Former Yext CEO launches Roam to provide a virtual HQ for distributed teams • TechCrunch

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Roam, which bills itself as the “cloud headquarters” of remote distributed companies, today emerged from its disguise with $30 million in Series A funding led by IVP with the participation of undisclosed angel investors. CEO Howard Lerman said the slide, which comes after a previously undisclosed initial round of $10.6 million that values ​​the company at $95 million after money, will be put into market access efforts in the United States and abroad.

Lerman previously co-founded and leads Yext, a publicly traded brand management company that uses a cloud-based network of apps and search engines to keep company information up to date across the web. When Yext’s workforce moved to remote work during the pandemic, Lerman realized that employees lost their “spontaneity of chance,” spent more time in meetings and began losing sight of what other meetings were going on and what their colleagues were doing.

“I had this flash of insight – what if there was a panoramic view of all the zooms going on in a company at the same time that everyone could see? Better still, what if people could move between them so they could engage when necessary and then quickly move on to the step Next?” Lerman told TechCrunch via email.

In Lerman’s view, transitions into a remote workforce often don’t happen overnight. One exploratory study He suggests that nearly half of employees – 46% – find remote work, at least in the early stages, which can make it difficult to maintain professional relationships with key stakeholders.

That was the inspiration for Roam, which provides what Lerman calls cloud-based “flexible spaces” for workers at home, in the office, and in the field. Lerman says the map view in Roam allows workers to see what’s going on and have “project attendance,” as well as chat with colleagues via text or video chat.

Lerman hasn’t revealed much about it – it’s early days for Roam, which currently has about 40 corporate clients. But he argued that the platform as it exists today can save significant time compared to typical remote setups.

Image credits: roaming

“I found that my personal social minutes dropped by more than 40% when I switched from Zoom to Roam from 4.5 hours a day to 2.6 hours a day. The average social time on Roam is eight minutes, which is an amazing number when you think about the Pre-scheduled world of 30 and 60 minute zoom periods.

Shorter, fewer meetings can lead to cost savings by improving productivity. modern one study from the University of North Carolina found that unnecessary meetings waste about $25,000 per employee per year, which translates to $101 million per year for any organization with more than 5,000 employees.

Roam isn’t the first startup trying to tackle the challenges of working remotely with a cloud-based workspace. In fact, there is Dozens of virtual HQ platforms, some project-supported and others supported, integrating gamification and productivity into a service. in August, comospace It raised $21 million for its platform that takes advantage of lo-fi graphics and game-like mechanics to create a sense of synergy. Meets It is another big winner (although layoffs) in the space, having raised a total of $77 million from investors including Sequoia, Index and Y Combinator.

It’s not just start-ups. Microsoft launched this summer Viva Eng, which is an in-house social media app for employee engagement. Other companies are experimenting with virtual reality and apps like Oculus for Business or Horizon Workrooms, with the goal of boosting collaboration through immersive meetings for remote workers.

But Lerman strongly believes that Roam is differentiated, having invested all the seed around himself. He notes that as many as 77% of jobs in the United States are now either remote or hybrid, according to Gallup in March 2022. voterepresent a huge base of potential clients.

In fact, after more than two years of working remotely, Many employees have no interest In return to the office. not everything Business be Behind the changesbut there’s no denying that the pandemic has rewrote the rules around the workplace — to the benefit of startups like Roam, likely.

“We are in the midst of a major shift in the platform from in-office workplaces to many more remote and hybrid models. In the pre-pandemic 2019 era, [only] “40% of American jobs were either telecommuting or hybrid,” said Lerman. “The pandemic has dramatically accelerated the pace of distributed business and the need for cloud headquarters. No matter how big or how well they perform, the future of business is the most important issue for nearly every company right now.”

Roam has 15 employees and plans to hire five more by the end of the year. Lerman declined to disclose financial data, including revenue numbers, when asked.

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