By Somesh Dash and Jason Kong
Today, IVP is excited to announce our investment in Humu, a behavioral change software company helping people increase productivity (and in turn happiness!) through proprietary technology rooted in science and machine learning. IVP is the lead investor in a $30M Series B round of financing, with Somesh Dash joining the board as a Director. We are thrilled to be partnering with the company founders Laszlo Bock, Wayne Crosby, and Jessie Wisdom , and existing investor Index Ventures to change how the world works.
Working to Live or Living to Work?
“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” The 154 million working adults in the United States spend on average 8.28 hours working each day according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. For the 128 million Americans classified as working full time (>35 hours weekly), the average rises to 8.81 hours, more than the amount we spend daily on personal care and sleep. Given that we spend more time working than anything else, we all expect that our professional experiences combine purpose, structure, learning, achievement, joy, and fulfillment.
We come into the first day at a new job green with excitement, eager to join together, and take steps towards realizing our organization’s inspirational mission. From there, the path forward diverges. Some are taken under the wings of caring and fair managers, given the shelter and nourishment to grow into our best selves while contributing to the team. Others are thrown into a mosh pit of office politics, left to wrestle with the beast of corporate bureaucracy while being nipped at the heels by workplace inequality. For those in the latter camp, many will join the nearly 50% of Americans who see their job as just what they do to earn a living, rather than anything more. We believe that work can be better and Laszlo and Wayne believe it absolutely needs to be better. Unlocking the potential of each of our current and future employment opportunities is the dream that both founders are pursuing relentlessly over the next decade.
The Happiest (Work) Place on Earth
The Disneyland of work sits nestled in Silicon Valley, a campus scattered with rainbow-colored bicycles, nap pods, and gourmet cafeterias. While the credit due to Larry Page, Sergey Brin, Eric Schmidt, Sundar Pichai, and other executives for building Google into the company it is today cannot be understated, Humu co-founder Laszlo Bock was the one to harness Google’s chief competitive differentiator: human capital. As Google’s first Senior Vice President of People Operations, Laszlo truly transformed the company’s culture and even wrote a New York Times Bestseller book called “Work Rules” that synthesized many of his learnings. During his decade-long tenure at Google, he was instrumental in the company from a 5,000 employee “start-up” to a 70,000-employee multinational organization synonymous with workplace culture. Through Laszlo’s combination of organizational behavioral theory with a data-driven approach, he created the field of “People Operations” and led Google to be named America’s Best Company to Work for six years straight. Wayne Crosby spent a decade at Google as one of the most valuable engineers in the company and received the “Great Manager Award” in 2012 for his engineering leadership. Jessie Wisdom, PhD, spent a decade leading research projects for Google’s People Innovation Lab and People Analytics teams, improving organizational decision-making and driving behavioral change throughout the company. We can’t think of anyone more suitable and experienced to make work better for all of us than the team at Humu.
A Job Well Done
Laszlo, Wayne, and Jessie started Humu in May 2017 with a mission to make work better for everyone, everywhere. They are creating a proprietary technology to empower Enterprise leaders to measure what matters (and only what matters) and to leverage people analytics (and a little bit of ) to nudge people towards being their best selves, every day. Today marks the one-year anniversary since Laszlo and Wayne birthed the company. In the past year, Humu has developed a new approach to employee engagement via their platform and gotten a number of large enterprise companies to sign up as customers.
IVP has partnered with some of the fastest growing enterprise companies of all time, including AppDynamics (acquired by Cisco), Dropbox (Nasdaq: DBX), Marketo (acquired by Vista Equity Partners), Pure Storage (NYSE: PSTG), Rubrik, and Slack. Humu shares many of the same attributes early in its company’s journey that made those companies successful. We believe that work can, and should, be better for everyone and that happier employees work better. We couldn’t be more excited to be partnering with the Humu team to bring this vision to reality in the years to come. Happy Birthday!
Somesh Dash is a General Partner at IVP, a later-stage venture capital firm based in Menlo Park, CA. Jason Kong is an Associate at IVP.