Two former Atlassian and Culture Amp executives put their employee analytics and collaboration expertise together to start Pyn, a Sydney-based company focusing on employee learning and communications.
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Formed last year by Joris Luijke and Jon Williams, Pyn is in position for growth. The company has been buoyed by a $2.2 million seed round led by Accel, with participation from Skip Capital, Scott Farquhar, co-founder and co-CEO of Atlassian, and Jay Simons, the former president of Atlassian, Luijke told Crunchbase News.
The company will use the new funding to boost its staff of four. Luijke said he would like to double the team, especially in marketing and product development, over the next year.
“We are thinking of getting people back to Australia as it is doing a lot better than the U.S. in terms of COVID-19,” he said. “We are also taking advantage of the shift to remote.”
Pyn’s employee-centric communication tool cuts through the clutter of messages in order to send only relevant and well-timed messages at key moments. The tool is able to identify if it is an employee’s first day on the job, or gets promoted, or even comes back from parental leave, and sends them pertinent information.
For example, if it is your first day back in the office, it might send you a back-to-work plan, or if you get promoted and have direct reports, it will send some information on how to do one-on-one meetings and reports. If you are traveling for the first time, it might provide information on how to do expense reports and even tell you what there is to do in the town you are going to, Luijke said.
“Now that people are more remote, you have to be careful that though they are out of sight, they are not out of mind,” he added. “If you have people working in different countries, it is hard to track moments, as well as local contacts and the time zone. If you don’t have a machine doing this, how can you do this? HR and corporate communications are struggling with this.”
What investors are saying
As part of the investment, Accel’s general partner Rich Wong is joining the company’s board. This investment is a homecoming of sorts for Wong, who was one of the original backers of Atlassian 10 years ago.
“When people ask what I look for in founders, I say I authentically love the problem they are solving and have a sense of the problem more so than about the mouse trap,” Wong said in an interview. “Joris and Jon represent that for me. They have the right background, from their time at Atlassian and Culture Amp, respectively, to understand the problem.”
Next steps for Pyn
Luijke said the company will lean in to better understand solutions that complicated, distributed workforces have.
“We’re building a startup during a pandemic, so it is kind of amazing because we experienced, ourselves, what we were building for other people,” he said. “There is an interesting set of companies approaching the problem with a different lens. We wonder what will be the 2.0 that is going to be fascinating to see, and we think Pyn is one of those products.”
Illustration: Dom Guzman