An example of a GeekWire virtual office created with Spot. (Spot Photos)
New financing: Spot, a year-old company led by the founders of billion dollar startup Outreach, has raised $ 1.7 million.
Company background: GeekWire spotted Spot back in June when it was in stealth mode. The 7-person startup creates software that creates a virtual representation of an office. Spot CEO Gordon Hempton compared it to “The Sims for the Company”.
Hundreds of virtual worlds have been created using Spot for Events and / or a virtual headquarters. The software is still in a closed beta. “Moving forward, we plan to create a true digital world that connects teams both inside and outside their organizations,” said Hempton.
Tailwind: The pandemic-induced move to remote work leads to the introduction of virtual work tools – from video conferencing to collaboration software. Spot competes with startups like the virtual office space platforms Gather, which just raised $ 26 million, and Teamflow, which just raised $ 11 million. There are also a bevy of others like Virbela and Branch who sell similar virtual HQ software.
Some companies, including Amazon, want employees to be fully back in the office, but many – like the Zillow Group and Microsoft – are adopting hybrid workplaces or distributed workforce models. This is good news for startups like Spot.
Founder: Hempton left Outreach in October 2019, while its co-founder Wes Hather left in 2020. You helped Andrew Kinzer and Manny Medina launch the unicorn startup in Seattle seven years ago. Kinzer left the company in March 2020 and Medina remains CEO of Outreach, which sells sales automation software and raised a $ 50 million round in June. Medina previously told GeekWire that its co-founders left on good terms.
Prior to their outreach days, Hempton and Hather helped start a Y Combinator grad named Team Apart, who developed a real-time web collaboration tool for remote teams.
Investors: The Seattle Founders’ Co-op is one of Spot’s supporters. The investment in Spot is the company’s largest initial investment to date and the first of the new Founders’ Co-op fund. The company is familiar with Hempton and Hather as it was an early investor in outreach.