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Berlin-based Remi raises €1.2 million to become the leading culture building platform for remote teams

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Remi, the culture building platform for remote teams, announces a €1.2 million pre-seed financing round.  The investment is led by European early-stage investor btov Partners, with several well-known European angel investors such as Eyeo-Founder Tim Schumacher, Honeypot Co-Founder Emma Tracey and Georgie Smallwood, as part of the Accel Starter programme. With this investment, the team is planning to expand their founding team and find product market fit.

During the pandemic, most companies were forced to adapt to working remotely, and, in many cases, their team culture suffered severely. A recent study by Dropbox shows that more than 50% of employees feel less connected when working remotely. At the same time, employee expectations post-pandemic are changing: A recent Microsoft study found that a staggering 41% of employees consider leaving their current employer in 2021 for a company that offers remote work. The conclusion? Companies need to find ways to build culture remotely to offer remote working opportunities to their employees sustainably.

To understand the challenges of remote culture building, the Remi Team conducted more than 100 interviews with managers and their teams. The results show that company culture is a topic that employees and team leads care about deeply but current solutions do not adequately address the biggest pains: curating and facilitating team activities is time intensive and often leaves team leads overwhelmed and unsure of what activities and interactions are effective for their teams. In addition, current measurements don’t take into account different realities and needs of individuals in remote organizations.

This leads to employees that feel disconnected to their colleagues, and less psychologically safe in their teams. The consequences are severe: employees get sick three times as often, become two to three times less productive and turnover risk doubles, a study by the Harvard Business Review in 2019 found.

“In contrast to in-office culture, remote culture needs to be built and managed with much more proactivity and intentionality, to ensure employees feel connected and safe.” says Co-Founder Rebecca Görres. “What is missing is a platform that does the handholding for team leads and employees. With Remi, we act as the people experience manager that proactively nudges employees to help them feel close and connected in their day to day.”

With Remi, the team is building a culture building platform that focuses on curating and facilitating social interactions through team building rituals and proactive nudges. Insights from these interactions are taken to learn from and optimize cultural interventions in teams and the wider organization to improve the overall sense of belonging, connection and psychological safety.

Remi’s approach is to combine scientifically proven models for culture building from academia and research with actionable learnings from the most successful remote companies. These insights are used as a foundation for Remi’s ritualistic experiences and nudging interactions, with the goal to help teams establish effective and sustainable habits.

Remi is integrated with Slack to ensure teams can use the platform within the reality of their existing workflows. A Microsoft Teams integration and other key collaboration tools are planned for the near future.

Valerie Krämer, Co-Founder of Remi: “We believe culture will be a company’s biggest competitive advantage, if they prioritise it. Our goal is to push the boundaries of how culture is built, lived, and practiced in the new era of remote and hybrid work. We’re taking the learnings from the most successful remote companies and making them accessible at scale for the new generation of remote and hybrid teams.”

“We see the challenges of building and maintaining a strong culture remotely every day across all our portfolio companies”, says Andreas Goeldi, partner at lead investor btov Partners. “Remi provides a unique new approach that is shaped by the founders’ deep understanding of the problem. After looking at many companies in the sector, we were particularly impressed by how holistically the Remi team explored the most effective solution approaches, building on many years of experience from leading remote companies.”

The product is currently in closed beta, with some high calibre clients such as GetyourGuide and TIER. As a next step, the team will open the beta to a bigger group of customers. The waitlist is constantly growing with currently more than 500+ interested remote and hybrid companies already signed up.

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Source: https://www.eu-startups.com/2021/06/berlin-based-remi-raises-e1-2-million-to-become-the-leading-culture-building-platform-for-remote-teams/

Start Ups

Workforce training startup OpenSesame raises $50M as shift to remote work drives demand

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Don Spear, CEO of OpenSesame (OpenSesame Photo)

Portland, Ore.-based OpenSesame raised $50 million in new funding, the company announced Thursday.

Founded in 2011, the startup helps businesses with online learning tools for their workforce. OpenSesame’s catalog includes more than 20,000 courses in 19 different languages. The 173-person company also allows learning administrators to customize lessons through AI-curated lessons.

OpenSesame saw “unprecedented growth” over the past few years, said CEO Don Spear. The pandemic drove demand as more teams operated remotely. OpenSesame saw an increase in demand for employee development programs focused on diversity, equity and inclusion; leadership; and enabling a safe working environment and wellness in the workplace.

