For many remote workers, work is very transactional where they spend most of their time behind a screen interacting with email signatures. This ultimately leads employees to disengage or lose productivity which costs $550 billion to US companies every year. That’s why SquadPal wants to recreate the social life of remote teams on their social community app.
The startup makes it easy to keep remote teams connected and engaged through fun asynchronous games, competitions or challenges. Their platform offers a wide range of activities which helps teams share personal moments while they are physically apart.
SquadPal announced it has raised £400k in pre-seed funding for its goal of becoming a
“Chief Happiness Officer as a Service for distributed teams”. They received investments from CapitalT VC as well as prominent angel investors such as serial angel investor Charlie Songhurst; PriceMatch Co-founder Raphaël Theron; RLC Ventures Partner Jair Paula; Heroes Co-founder Riccardo Bruni; Allplants Co-founder Jonathan Petrides; Sonalytic Co-founder and Spotify product director Martin Gould; Foundrs & Heights Co-founder Dan Murray-Serter.
Based in London (and operating remotely), SquadPal was founded in August 2020 by Robinson Nouveau, Mehdi Benbrahim and Harshit Jain. Over the last 5 years, the young co-founding team has worked in product development and analytics for some of the biggest tech companies in the world (Amazon, Microsoft, Babylon Health, Vodafone) and want to use their 4 years of experience working remotely to accelerate the transition to remote/hybrid working.
“We tried organising remote socials at work in our respective jobs but it was extremely time consuming to find the right activity to organise every single time. Also, socials are scattered across multiple platforms (Pictionary/Pub quiz websites, Slack etc) and typically happen over Zoom on yet another video call. As a result, there were a lot of drop-offs and you could see the team morale taking a big hit as teammates feel increasingly disconnected. That’s why we wanted to centralise the life of the team and make it super simple for teammates to engage and share with one another.” says the founding team.
They launched their product publicly in February 2021 and have bootstrapped their business until now. Since then, they onboarded 2,000 users from more than 500 companies. While most of their current users are fully remote workers, they also target hybrid workers and global teams (working from different locations). According to their estimates, by 2025, there will be 450 million employees working at least 2 days per week remotely.
Before adopting SquadPal, many of its users were relying on ad hoc employee led activities organised through House Party, Kahoot, or many other platforms very popular during Covid-19 lockdowns.
While employers sometimes consider sharing moments and encouraging networking at work a waste of time, it directly benefits companies. As a matter of fact, among employees without friends at work, only 28% are engaged. This percentage reaches 69% for employees who have over 25 friends (Source: Lumapps Report, 2020). As the SquadPal team puts it: “It’s not because remote teams are physically apart that they can’t be virtually together”.
Since their launch, SquadPal helped 72% of its active users to be more engaged at work where 70% of users also reported an improvement in their wellbeing at work.
When users log onto the app, they join or create a team with the 10-15 people they work with every day. They can then select an activity to start (e.g. Cutest baby competition). This gives teammates an opportunity to learn more about each other and share personal moments. A central feed shows all the latest activities from the team, whether it is a participation in a running challenge or a baking competition, and helps users stay connected.
The startup’s new investment will help it integrate within teams’ workplaces (Slack, Teams, Zoom, etc…) to provide a smooth and seamless experience to its users. SquadPal’s product pipeline also includes more curated activities and content for teams to find meaningful ways to connect while everyone is apart.