Published On: Sun, Jun 20th, 2021

Polywork gets $3.5M to mix veteran and amicable networking

Life is difficult and so — increasingly — is work-life. That’s a grounds underpinning Polywork, a new veteran amicable network founded by Lystable/Kalo founder, Peter Johnson.

It’s announcing a $3.5 million seed turn today, led by by Caffeinated Capital’s Ray Tonsing (who it records was a initial financier in Clubhouse, Airtable and Brex), with appearance from a founders of YouTube (Steve Chen), Twitch (Kevin Lin), PayPal (Max Levchin), VSCO (Joel Flory), Behance (Scott Belsky), and Worklife VC (Brianne Kimmel) — to name a few of a prolonged list of angels.

As a list illustrates, Johnson, an ex-Googler (and TC terrain alum), isn’t brief of contacts to daub adult for his new startup — carrying pulled so many VC into Lystable/Kalo.

Albeit we’ve also schooled that his progressing startup, that was focused on collection to assistance companies conduct freelancers and gig workers, is no longer active. Kalo/Lystable has strike a deadpool.

We’re told a founders took a preference to lift a block after being incompetent to remonstrate investors to keep ancillary a business — that had, presumably, been exceedingly impacted by a pestilence as companies laid off freelancers.

Although, in parallel, VC investment has been issuing into startups building marketplaces to assistance companies work with outmost talent (as a remote work bang is clearly pushing some-more stretchable ways of working) so it’s not transparent where accurately Kalo went wrong — maybe a concentration on government collection was simply being overtaken by some-more entirely featured marketplaces that are baking in a kind of admin support a SaaS offered.

Lystable/Kalo had lifted tighten to $30M over a 7 year run, per Crunchbase, including from some of a same investors putting income into Polywork. Though many of a latter’s investors aren’t a same and demeanour to be entrance some-more from a social/entertainment side.

So what is Johnson’s new startup all about? It’s still focused on a universe of work. It’s his “moonshot mission” — which, we’re told, has been fed by learnings gleaned from Lystable about formulating a veteran network.

But if we take a demeanour during a site it’s a lot some-more Twitter in demeanour and feel than LinkedIn. So a amicable component is unequivocally being put front and core here.

A Polywork form (Image credits: Polywork)

In short, Polywork sums to a Twitter-style amicable feed where professionals can post updates about what they’re adult to (in work and, if they like, in life too).

Users skills and interests (e.g. “UX design”, “founder”, “dinosaur enthusiast”); celebrity quirks (“introvert”); and achievements (“life partner”) — or indeed a conflicting (“bad golfer”, “failure”) — can be displayed as tradition badges during a tip of their form — again with a possibility to brew personal and veteran to offer a fuller mural of who we are and what we offer.

In a feed itself, particular posts can be given associated tags (e.g. “conducted user research”, that files underneath “UX Design”) — to illustrate applicable activity. (Clicking on a specific badge shows a sliced perspective of that user’s associated tagged content.)

The outcome is an interface that feels gamified and spontaneous — where you’re actively speedy to inject your possess celebrity — though that is concurrently dictated for display off work activity and achievements.

On a veteran networking side, a proceed allows users to get a discerning visible overview of an particular — maybe fleshing out some of a dry sum they already saw on their LinkedIn comment — and fast navigate to particular examples of specific activity. Recruiters or others looking for veteran ice-breakers will substantially penchant a possibility to find some-more benefaction element to work with, forward of creation a cold pitch.

Polywork also lets users send partnership requests to others on a network — aka, a chronicle of LinkedIn’s in-mail. But (thankfully) it looks like users have controls to set possibly or not they’re open to receiving such requests or not.

It’s positively loyal that home and work have never been so blended as now, given a pandemic-fuelled remote work boom.

At a same time professionals competence good — out of prerequisite — be some-more focused on a operation of skills and interests they have or can acquire, rather than observation any singular pursuit pretension as defining them, as was loyal for progressing generations of workers. As a observant goes, there’s no such thing as a ‘job for life’ anymore.

Career paths are complicated, multi-faceted — and, for some, competence be some-more a tapestry, than a linear trajectory.

Polywork’s Millennial-friendly grounds is so to offer a place where people can benefaction a some-more personal and well-rounded season of themselves as professionals and people — encompassing not usually their skills and work achievements though their passions, quirks and obsessions — display off a lot some-more than feels probable (or sensible) in a undisturbed precinct of LinkedIn.

That said, LinkedIn isn’t a usually place for professionals to demonstrate themselves of course; People are already doing that all a time over on amicable media sites like Twitter (or indeed Instagram for some-more visually disposed professions).

Either amicable network is fundamentally already an spontaneous veteran network in a possess right — though a need for badges or labels (hashtags do a sincerely decent job).

So while Polywork’s product pattern competence demeanour inviting, perplexing to reinvent a networking circle is positively a large challenge.

It’s not usually fighting for courtesy with tedious veteran networks like LinkedIn (which everybody loves to hate), it’s treading directly into rarely contested amicable media territory. Er, good fitness with that! 

Convincing people to transcribe their amicable networking activity — or indeed embankment their existent hard-won amicable media networks — looks like a large ask. So a risk is irrelevance, notwithstanding a flattering interface. (Sure LinkedIn is tedious — but, guys, a whole indicate is that it’s low maintenance… )

Polywork’s name and truth suggests it competence be fine with being combined to a existent brew of veteran and amicable networks, i.e. rather than replacing either. But, well, a extra veteran network sounds like a bit of a sideline.

Polywork launched in Apr though isn’t disclosing user numbers nonetheless — and is now handling a wait list for pointer ups.

Commenting on a seed appropriation in a matter Caffeinated Capital’s Tonsing said: “There’s a new era that wants to work and live on their possess terms, not unfailing for a singular lane identity. The pestilence accelerated this trend and humans are reevaluating who they are and what’s many critical to them in life. Polywork will chaperon in and promote this permanent change in tellurian behavior. We’re vehement to partner with Peter again!”

Lystable adds Max Levchin to a list of investors subsidy a gig economy SaaS

LinkedIn confirms it’s operative on a Clubhouse rival, too

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