Tomfoolery, a San Francisco-based startup led by a seasoned team of software and consumer app veterans from AOL and Yahoo! announced today a $1.7 million seed funding round. The lead investors were Morado Ventures, Sutter Hill Ventures with additional participation from Andreeseen Horowitz among other investors.
Led by CEO Kakul Srivastava, former GM of Flickr and VP at Yahoo!, the company is out to bring communication and collaboration tools enterprises use daily up to speed with current trends. Srivastava spoke with BetaKit about the disparity of existing internal communication tools and how her team is out to shake things up in the space. However, she did not disclose the exact details of the product, which is currently in private beta testing, and which the team will look to launch later this year.
“What we’re trying to do, me and my co-founders, we have a very long history of building large-scale consumer apps that people love…all four of us are passionate about work,” said Srivastava in an interview. “But we found ourselves disappointed and over time frustrated with the tools we use at work. If you think about the predominant communication tools people use at work, it’s still email and IM, these products were released in the mid-80s…I think people at work deserve better. That’s what Tomfoolery is trying to do, bring a new thinking about how people communicate and build a great culture at work.”
One of the key trends the company is looking to incorporate into how and what they build is the proliferation of bring-your-own-device (BYOD), where employees are now making decisions about which hardware and software they find to be most effective for getting their job done. Employees using their personal devices to double as their work smartphone is something startups like bigtincan, CloudOn, and Openera have already sought to tackle with their management and collaboration apps. Another trend the company wants to address is helping enterprises answer the questions of how does a company build its values and culture with teams that are now spread out across geographies, introducing different preferences for when and where they prefer to work.
When asked if the company was looking to venture into the project and task management space already crowded with startups like Asana, Wrike, Trello, and Basecamp, Srivastava responded saying that Tomfoolery’s focus was more around building the social culture around work. “Our focus really is the team culture that is formed between tasks and meetings and documents, all those work pieces or work objects. Real team culture is formed in the conversations that happen between all of those,” Srivastava added. “And that’s really what we’re [focused] on enabling, allowing people to form those linkages, those social relationships, around the actual work.”
Whether that means the stealth startup will be launching an internal social network along the lines of Yammer, productivity update software like 15Five and iDoneThis, or building an internal knowledge base like Crowdbase, all remains to be seen. However with a team that has a history of building tools that have now entered the consumer mainstream and strong backing from investors, whatever the company launches will likely be worth a look.