U.S. education tech startups raised a record $2.2 billion in 2020, according to EdSurge, a 30% increase from 2019.

The new funding will help OpenSesame begin global expansion and extend its technology platform. Total funding to date is $107.4 million.

The funding round was led by JMI Equity, a firm focused on investing in software companies. They were joined by existing investors FTV Capital and Altos Ventures.

JMI also invested in Portland marketing startup Lytics.

Spear has a background in online learning tech, including founding BlueVolt.com, which provides learning systems to manufacturing, construction and service industries.

OpenSesame is ranked No. 50 on the GeekWire 200.

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Source: https://www.geekwire.com/2021/online-learning-startup-opensesame-raises-50m-shift-remote-work-drives-demand/

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Start Ups

Weekly VC Overview: All 100+ European startup funding rounds we tracked this week (July 19-23)

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Source: https://www.eu-startups.com/2021/07/weekly-vc-overview-all-100-european-startup-funding-rounds-we-tracked-this-week-july-19-23/

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EdTech

Duolingo’s bellwether IPO

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Hello and welcome back to Equity, TechCrunch’s venture capital-focused podcast, where we unpack the numbers behind the headlines.

We were a smaller team this week, with Natasha and Alex together with Chris to sort through yet another summer frenzy of a week.

This time around we actually recorded live on Twitter Spaces, which was a first for the podcast. If you missed it, it’s probably because we didn’t promote the taping since it was just an experiment. Good news, though, is that it went well, and we’re going to do some more live tapings of the show with the entire crew on the mics. Make sure to follow the show on the Big Tweet to ensure that you can come hang with us next week. We’ll also do some Q&A at the end, if we’re in good moods.

Until then, let’s live in the present. Here’s what we got into in today’s show:

Have a lovely weekend, you lovely human.

Equity drops every Monday at 7:00 a.m. PDT, Wednesday, and Friday morning at 7:00 a.m. PDT, so subscribe to us on Apple PodcastsOvercastSpotify and all the casts.

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Source: https://techcrunch.com/2021/07/23/duolingos-bellwether-ipo/

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Start Ups

Susan Su on how to approach growth as your startup raises each round

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Your startup might rely on clever growth tactics to get off the ground, but you need more than spreadsheets if you want to turn viral spikes into a real business. You need a qualitative growth model to guide the strategy that you can use to tell your story to your team and investors.

Growth marketing expert Susan Su sat down with us at TechCrunch Early Stage: Marketing and Fundraising this month to share pointers for young companies that are trying to raise money after initial market traction. In the presentation below, she maps out a growth strategy from seed through Series A and B rounds and details how your milestones, budgets, investor updates and other measures change as you advance.

The not-so-secret secret here is that the key to great retention is really simple. It is building a product that solves a real and especially persistent problem for people.

Throughout the process, “a qualitative model tells the story of growth that you can use at early stages and really all throughout your company life cycle,” she explains.A quantitative model or quantitative growth accounting charts the numerical course for how you actually deliver against that narrative and becomes more relevant at later stages when you actually have real numbers.

Formerly a strategic growth adviser to companies at Sound Ventures, a growth marketing lead focused on startups at Stripe, and the first hire and head of growth at Reforge, Su just became a partner investing in climate tech for early-stage fund Toba Capital. She also writes a popular newsletter on climate investing and runs a six-week course for other investors on the topic.

Here’s more about growth, and how to talk about it with investors, from her presentation:

So here’s a sample qualitative growth model that I built for one of our portfolio companies with some modifications for anonymity. At the bottom, we have our linear inputs that form the foundation of awareness — in other words, traffic or leads that feed into our growth machine.

Once those leads come in, we have our acquisition loops, working to turn that non-repeatable spiky linear traffic (aka TechCrunch traffic, if you get so lucky as to be written up in TechCrunch) into scalable, repeatable acquisition. You cannot repeat the TechCrunch effect.

For this sample business, I happened to spec out five different acquisition loops — I was really ambitious. Many companies will struggle to identify this many. But the key to being able to scale is to have multiple viable acquisition loops, not just one single thing that works.

PlatoAi. Web3 Reimagined. Data Intelligence Amplified.
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Source: https://techcrunch.com/2021/07/23/susan-su-on-how-to-approach-growth-as-your-startup-raises-each-round/

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