Posted May 27, 2021

Our investment in Pyn was announced earlier today. Joris and Jon are building a key aspect of enabling a future of work that we all want to be a part of with Pyn, and here’s why: 

Great communication is a hallmark of great companies. Usually people think about this as it relates to how a company communicates with its customers. Two decades into SaaS, nearly every customer-facing category has a myriad of tools (and some seriously huge companies) that power creating, sending, and analyzing everything from customer marketing collateral to customer support interactions. These tools have transformed the go-to-market motion, enabling companies to bring their products to market with messaging that is personalized and on-demand, and in turn, made it easier than ever for customers to consume technology. But there’s not been a similar evolution in the way companies communicate with an arguably more important stakeholder at their business – their own employees.

Sure, managers can email their specific team via a given email alias, CEOs can send a note to all@, some large companies have SMS alert systems for emergencies, and anyone can blast a message letting folks know there are holiday cupcakes in the break room. But powerful tools to deliver the right communication from the right leader to the right employee at the right time has never existed before. It’s a missing link in the office, and even more so in the hybrid and work-from-home environment we’re living in today.

The communications component is just half the battle. Team training and management coaching is a key component in building and retaining a successful workforce. As good managers know, managing teams is hard. But managing teams of managers can be even harder. Helping mentor a manager to greatness isn’t the same as coaching an individual contributor to success. Because it’s such a complex problem, the reality is, most startups have neither the time nor the experience to ever train managers. 

The old adage goes that people don’t leave companies; they leave bad managers. Training managers and enabling effective communication is a key part of creating a great work environment. How do you have a 1:1 with your direct reports? How do you give feedback? How do you solicit feedback? How do you recognize achievements? How do you create career development opportunities? For employee growth, development, and retention, these questions matter. And it doesn’t just matter that managers are conducting some version of these management responsibilities, but it’s crucial that these practices are aligned consistently across an organization.

That’s where Pyn comes in.

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. It’s personalized employee communication that can make a big impact on productivity, development, and longevity. However, 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 organization. Pyn delivers a library of management playbooks. For instance, once an employee is designated as a new manager in the Human Resource Information System (HRIS), Pyn can initiate the onboarding processes for that new manager instead of waiting for some version of quarterly new manager training.

And there isn’t a better team to tackle this than founders Joris Luijke and Jon Williams. Joris has held VP of People titles at companies like Atlassian and Squarespace, where he’s experienced firsthand the struggles that leaders face in communicating to their employees and delivering world-class coaching. Paired with Jon’s background as the cofounder of CultureAmp, it’s hard to imagine a better duo of founders to build Pyn. Pyn is also extremely personal to each of them. It’s 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.

With so many workforces moving to a remote-first model, and employees scattered across the globe, it’s even more crucial that company communications come on a regular, thoughtful cadence, customized for specific geos, functions, and employee needs. How an employee is onboarded into a new company matters tremendously in setting a tone for their success at the business, but it becomes increasingly more difficult to control that experience in a remote setting. Pyn fits just that use case with its product – another example that they’re building in this market at just the right time. 

We’re thrilled to lead Pyn’s seed round and work closely with Joris and Jon as they bring such an important product to market.