Remote work is no longer a new topic, as the majority of the world has been doing so for a year or longer due to the COVID-19 epidemic.
Companies – large and small – had to react in innumerable ways. Many of the initial challenges have focused on workflow, productivity and choice. But one aspect of the entire remote work shift that is not receiving as much attention is the culture angle.
A 100% remote startup that was handling the problem even before COVID-19 is now seeing a huge boom in demand for its proposal, which aims to help companies address the “people” challenge of remote work To help. It began its life with the name Icebreaker, which aims to “break the ice” with the people you work with.
“We designed the initial version of our product to connect people who have never met, the kind of virtual speed dating,” says the co-founder and CEO. Perry Rosenstein. “But we felt that people were using it much more than that.”
Over time, therefore, its offering has evolved to include a larger goal of helping bring people together beyond an initial encounter — hence its new name: catharinound.
“For remote companies, a major challenge or problem that is now in crisis is how to build relationships, trust and empathy among people who are not sharing physical space,” says the co-founder and COO Lisa Cone. “There is no five-minute conversation after the meetings, no shared meals, no cafeteria – this is where the connection is made organically.”
Organizations should be concerned, Gadaround says, as we become more remote, this task will become more transactional and people will become more isolated. They cannot ignore that humans are largely social beings, Conn said.
The startup aims to bring people online through real-time events such as chat, video and one-on-one and group conversations. The startup also provides templates to facilitate cultural rituals and learning and development (L&D) activities, such as all hands-on meetings and workshops on diversity, equity and inclusion.
Gadaround’s video conversations are intended to be a refreshing complement to Slack conversations, which, despite completing the task of communication, still do not bring users face-to-face.
Since its inception, Gatheround has quietly built an impressive client base, including 28 Fortune 500s, 11 of the 15 largest US tech companies, 26 of the top 30 universities, and more than 700 academic institutions. In particular, those users include Asan, Coinbase, Fiverr, Westfield and Digital Oion. Universities, academic centers, and non-beneficiaries are also clients, including the Georgetown Institute of Politics and Public Service and the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative. To date, Gatheround has 260,000 users, delivering 570,000 conversations on its SaaS-based, video platform.
All of its growth so far has been organic, mostly referrals and word of mouth. Now equipped with $ 3.5 million in seed funding, which has increased from the previous $ 500,000, Gatheround is ready to aggressively go into the market and speed it up.
Venture firms Homebrew and Bloomberg Beta led the company’s latest uplift, with participation from angel investors such as strip COO Claire Hughes Johnson, Meetup co-founders Scott Heiferman, Lee Jin and Lenny Rachitsky.
Co-founders Rosenstein, Conn and Alexander McCormum describe themselves as “experienced community builders” who previously worked in President Obama’s campaigns as well as companies such as Facebook, Change.org and Hustle.
The trio emphasizes that the gadaround is also very different from the zoom and video conferencing app in that its platform signals people to learn and learn about each other, as well as the flexibility to customize events And gives organized methods.
“We are fundamentally a connection platform, here to help organizations connect their people through real-time events that are not really fun, but meaningful,” Conn said.
Homebrew partner Hunter Walk says his firm was attracted to T.o Founder-market fit of the company.
“They are a very interesting combination of founders with all this experience building community in favor of political activism,” said ClearTips. “It was unique that they did not come out of enterprise product background or pure social background.”
He was also drawn to the personal appearance of Gadaround’s platform, noting that it has become clear over the past year that software future work “requires emotional intelligence”.
“In 2020 many companies have focused on making remote work more productive. But those who aspire more than ever have a way to connect deeply and meaningfully with their partners, ”said Walk. “The gadaround is better than any platform out there. I have never seen people come together almost as they do on the gadaround, ask questions, share stories and learn as a group. ”
Bloomberg agrees with Beta partner James Cham Walk that the founding team’s knowledge of behavioral psychology, group dynamics and community building gives them an edge.
“However, for nothing, they care about helping the world unite and feel connected, and have built organizations to build their entire careers,” he said in a written statement. “So it wasn’t a mind to back the gadaround, and I can’t wait to see their impact on society.”
The 14-man team is likely to expand with the new capital, which will help add more functionality and detail to the Gadaround product.
“Even before the epidemic, remote work was growing faster than other forms of work,” Conn said. “Now it has become even faster.”
Gadaround is not the only company trying to deal with this location. Ireland-based Workavivo raised $ 16 million last year and earlier this year, Microsoft launched Viva its new “employee experience platform”.