Riff founders

Riff secures £1.15 million Seed investment led by Balderton Capital

Riff raises $1.5 million from Balderton and Seedcamp for its game-changing voice-chat tool that will finally make working from home feel more like being in the office

  • Riff mimics the instant, collaborative interactions you get from working in an office, while working from home or from remote locations
  • It’s the digital equivalent of turning to a colleague in an open-plan office and combines the immediacy of phone calls with the traceability of Slack and email
  • Balderton Capital led the Seed round with participation from Seedcamp and angel investors Carlos Gonzalez-Cadenas, Nicolas Brusson and Tim Sadler
  • The investment will be used to launch Riff into public beta later this year ahead of a general release in 2021

LONDON: Riff – the voice-first chat tool set to revolutionise how teams communicate when working remotely – has raised $1.5million in a Seed round led by Balderton Capital, with participation from Seedcamp, and angels including Carlos Gonzalez-Cadenas, COO of GoCardless, Nicolas Brusson, CEO of BlaBlaCar and Tim Sadler, CEO of Tessian.  

Set up by CEO Isabel Bescos (former head of corporate strategy at BlaBlaCar, and former member of Balderton’s investment team), with CTO Matthew Scheybeler, (co-founder of Silicon Valley’s pioneering video search tool, blinkx), Riff is positioned as the answer to the everyday pain points felt by teams trying to communicate from different locations. 

For all the benefits of working remotely – for both employees and employers – it can be a lonely, frustrating experience particularly when trying to establish a team culture or work collaboratively. Email is formal but cumbersome. Instant messaging is quick but distracting. Video calls need multiple apps, links, passwords and calendar integrations to schedule, and phone calls usually mean switching your headphones to a new source, or trying to type while holding the phone.

Riff hits the sweet spot between the instant interaction and traceability of Slack, with immediacy and the ease of communication that comes from phone conversations and the security of company-wide email – all without having to schedule calls and organise unnecessary meetings.  

It mimics the instant, collaborative interactions you get from working in an office, and is the digital equivalent of turning to a colleague in an open-plan office. A voice-first tool, it gets people as close to working alongside their colleagues as possible, even when they’re hundreds of miles apart.

Riff CEO, Isabel Bescos, said:

For years, companies have been searching for ways to make office communications faster. Not just for when team members are working from home, but between teams on different floors, different offices or across time zones. None have quite managed to combine speed and efficiency with security and minimal disruption until now. Plus, the potential of Riff is huge. We’re only just scratching the surface of what such a communication tool can do and offer to companies and it’s an exciting road to be on.” 

Suranga Chandratillake, General Partner at Balderton, said:

“We are inundated with notifications, pop-ups, chat tools and various distractions vying for our attention when trying to communicate and work with others. Yet none have managed to get to the crux of what it’s really like to be able to collaborate quickly with colleagues in an office. As more of us work remotely, there needs to be a better way. We see huge potential in Riff’s unique approach to solving this challenge, and we’re thrilled to partner with them to bring its array of benefits to more companies.”

Carlos Espinal, Managing Partner at Seedcamp, added:

“The need to communicate with team members, many of which are distributed around the world in times like these, is more important than ever. We are very excited to back Isabel, Matthew and their vision for Riff to reduce the pain that teams have in making communications more spontaneous and more relevant.”

Riff is currently in private beta and the startup is actively seeking companies to put Riff and its benefits to the test. You can apply for the private beta here

The investment will be used to launch Riff into public beta later this year ahead of a general release in 2021 and for recruitment. 

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About Riff 

Riff was founded by CEO Isabel Bescos (former head of corporate strategy at BlaBlaCar, and former member of Balderton’s investment team), with CTO Matthew Scheybeler, (co-founder of Silicon Valley’s pioneering video search tool, blinkx). Its voice-first tool and technology is the first of its kind, designed to mimic the instant, collaborative interactions you get from working in an office while working remotely. Investors include Balderton Capital, Seedcamp, and angels including Carlos Gonzalez-Cadenas, COO of GoCardless, Nicolas Brusson, CEO of BlaBlaCar and Tim Sadler, CEO of Tessian.  

About Balderton Capital

Balderton Capital is a London-based venture firm focused exclusively on backing the best European-founded technology companies. In the two decades since our founding, we have worked with hundreds of extraordinary European founders, and have raised eight funds totalling more than $3bn. Balderton’s most recent funds were the early-stage Balderton VII, raised in November 2019, and Liquidity I, Europe’s first venture fund dedicated to secondary investments in European-founded, growth-stage technology startups, raised in October 2018.  Previous exited investments include Betfair (FTSE: BET), Digital Surgery (Medtronic), Frontier Car Group (OLX Group), Magic Pony (Twitter), NaturalMotion (Zynga), Recorded Future (Insight Partners), Sunrise (Microsoft), Talend (NASDAQ: TLND) and Yoox Net-a-Porter (BIT: YNAP). Among Balderton’s current portfolio of over 90 companies are Aircall, Carwow, Citymapper, Contentful, Darktrace, Depop, GoCardless, The Hut Group, Kobalt Music, Nutmeg, Peakon, Prodigy Finance, Revolut, SOPHiA Genetics, Tessian, Vestiaire Collective, Vivino, Voi Technology, and Zego.