Spekit raises $12.2 million Series A to shape the future of learning at work
Today, we announce a monumental milestone in the life of our company. Spekit has raised a $12 million Series A, led by Foundry Group and Renegade Partners, with participation from GTMfund, Operator Collective, Matchstick Ventures and Bonfire Ventures.
It’s meaningful for several reasons. First, because it means we were able to convince a new set of phenomenal investors, who’ve invested in some of the most impactful companies of the last decade, to believe in our vision and ability to execute on solving a massive problem. They recognized the potential Spekit has to revolutionize the way employees learn and work by leveraging technology, intelligence and data.
Personally, it’s also an incredible achievement for me and my co-founder, Zari Zahra. By raising this round, we proved that two women could succeed despite lacking prior entrepreneurial experience, coding backgrounds, or a Stanford dropout story. We could tackle a problem we experienced firsthand and translate the solution into a successful and growing business (this video snippet by our new board member, Roseanne Wincek, highlights this well!).
In 2021, being female founders who have raised a Series A should no longer be an anomaly. But, the truth of the matter is that we’re still only one of a select few who have reached this point in the software enterprise space.
To me, this is exciting because it means we have the opportunity to be the example that I wish I’d had throughout my childhood, education and career. Today, less than 2% of funds invested in new business ideas go to women. There are a lot of factors that I believe influence this statistic, but the one I have the hardest time coming to terms with is that there are simply not enough women asking for it.
There are not enough women in a position to take a chance on themselves and bet on a big idea. Very few women grew up believing that something like this would be possible. That’s why this milestone not only validates our vision, product and team but also gives Spekit a platform to influence change and be an example for other young girls and female entrepreneurs who dare to dream big.
I’ve spent some time reflecting on what I wanted our readers to take away from this blog post. Part of me is excited to share more about the team we’ll be building and the roadmap we’re executing on but our press release does a pretty nice job of that.
Instead, I’d like to share the vision that has expanded dramatically since we started the company a little more than three years ago. It’s the WHY behind Spekit that makes me excited to get out of bed every morning, fuels me through the ups and downs of scaling a company and drives our team to deliver the same kind of joy to our customers that you’ll see in the video below:
Reverse-engineering for the modern workforce
Science drives everything – the way we heal our bodies, the way we operate, you name it. Yet it’s often overlooked and undervalued when it comes to the way we work. At Spekit, we fundamentally believe that the only way we can solve the challenges that exist in today’s workplace is by leaning on a foundation backed by science. That’s why instead of trying to simply enhance functionality already on the market, we knew we needed to reverse-engineer a solution based on the core fundamentals of how our adult brains function, absorb information, retain knowledge and develop habits.
This shift in mindset provided us the opportunity to build a platform that was beyond simply the latest LMS or a digital adoption tool with extra bells and whistles. By centralizing our focus on how employees actually learn, we were able to flip the traditional model on its head and completely revolutionize the way teams work in the modern world.
Time, massive impact and joy
The three core drivers behind our vision are time, massive impact and joy. Combined, they form the symbiotic relationship that is our vision for the future. Allow me to explain:
There’s a reason you see a never-ending slew of articles on how to be more productive, better prioritize and manage your time. In this fast-paced, always-on, digital age, we are dealing with more distractions and juggling priorities than ever before. As such, there’s nothing worse than wasted time.
I also believe that time is your greatest competitive advantage and I witnessed this firsthand in a previous role. The company was tackling a massive opportunity aiming to bring widespread access to real estate investments. They’d raised $60 million in funding and scaled the team. They had the backing, the vision, the people – but what’s the one commodity they couldn’t buy more of? Time. Without more time to prove the solution, more time to solve the problem, the company didn’t survive.
It’s through those challenges that I saw time in a different light. I wanted to understand where things went wrong. So I looked across the organization, analyzing where our time had been invested. What I saw was hundreds and thousands of hours spent tackling internal challenges around our Salesforce and other technology investments. I saw the months invested in training new employees on everything they needed to know about our tools, industry, vocabulary, processes, policies, competitors, value propositions and sales plays.
