Atomicwork raises $11M to add AI to employee experience

Fast-growing companies may excel at serving their customers, but what about the employee experience? As business evolves rapidly, it becomes increasingly complex and once-simple processes often spiral out of control; managers roll out software to fix the problem, but that requires employees to contend with a plethora of new tools simply to get their jobs done.

That’s the problem San Francisco-based start-up Atomicwork hopes to address. The company, founded 12 months ago, today announces an $11 million initial funding round in an effort to commercialize the software-as-a-service solution it developed.

We need to find a way to streamline these processes and tools so that people can focus on the work they are supposed to be doing, says Vijay Rayapati, the company’s CEO and co-founder. The issue is particularly acute, he argues, as organizations think about new working models in the post-pandemic experience. The hybrid approach that so many organizations are taking to working from home versus working in the office adds to the complexity of the processes.

The Atomicworks solution is one tool that effectively combines all the other tools employees currently need to work with. The software works within the platform your staff is currently most comfortable working on, such as Slack, Microsoft Teams or email, and then connects to any other software packages they use. The idea is that whatever task they have to perform or question they have to answer, they will have to use only one tool.

Also powered by generative AI, the Atomicworks workplace assistant, which it dubbed Atom, is designed to allow employees to interact with it in more natural ways than traditional software. Atom learns from business processes and tribal knowledge to assist employees with their questions and requests without human intervention,” explains Rayapati.

This is an innovation in a field in which many organizations are showing a keen interest, with spend on employee experience now running into the hundreds of millions each year. Research published by Harvard Business Review earlier this year suggested that the perfect technology to reduce everyday employee friction should be one of the top five priorities for employers focused on improving the employee experience. A typical company uses more than 1,000 different applications, HBR noted, but less than a third of them are able to communicate with each other.

Such discoveries are music to Atomicworks’ ears. Companies simply haven’t made it easier for their employees, says Rayapati. Employees are still far from being considered internal customers by support teams due to the arbitrary boundaries between the back office and the rest of the company, she says. They implement too many focused solutions and complex processes, resulting in lost productivity and unnecessary friction.

The even greater danger, potentially fatal for companies growing rapidly in highly competitive markets like technology, is that employee frustration will lead to recruitment and retention problems. Such companies may simply not be able to retain their best employees.

That said, Atomicworks’ innovation has not yet been commercially proven. The company has spent the last year developing its conversational AI software alongside about 20 early adopters testing its various iterations. The company is now ready to start selling the software, but will face stiff competition from existing players in the market, including some big names. IT giant ServiceNow, for example, targets similar customers.

However, Atomicworks’ investors are convinced that its technology provides a competitive point of difference in the employee experience market. Today’s seed round is led by Blume Ventures and Matrix Partners, with participation from Storm Ventures, Neon Fund and a variety of angel investors.

The issue of employee support and experience requires innovation, says Pranay Desai, executive at Matrix Partners. This is an experienced team who know how to build world-class products.

At Blume, meanwhile, partner Sanjay Nath also believes Atomicwork can hold its own against some big-name competitors. We are very excited to invest in this transformational space and to support Atomicwork as it reshapes the future of employee experience and success.

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