Investors are betting that workers want a new way to share information across an organization — both during the pandemic and after.
Seattle startup Voodle announced a $6 million funding round led by Madrona Venture Group and Vulcan Capital, with participation from M12, Cisco Investments and Hearst Ventures.
Voodle puts a new spin on workplace communication with its TikTok-like app meant to replace long video calls or text-based notes with bite-sized selfie-oriented video clips.
The company launched earlier this year with a unique backstory. Many of its employees previously worked together at Pixvana, which built immersive video editing software and raised $20 million. Pixvana shuttered toward the end of 2019 after struggling to gain traction for its augmented/virtual reality platform.
Voodle was born after CEO Forest Key and other Pixvana execs saw an opportunity to apply social-based communication styles at work.
The video clips are searchable and channel based. They come with transcriptions and can be shared via other workplace apps such as Hubspot or Salesforce, which just announced its plan to acquire Slack.
Companies such as Mystery, Leasable, Killer Visual Strategies, Loopie and others are using Voodle.
The app — available on iOS, Android, and on the web — was created before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, but it could prove to be much more valuable with the shift to remote work.
“Our early use cases are all about helping teams that have gone remote and are suffering from Zoom fatigue and Slack overload,” Key said. “Companies and employees everywhere are in search of the right remote work tech stack which requires tools that offer more efficient ways of staying connected and aligned.”
What happens to Voodle in a post-pandemic world remains to be seen. A recent McKinsey report found that more than 20% of the workforce could be just as effective working remotely three-to-five days per week than they would be at the office on a daily basis. Other surveys find little-to-no change in productivity from remote workers.
Tech giants such as Google, Facebook, and others are allowing workers to stay home until next summer. Some companies including Microsoft are rolling out hybrid workplace models that mix remote work with an actual office.
“While people will certainly head back to offices after all the dust has settled, remote work and hybrid models are here to stay — and Voodle is the perfect solution to keep teams happy, productive and in sync,” Key said.
Another new Seattle startup called Spot is also jumping at the opportunity presented by remote work with software that acts as a “home base” for colleagues. Spot is led by founders from Outreach, the billion-dollar Seattle-based enterprise sales software startup.
Voodle has 15 employees and plans to double its headcount with the fresh cash.
The investors who participated in the $6 million round all previously backed Pixvana.
“We see Voodle as a new business tool that’s effortlessly integrated into the everyday workflow,” Tim Porter, managing director at Madrona Venture Group, said in a statement. “It’s simple and effective – but, as importantly, it’s also fun to use.”
Founded in 2015, Pixvana had shifted from targeting consumers to an enterprise focus via VR training services.
Key, a former leader at Microsoft and Adobe, previously sold Seattle hotel marketing startup Buuteeq to Priceline in 2014.