As of November 2020, 69% of remote workers report feeling detached from their coworkers, and Gatheround — now equipped with $3.5 million in seed funding through investments from Homebrew, Bloomberg Beta, and Stripe’s COO — aims to solve this. The virtual team-building platform plans to focus its funding on product development and reaching new consumer markets.
Initially created for speed dating, Gatheround’s larger potential emerged when users started using the platform for weekly company meetings and happy hours. Last Saturday, the company rebranded itself, dropped its former name, Icebreaker, and officially relaunched as Gatheround.
In a time where communicating online is increasingly common, Gatheround is using its interactive services to facilitate deeper emotional connections across virtual formats. Its new funding could allow the company to further its footprint in the Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) subscription space and revolutionize the way colleagues connect.
Using Interactive Features to Enhance Remote Connections
Working online has its drawbacks. Getting to know others through a screen is challenging and has the potential to manifest itself into isolation fatigue — a feeling of exhaustion due to detachment.
“For remote companies, a big challenge or problem that is now bordering on a crisis is how to build connection, trust and empathy between people that aren’t sharing a physical space,” said Lisa Conn, COO and Co-Founder of Gatheround.
Gatheround aims to bridge this gap by giving employees interactive tools that mimic the energy of an in-person office environment.
“We’re fundamentally a connection platform, here to help organizations connect their people via real-time events that are not just really fun, but meaningful,” said Conn.
The company has seen 260,000 total clients engage on its virtual platform, according to Techcrunch. Among its other high-profile customers are Asana, Coinbase, and Fiverr.
Gatheround offers three unique subscription plans that each promote company culture and employee involvement. These tiers are either for individuals hosting small teams and intimate gatherings (personal tier), larger gatherings (pro tier), or sizable companies looking to conduct activities or host events across numerous departments (pro+SSO tier).
Recently, Gatheround added new features like small-group matching (which pairs up participants), group share, and an internal YouTube player where people can broadcast and learn from videos.
“These features reflect the generous feedback of our thousands of partners. And as always, time-saving tools like smart matching and ready-to-run event templates take the stress and guesswork out of hosting,” said Gatheround’s CEO Perry Rosenstein.
Through funds from Homebrew, Bloomberg Beta, and Stripe, Gatheround plans to add even more functionality to its services.
“It was a no-brainer to back Gatheround, and I can’t wait to see the impact they have on society,” said Bloomberg Beta’s James Cham. “They care about helping the world unite and feel connected, and have spent their entire careers building organizations to make that happen.”
Achieving Productivity Through a Healthy Company Culture
The pandemic led more Americans to work remotely, and over 55% of employees worked online in February 2021. While remote work offers more flexibility, it can be difficult for colleagues to interact with each other and keep a positive attitude.
Gatheround’s subscription features provide ways for businesses to better engage with their workforce, which can potentially increase employee productivity and profitability. Nearly 90% of job seekers and 94% of entrepreneurs say a healthy work culture is crucial for their success, according to Team Stage.
“We believe stronger communities are the antidote to isolation and the key to human happiness,” Gatheround states. Each move the company makes reflects “the mission of helping communities, companies, and teams feel a sense of togetherness and belonging, no matter where their people are.”
Gatheround provides users with a variety of event templates, or users can create their own event theme. Among 47 pre-made templates are “The Watercooler” for casual team bonding, “Weekly Team Wrap Up” to reflect on the workweek, and “Anti-Racism Workshop,” which educates employees on allyship, power, and privilege.
From hands-on workshops to informal gatherings, the company aims to foster human connection in a variety of ways.
“The more that [leaders and managers can think] about what it takes to bring out the best in every single person, while simultaneously meeting the needs of the market and the clients, that’s really what’s going to bring focus to the future,” said Gallup’s COO, Jane Miller.
Gatheround’s attention to the U.S. workforce’s emotional intelligence may continue to drive its success for years to come. This new funding round could allow the SaaS platform to revolutionize the way employees engage with one another outside of the office, even once the pandemic is over.
- Gatheround acquired $3.5 million in seed funding through large investments from Homebrew, Bloomberg Beta, and Stripe. It plans to use this money to fund product development and tap into new consumer markets.
- 55% of Americans worked online in February 2021, and 69% of remote workers report feeling disconnected from their coworkers.
- Gatheround looks to give employees interactive tools that can mimic an in-person office environment and satisfy their human connection needs.