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.

Subscribe to our newsletter to catch every headline.

Spinn Raises $20M For a More Sustainable Home-Brewed Coffee

Bernard Mendez
Bernard Mendez is an editorial intern at dot.LA. He attends UCLA, where he is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in applied mathematics. Mendez was previously an editor at the Daily Bruin, the student newspaper at UCLA.

One Los Angeles-based coffee startup is hoping to put a new spin on at-home coffee making.

Spinn makes a coffee brewing machine that uses a unique "centrifuge process" and offers coffees from a variety of vendors — without relying on wasteful packaging that its competitors use.

Read more Show less

Olympics Numbers Are Down for NBC, But the Games Have Just Begun for Peacock

Sam Blake

Sam primarily covers entertainment and media for dot.LA. Previously he was Marjorie Deane Fellow at The Economist, where he wrote for the business and finance sections of the print edition. He has also worked at the XPRIZE Foundation, U.S. Government Accountability Office, KCRW, and MLB Advanced Media (now Disney Streaming Services). He holds an MBA from UCLA Anderson, an MPP from UCLA Luskin and a BA in History from University of Michigan. Email him at samblake@dot.LA and find him on Twitter @hisamblake

Cynics are having a field day with the tepid audience that watched Friday's Olympics opening ceremony on NBC.

The data show a 36% decline from the 2016 Games across all NBC's platforms, which include its linear TV channel, Peacock and NBC Sports digital.

On the other hand, the network said Saturday brought Peacock record viewership.

Read more Show less
https://twitter.com/hisamblake
samblake@dot.la

'It's So Prevalent': A Labor Rep on Gaming's Culture of Harassment and Discrimination

Sam Blake

Sam primarily covers entertainment and media for dot.LA. Previously he was Marjorie Deane Fellow at The Economist, where he wrote for the business and finance sections of the print edition. He has also worked at the XPRIZE Foundation, U.S. Government Accountability Office, KCRW, and MLB Advanced Media (now Disney Streaming Services). He holds an MBA from UCLA Anderson, an MPP from UCLA Luskin and a BA in History from University of Michigan. Email him at samblake@dot.LA and find him on Twitter @hisamblake

When labor organizer Emma Kinema saw a tweet pop up on her feed saying that California is suing Activision Blizzard for workplace harassment, she said she felt heartened.

To her recollection, it's the first time such a large state agency has targeted a big player in gaming to try to fix a toxic culture problem that has plagued the industry for years. But it wasn't surprising to Kinema. For over five years, she's been working with the Communications Workers of America to organize gaming workers and calls this type of discriminatory culture "pervasive."

Read more Show less
https://twitter.com/hisamblake
samblake@dot.la
RELATEDEDITOR'S PICKS

Trending