I couldn’t help but wonder: what if we had a faster route to onboarding that enabled our new hires to master their roles in weeks instead of months? What if our employees didn’t have to spend hours every week looking for answers to questions, resources and process guidance because it was seamlessly accessible and integrated where they were working? Essentially: what if there’s a better way?
If we had been able to reduce the time spent on those challenges, we would have had:
- More time to put our brainpower and creativity into solving the problem we were going after
- A sales team selling faster and smarter
- Technology investments speeding us up instead of slowing us down
- More time to put toward helping employees master their craft, communication skills and tackling the bigger challenges
This brings me to the second driver…
Spekit isn’t solving world hunger, finding a cure for cancer, or any of the hundreds of more notable and truly world-changing problems. However, millions of employees around the world work for companies striving to solve these challenges. I truly believe that if we’re able to help those employees develop proficiency in their roles or be faster and be more productive at work, then we’re giving them back the gift of time which has the potential for massive impact in their respective companies.
That’s why tackling a problem like learning is so invigorating. It’s a universal challenge. Our customers include nonprofit companies who are protecting our future from the negative impact of technology and media, organizations protecting the future of the environment and health institutions who are helping to distribute the COVID-19 vaccine to the public.
By giving the employees within these companies the opportunity to be more productive and effective in their roles, I hope we’ve played our small part in contributing to the greater good.
This brings me to my last point…
There are few greater things in life than spreading joy.
As someone who dedicates a vast majority of my time to work, I’ve become acutely aware of the impact that work-life has on your personal life. While I greatly admire those who are able to completely turn off work when they get home, I believe many of us have a hard time completely separating the two.
It’s hard to let go of the stress and frustration that a bad day of work has on your psyche, personal life and in return, your relationships.
That’s why building a culture that unifies people, drives personal and professional growth and brings joy to our employees is so important to me.
One of the areas that I believe joy has largely been lost in the workplace is learning. This article eloquently summarizes my beliefs. I truly believe that learning brings a sense of illumination, immediate gratification, fulfillment, a sense of freedom and independence.
Think back for a moment to when you were a child. Remember the joy of learning new facts about the world and the way it works? Yet in the workplace today, the words “training” and “change” are often met with resistance, apprehension and fear.
I think the reason behind it is quite simple. While learning is an innate human desire that all employees have in common, the way we’re delivering that learning is outdated, scientifically ineffective and doesn’t align with the way employees actually want to learn.
The solution? Make learning a natural, integrated part of an employee’s day-to-day. Make it personalized to them, contextually relevant and something that they want to use because it helps them perform better within their roles.
We have an opportunity to make learning less of a tedious obligation or one-time event. We have an opportunity to seamlessly interweave learning into the process of work and create a world where employees actually LOVE to learn. This is how we bring joy back into learning in the workplace. And that is our vision for Spekit.
The digital world is here to stay
While I don’t know what the business world will look like after COVID-19, one thing I’m confident of is that many companies will adopt a more dispersed workplace or incorporate remote-flexible policies.
With that, a lot will change. The competition to be a company where employees want to invest their time just got a lot higher with thousands of remote jobs now accessible. Your ability to make their lives easier and help them be successful will now be one of your core competitive advantages for both recruitment and retention. Creating a better employee experience is no longer a nice-to-have, it’s a must, and the bar is only going to continue to be raised higher.
I could spend hours digging into how we view the future and what we’re building to accomplish that vision, but these core components should give you a clear understanding of the WHY behind Spekit.
While the thrill of this journey has been rewarding (and incredibly challenging) – this is only the beginning and we couldn’t be more grateful to have the privilege to build this new world.
Thank you to every employee at Spekit who has taken a career bet on us to help see this vision through. Thank you to all of our customers for the trust, support and patience along the way. We are so incredibly excited to make you proud for trusting us to help you build better employee experiences. Thank you to our wonderful investors who have taken this bet on the Spekit team to tackle this problem; thank you for providing such tremendous guidance as we navigate this journey together.
Lastly, thank you to our incredible networks — the friends and family who have believed in us since day one. I know I personally wouldn’t have made it without you.
Cheers to reimagining how technology, data and intelligence can be leveraged to drive learning, productivity and joy in the workplace!