Workhuman, the HR technology firm, has become the latest Irish tech firm to reach so-called unicorn status, with a valuation of $1.2 billion.

A unicorn is a privately held startup company valued at over $1 billion. 

The milestone was reached as existing shareholders in the company sold a minority stake in the business to a UK based alternative asset management firm. 

Details of the transaction have not been made public, but it is understood that Intermediate Capital Group (ICG) bought a 10% share in Workhuman for $120m. 

"We are excited to welcome ICG as a strategic investor, while providing liquidity to some of Workhuman's earliest supporters," said Eric Mosley, Workhuman co-founder and CEO.  

"ICG's support helps put us on a great path forward as we get ready for the next phase of Workhuman's growth," he added. 

The recent share sale involved a highly competitive process according to Workhuman. 

Originally known as Globoforce, Workhuman was founded in Dublin in 1999 by Eric Mosley and Eddie Reynolds. 

But it is now co-headquartered in both Dublin and Framingham, Massachusetts after it moved part of its operations to the US over a decade ago. 

The company says that over five million employees across 160 countries use its platform. 

It claims to be the world's fastest-growing "social recognition and continuous performance management platform", and develops technology that makes "employees feel more appreciated and socially connected at work." 

LinkedIn, Procter & Gamble and Cisco are among the company's clients.  

"If the Covid-19 pandemic has taught us anything, it's that we all need human connection," said Mr Mosley. 

"Our continued double-digit growth and ongoing business momentum is a sign that organisations are craving a way to build better relationships and foster trust with their employees, no matter where they are," he added. 

London-based ICG is over 30 years old and manages around €45 billion of assets. 

Workhuman follows other tech firms with Irish founders, such as Stripe and Intercom, to reach a unicorn level valuation.

In 2014 it pulled a planned IPO citing unfavourable market conditions.