of their platform at a certain size."
In an email to TechCrunch employees, Rippling CMO Matt Epstein wrote: “We take legal claims seriously, but this does not pass the laugh test. As Gusto says on their entire website, they focus on small businesses. "
Instead of taking Gusto to court or trying to change Clear Channel's mind, Conrad and Rippling did something naughty. They reacted to the injunction in the Iambian pentameter in Shakespeare style.
Our billboard apparently hit a nerve. And so you called your legal teams,
who started screaming, "Stop it!" "Omission" and other threats that are too long to list.
Your brand is known for being chilled. So that just seems like an exaggeration.
But since you think we were unfair, we really want to cleanse the air:
Rippling's Advocate General Vanessa Wu wrote the letter saying, "As a gusto, we tried to scale ourselves. We saw what you took off the shelf. Your software has come up short. They needed Workday for the support, ”claiming that Gusto's own HR tool could not handle the more than 1,000 employees and had to contact a larger company provider. The letter concludes with the implication that Gusto should drop the cease and desist and instead compete on merit:
So, Gusto, do not fear our sign. Our mission and goals are the same.
Let us keep this conflict worthy – and the customers decide.
The rippling CMO Matt Epstein tells me: “While people across the street find competition disruptive, customers win when companies push each other to make others better. We hope that our light-hearted poem will bring this debate back to Earth, and we look forward to competing in the market. "
Rippling might think this whole thing was smart or funny, but it seems a bit lame and tiring. These are far from 8 miles worth of fighting rhymes. If it really wanted to let customers decide, it could have simply accepted the C&D and carried on … or could not have operated the billboard at all. There are four others that don't beat competitors. Still, Gusto looks petty when he tries to block the billboard and hide that it isn't equipped to support massive teams.
We contacted Gusto over the weekend and asked again today to comment on whether the C&D will be dropped if it tries to drop Rippling's bus ad and if Workday is actually used internally.
Given that Gusto raised $ 516 million – ten times what Rippling has – you might think Rippling could only spend on advertising or invest in building HR -Tools of the company so that customers really cannot grow beyond it. They are both Y Combinator companies with Little Perkins as their main investor (conflict of interest?), So maybe they can still bury the hatchet.
At least they found a way to make the HR industry interesting for an afternoon.