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Funding

Andreessen Horowitz backs $10m seed round in a Sydney startup co-founded by Atlassian and Culture Amp execs

- May 31, 2021 2 MIN READ
home office woman working
US investment giant Andreessen Horowitz has led a $10.3 million (US$8m) investment in a Sydney startup tackling better workplace communication.

Pyn was founded by Joris Luijke, the former VP of People at Atlassian and Squarespace, and CultureAmp co-founder, Jon Williams. The startup launched last year and raised a US$2.1m pre-seed round led by Accel Partners, Skip Capital and Atlassian president Jay Simons.

Skip and Accel returned for the latest round, with Ryan Sanders, co-founder of BambooHR, also coming on board as a new investor. Andreessen Horowitz backed Pyn through its startup fund a16z.

a16z partner David Ulevitch said they were keen to make their first investment in an Australian startup because Pyn offered the missing link in the internal business communications in an era of hybrid and work-from-home offices.

“Pyn is an internal communications tool that leaders across executive and people operations teams can deploy for bespoke communications to a target group of employees, at just the right time. No more mass internal emails that employees grow to ignore,” he said.

“Pyn is far more than a communications power tool that optimally disseminates information. It also treats employee communication channels as the rails upon which to orchestrate management practices across an organisation.”

Ulevitch praised Luijke saying he’d experienced firsthand the struggles leaders face in communicating to their employees, and the experience Williams had as Culture Amp’s co-founder.

He said Pyn is: “the product Joris always wished he had as a people ops leader, and a massive gap in the people ops technology landscape that compelled Jon, a veteran founder in the space, to get back in the ring to start his third company”.

Ulevitch said how an employee is onboarded in the era of remote work sets the tone for their success at a business, but is now more difficult to control.

“Pyn fits just that use case with its product – another example that they’re building in this market at just the right time,” he said.

 

Hybrid workplace challenges

The startup’s customers include Shopify, Rubrik and Carta.

Announcing the $10.3 million investment, Luijke and Williams said they’d talked to hundreds of business leaders these past months and it was clear that hybrid work had multiple challenges.

Employees have largely stopped reading corporate communications, the duo said and based on our data, 60% is not read at all and 80% of employees say they don’t get much value from it.

“People are feeling overwhelmed by the volume of corporate communications, and the uncertainties of working remotely,” they said.

“Pyn tackles such problems with an appreciation for people’s personal circumstances – where, how, and when they work best.”

Pyn has launched on the BambooHR Marketplace and the company is looking to hire more staff as it build the plaform

David Ulevich said Pyn is among a new wave of tools that enable companies to set up successful hybrid organisations.  

“Our firm is investing heavily in tools that help build high performing hybrid organisations,” he said.

“We’ll see more distributed tech hubs all around the world. All you need is a laptop, and you can be anywhere. Our investment strategy follows this trend.”

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