The rise of hybrid work was a topic of conversation in the years leading up to 2020. But the COVID-19 pandemic gave us no choice but to turn the corner on making remote work a norm, so much so that many have claimed the "five-day office week is dead".
Hybrid work will be one of the pandemic's more enduring legacies as employees look to strike a balance between in-office and remote work. Many companies are leaving it up to employees to self-select what's right for them – Canva's workplace policy asks workers to come into the office 8 times a year; Atlassian says around 4 times a year is fine. But if companies want to make hybrid work work, beyond a policy for which days employees should be in the office, the right tools are needed, or they run the risk of detracting from the overall employee experience.
We're excited to be leading Calven's $6.8m seed round to help them build the experience platform powering the future of work.
Born out of a crisis
Companies have spent the past 18+ months planning their hybrid work policies. Now that it's time to enact them, many have ended up in a situation of analysis paralysis as they don't know how to manage or measure these policies effectively. Expecting employees to self-organise within their teams presents many challenges, from overcrowding if too many people come in on the same days to inconsistent communication, lack of transparency, and watered-down office culture. And with the labour markets as tight as they are, the companies that can balance hybrid work while still maintaining a vibrant, engaging culture will be at a massive advantage over their competitors.
It goes without saying – there are strong tailwinds in demand for hybrid workforce solutions. But Calven's platform isn't just a band-aid solution for the here and now. As every office struggles with the new normal, we see a clear opportunity to build a category here.
Calven is a single pane of glass that removes the blindspot of knowing who's working where and when to optimise how a flexible workplace operates, all while helping employers maintain and enhance their guidelines, policies and the office experience.
Proximity to the problem
When it comes to seed-stage investments, what a founder may lack in the way of customers, data points and a product that's ready to go, they can make up for in a healthy obsession with the problem they're solving and knowing their market inside out. Case in point: Calven's founders JP (Sydney) and Dan (New York City). They're industry experts in workplace technology and have spent many years consulting clients on their workplace strategies and getting exposure to the challenges they face.
After speaking with employees, work experience leads and human resource heads at more than 100 companies in Australia and overseas, it was clear to them that everyone was struggling with piecemeal technology and cumbersome processes in this new world of work.
From the get-go, their collaboration with early customers, such as Canva at the pinnacle of workplace experience, on how to solve the problems they face has sped up their learnings and allowed them to gather practical feedback to inform product features for their first release.
We believe that JP and Dan together are a winning combo. JP's expertise in consultancy and industry insights, combined with Dan's technical chops and their mutual product focus has given them a unique take on what the future of work could look like – individual preferences, team objectives and organisational policies all operating in unison – and a platform enabling this to provide the best employee experience and workplace operations.