Berlin/Frankfurt am Main, 15 September 2020. The HR Start-up Award for 2020 has been won by Danielle Software & Service along with Userlane. On the fifth anniversary of the HR Start-up Award, the expert audience at the personnel management congress singled out two innovations: a digital solution for staff organization that calls time on inflexible, complex and heavily paper-based HR processes, especially for smaller businesses (Danielle Software & Service), and a tool that helps employees learn new software by means of a navigation system for applications (Userlane).

The HR Start-up Award is a prestigious innovation prize for new business founders in the human resources sector. Initiated by the Federal Association of HR Managers (BPM) and the hkp/// group, the prize is conferred annually as part of the HR Management Congress. The 2020 event in Berlin was staged under conditions of strict hygiene, and also online. The winners were chosen on the basis of votes cast online and by members of the expert audience present. In the end, Danielle Software & Service and Userlane won through at the expense of Jobpal, the third finalist (a start-up that programs chatbots for recruiting, enabling companies to respond quickly to enquiries from candidates).

All three start-ups had been previously selected by a high-profile jury chaired by Dr. Elke Eller, HR Director at TUI AG, and Michael H. Kramarsch, Managing Partner of the hkp/// group. With a total of 43 submissions, the fifth edition of the HR Start-up Award came close to matching last year’s record entry of 46 submissions despite the adverse circumstances caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Günther Fernbach, CEO and founder of Danielle Software & Service, was overjoyed at the win, seeing the vote from the expert jury as vindication of the path his company has taken: “An agile organization with self-organized teams presents the human resources department with entirely new tasks that can only be carried out with consistent digitalization. I’m absolutely delighted that the decision of the jury has acknowledged this general development while recognizing our software as a solution.”

Kristina Schneider, Digital Adoption Consultant at Userlane, was equally pleased that her solution won over an audience of experts: “The digital transformation of businesses inevitably involves the introduction of many different tools that staff have to learn about – as quickly and easily as possible in an ideal world. Our solution seems to have struck a chord with the jury, so that’s a highly encouraging endorsement!”

Dr. Elke Eller, HR Director and co-initiator of the HR Start-up Award, was highly satisfied with the awards ceremony, held in such difficult circumstances this year: “Once again, the large number and standard of submissions from all areas of HR management leaves me speechless. The passion for entrepreneurship is reaffirmed. On behalf of the entire jury, I would like to thank not just those finalists who attended today, but all of those who took part.”

BPM President Inga Dransfeld-Haase was also impressed by the pitches presented and the number of entrants: “Reviewing the various submissions and seeing today’s live pitches has been a very inspirational and rewarding experience. In the midst of the coronavirus crisis, we have uncovered a wealth of innovations within and for HR, underlining the contribution this area makes to the economy.”

Michael H. Kramarsch, hkp/// group Managing Partner and co-initiator of the HR Start-up Award, emphasized the importance of keeping track of technological progress, especially in economically challenging times: “Young businesses with digital solutions for human resources management are showing us how the work of human resources departments – and new forms of work in general – could look. Once again, the pitches from this year’s finalists have impressively demonstrated a capacity to help overcome crises by delivering efficiency and effectiveness gains.”

For more information on the award, visit


* hkp/// group, Constantin Härthe
Author Constantin Härthe

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