We raised $450k to help distributed teams stay connected | Friday.app | Friday.app

We raised $450k to help remote teams stay connected at work

Posted by Luke Thomas

I'm thrilled to publicly announce that we've closed a pre-seed round of investment led by Underscore, with participation by angels here in Maine and elsewhere.

This round of funding will be used to continue to improve the product and start sharing our story about how we can help distributed teams stay connected at work.

The modern workforce demands flexibility

The modern workforce demands a more flexible work environment. This reality is expressed in a variety of ways - like being able to leave work early to pick up a child from daycare or the freedom to work remotely. The majority of early stage startups I talk to nowadays are at least partially distributed, which is a major shift even from a couple years ago.

The rise in remote work is fueled by a variety of factors that I've documented in previous posts. According to US Census data, the number of people who work remotely has doubled in the past ten years. We think remote work has network effect-like characteristics and that we are at the beginning of an exponential growth curve.

Once you go remote, most people don't want to go back

I've worked remotely for ~6 years and I dread the idea of going back to an office. It turns out, I'm not the only one.

But challenges exist!

While distributed workers are likely to recommend this way of work, very real challenges exist that need to be addressed. For example, according to the Buffer, the #1 issue is communication & collaboration.

I've personally experienced these issues in the past as an individual contributor, manager, and leader. There have been times when I feel like I'm flying blind at work - I have no idea what's going on or what others are working on.

To use a sports analogy, I have felt like I'm the only person on the field at times. Where are my teammates? Who should I pass the ball to? How do I score?

How can people stay connected at work, even when apart?

Right now, there are numerous communication and collaboration tools available on the market. You might go to Slack for a quick conversation with a coworker, then jump into a Zoom call for a meeting, and then proceed to Trello to comment on a particular project. 

With so many tools, why is communication and collaboration still the #1 challenge for remote workers?

Isn't this a solved problem?

Some people think the answer is building another piece of software. Others might say, "you need better process, you don't need another tool." We think the answer is a mixture of both.

I'm going to use an analogy to help explain what's happening.

Communication plumbing

Imagine plumbing in your home or apartment. Pipes exist to connect the flow of water to various rooms. There are also pumps to regulate the flow, ensuring that water travels to to the right place (at the right time). These pipes and pumps play a complementary role.

Now think of workplace communication and how it might flow (like water) inside a team or across the company. The communication pipes exist (email, Slack, Trello, etc) so the water can flow to the right people, but the issue is that there are no pumps to regulate the flow. It becomes an ad-hoc, unpredictable mess.

In certain areas, you are inundated information (like a noisy Slack channel), but in other places, you are barely getting a trickle of information - so you don't know what's going on.

What the best teams and companies do

The best teams and companies recognize the need to create regular habits in the way that they communicate and share information. If we want a predictable outcome, we need to create a process for it!

That's why many remote teams will establish necessary communication habits like:

It turns out, habit creation is tough, especially with a group of people. Right now, a seemingly trivial task of sharing a regular weekly update might involve cobbling together calendar reminders, Google Docs, creating a template, and a lot of micromanaging to make sure people fill it out on time before a meeting.

This seems insane. Why can't software help us automate this process and break down the barriers? Why can't sharing updates and feedback feel fun and less like mundane work?

That's why Friday exists :)

Friday makes it easy to establish and maintain communication habits at work

At Friday, we've made it easy to automate everything around giving regular updates (asynchronously), so you can ensure that the right information flows to the right people at the right time.

We integrate with and play a complementary role to workplace chat tools like Slack & Microsoft Teams. Additionally, when filling out an update in Friday, you can "glue" together the units of work across disparate project management tools into a single update.

If you want a bird's eye view of what's going on at work, Friday is where you should go There's no need to jump into three different tools or random documents to see what's going on.

What's next?

Right now, our focus is on helping you answer the question, "what's going on at work?" Stay tuned though - there's more problems that remote employees face and more ways to help teams stay connected, no matter where they are located.

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