Barley Raises $4M to Make Compensation More Structured, Transparent, and Fair

Barley Raises $4M to Make Compensation More Structured, Transparent, and Fair

Time of posting an article for Barley Compensation Management Software
March 8, 2023
Reading time for Barley Compensation Management Software
4 min read

TORONTO, March 8, 2023 — Barley, a compensation management platform that makes it easy for companies to structure, analyze and manage pay, launches today with $4 million in seed funding led by Golden Ventures with participation from Union Capital, an investor collective that includes prominent technology leaders at Facebook, Google, Shopify and Uber. 

Barley is tackling one of the biggest issues facing businesses today: how to make better compensation decisions, which employers feel confident about and employees can understand. A recent Gartner survey found that only 38% of employees understand how their pay is determined. Barley improves the clarity and transparency of the compensation process, helping HR teams and managers make data-driven decisions that result in more equitable pay for all employees. 

“Compensation is a company’s biggest expense, but comp management is often treated as a mere admin task. In 2023, companies have software tools for every important part of their business, but pay decisions are still made in scattered spreadsheets and email threads. That leaves leaders wondering if they are missing the big picture and employees questioning if they’re being paid fairly,” said Barley CEO Jafar Owainati.

“Barley was built to help companies create and execute equitable pay strategies, giving people teams and managers the insights and guardrails for what they pay.”  - Jafar Owainati, Co-founder & CEO, Barley

Barley was co-founded by Owainati and CPO William Mainguy – both serial entrepreneurs who launched and grew successful technology startups Loopio and Reelhouse. Barley will use its funding for product development and to expand its go-to-market teams. Barley established a strong market foothold while in private beta, bringing on early customers such as Affinity, Flinks and Properly, and launching integrations with popular HR and ATS platforms such as ADP, BambooHR, Greenhouse and Lever. 

“Successful companies need to balance rewarding employees, incentivizing great performance and making sustainable long-term budget decisions. We see a white-hot market opportunity for Barley to help businesses get compensation right at a time when it is more important than ever,” said Matt Golden, managing partner at Golden Ventures. “I was compelled to invest in Barley by the founding team’s clear vision for a compensation platform that builds trust between employers and employees.”

Barley streamlines the entire compensation process, enabling companies to create consistent salary ranges, conduct pay equity analyses and manage salary reviews. With robust integrations and access controls, Barley improves communication around compensation, while helping businesses save time, avoid mistakes and optimize their budget. 

“We’ve created a solution that helps every single person at a company better understand compensation, from executive leadership to the individual employee”  - Billy Mainguy, Co-founder & CPO, Barley

“Comp is complex and sensitive, so we place a lot of emphasis on the user experience. We thoughtfully distill what’s often intimidating information into powerful yet simple steps so companies can feel proactive, fair and confident in their practices,” said Mainguy. 

"Barley makes compensation clear. Other solutions that I've used have felt clunky for admins and managers,” said Flinks Vice President of People Operations Brendan Yorke. “I'm regularly delighted by new features that Barley launches to better structure employee compensation, visualize our data or make our experience even smoother. And, with partners as driven and customer-focused as Barley, the best is yet to come."

Barley is now available to the public. Companies can explore and learn more about Barley at 

About Barley

Barley is compensation management software that makes it easy to structure, analyze and manage compensation – and keep a pulse on changing pay trends in the market. Forward-thinking businesses use Barley to simplify and optimize their approach to compensation, enabling them to attract more top candidates, reduce turnover, and improve pay transparency and pay equity. Barley has been named a Top HR Tech Company to Watch for This Year. Learn more about Barley here.

About Golden Ventures

Golden Ventures is a leading seed-stage venture capital firm that invests in bold teams and their transformative ideas. The firm is based in Toronto and invests across North America. Since 2011, Golden Ventures has partnered with over 100 companies across several verticals and sectors.

The firm is investing out of its fourth fund, a $100M vehicle. Golden Ventures looks for driven and resilient founding teams with unique insights into how their technology will shape the world. Golden Ventures aims to make 25 core investments, with initial cheques ranging from $500K to $2.5M.  Learn more about Golden Ventures' operating principles at

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