Haystack Is Putting All Your Teleworking Tools in One Place

Ben Bergman

Ben Bergman is the newsroom's senior finance reporter. Previously he was a senior business reporter and host at KPCC, a senior producer at Gimlet Media, a producer at NPR's Morning Edition, and produced two investigative documentaries for KCET. He has been a frequent on-air contributor to business coverage on NPR and Marketplace and has written for The New York Times and Columbia Journalism Review. Ben was a 2017-2018 Knight-Bagehot Fellow in Economic and Business Journalism at Columbia Business School. In his free time, he enjoys skiing, playing poker, and cheering on The Seattle Seahawks.

Betting that a considerable number of employees will be working remotely long after the pandemic ends, Haystack officially launched Tuesday to provide a centralized communications, HR and training hub for companies with more than 300 employees.

Its goal is to make big companies feel small.

Haystack centralizes all internal company information such as announcements, commonly viewed resources and employee profiles. It also integrates with the ever-growing list of apps companies employ – such as Slack, Workday, Confluence and Microsoft 365.

"The employee experience is broken," said co-founder and CEO Cameron Lindsay in a prepared statement announcing the launch. "The average employee switches between 30 plus different, disjointed internal applications to find mission-critical information, connect with co-workers to feel included in company culture or understand vital company policies and information."

The Santa Monica-based company has raised $8.2 million to fund its launch from Greycroft, Coatue Management, BoxGroup and Day One Ventures. Advisors and angel investors include prominent startup founders Biz Stone of Twitter, Marc Merril of Riot Games and Ari Mir of Clutter.

Even before its official launch, Nerdwallet, Chime Bank, MeUndies and Bungalow used the service.

"With the culture of remote work becoming more prevalent, the number of systems companies are required to use will increase and only exacerbate the feelings of isolation and confusion many employees are experiencing," Lindsay added.

Haystack Haystack's desktop interface

Competitors include Palo Alto-based AeroFS and Modyo, which is based in Santiago, Chile.

Haystack was created by Lindsay — a Southern California native who attended Stanford University and built employee-centric products at Cornerstone OnDemand — and CTO Haibo Zhao.

Zhao came from Snap Inc, where he ran the special forces product experience team.

Born and raised in a remote village in China, Zhao learned programming on his Nintendo NES so he could build games by himself rather than having to shell out money for game cartridges. He received his PhD in Computer Science from The University of Georgia before landing at Google and then Snap.

Last year's seed round valued Haystack at $26.19 million, according to Pitchbook.

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Behind Her Empire: Hitha Palepu on Women Founders and the 'True' Failure

Yasmin Nouri

Yasmin is the host of the "Behind Her Empire" podcast, focused on highlighting self-made women leaders and entrepreneurs and how they tackle their career, money, family and life.

Each episode covers their unique hero's journey and what it really takes to build an empire with key lessons learned along the way. The goal of the series is to empower you to see what's possible & inspire you to create financial freedom in your own life.

Rhoashan Pharmaceuticals CEO Hitha Palepu joins this this week's Behind Her Empire to talk about how she became an angel investor focused on women-founded businesses and her latest book, "We're Speaking: The Life Lessons of Kamala Harris."

Palepu is the daughter of immigrants who came to the U.S. from India. Her father lost his hearing when he was 10 years old. He got through school by lip reading; it wasn't until he arrived in the states he got his first hearing aid.

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Netflix Employees, Counterprotesters Clash in Tense Walk-Out Over Dave Chappelle Special

Samson Amore

Samson Amore is a reporter for dot.LA. He previously covered technology and entertainment for TheWrap and reported on the SoCal startup scene for the Los Angeles Business Journal. Samson is also a proud member of the Transgender Journalists Association. Send tips or pitches to samsonamore@dot.la and find him on Twitter at @Samsonamore. Pronouns: he/him

Dozens of Netflix employees and LGBTQ supporters walked out of the streaming giant's offices in Hollywood this morning in protest of comedian Dave Chappelle's incendiary new special "The Closer." They were met by a group of Chappelle supporters who carried signs like "jokes are funny" and things quickly turned tense.

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The Pandemic Was Good to Wine-Seller Winc, But There Are Big Challenges Ahead

Harrison Weber

Do you know something we should know about L.A. tech or venture capital? Reach out securely via Signal: +1 917 434 4978.

Harrison is dot.LA's senior finance reporter. They previously worked for Gizmodo, Fast Company, VentureBeat and Flipboard. Find them on Twitter: @harrisonweber. Send tips on L.A. deals to harrison@dot.la. Pronouns: they/them.

Buoyed by a surge in sales during the pandemic, Playa Vista-based wineseller Winc aims to raise as much as $92 million in a public debut that's anticipated this week.

The 10-year-old company expects to price its IPO between $14 and $16 per share and has applied to list on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol "WBEV."

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