Tango Raises $5.7M to Solve Companies' Productivity Problems

Caitlin Cook
Caitlin Cook is an editorial intern at dot.LA, currently earning her master's degree in mass communication from California State University, Northridge. A devoted multimedia journalist with an interest in both tech and entertainment, Cook also works as a reporter and production assistant for MUSE TV. She got her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Filmmaking from University of North Carolina School of the Arts.
Tango Raises $5.7M to Solve Companies' Productivity Problems

It is a frustrating but not uncommon issue in the workplace: an employee approaches a task, but they are unsure of how to complete it. Maybe they're a new hire who hasn't been shown how, or they haven't done the task in a while.

The problem's bigger than you might think. Workers spend nearly 20% of their work week seeking help in performing specific tasks, according to a report from McKinsey Global Institute. That's a huge concern for workplace productivity.

Tango, a Los Angeles-based startup, aims to offer a solution by making it easy to create how-to guides as a resource for employees. The company, which brands itself as a "workflow intelligence platform," raised a $5.7 million seed round this week. It had previously been bootstrapped by its founders.

Wing Venture Capital led the round, with General Catalyst, GSV Ventures, Outsiders Fund, Red Sea Ventures and a number of angel investors also participating.

Tango sees an opening as tech companies become more reliant on a growing number of software-as-a-service companies to improve their workflow.

Tango co-founders, from left, Dan Giovacchini, Ken Babcock and Brian Shultz

Users can use Tango's browser extension to record their screens as they demonstrate how to complete a task. As the application records, it also automatically creates a how-to guide, complete with screenshots.

Once the recording is complete, Tango allows users to edit the guide if needed. The user is then left with a video and a guide that can then be exported as a PDF or converted into code for embedding on webpages and wikis, allowing companies flexibility in how employees can access the guides.

Because it's a browser extension, Tango currently only supports applications within browsers. However, it plans to develop a product that goes beyond the browser.

Tango's three co-founders, Ken Babcock, Dan Giovacchini and Brian Shultz, are all former Harvard Business School students who dropped out in March 2020 to start the company, which has grown from three to 13 employees since its founding.

The initial idea for Tango was fairly different; it had the working title of "Twitch for work" and revolved around the idea of watching a company's highest performers while they work. Babcock, who is the CEO, said the mission of the company that evolved from this idea is represented well by its name.

"A lot of our founding story is kind of rooted in this idea of mentorship," Babcock said. "I think what we liked about 'Tango' is, you say tango, people are always like, 'Oh, it takes two to tango!' It's a dance where someone is leading and someone is following."

Other companies have tried to make the creation of tutorials simpler, including Camtasia, which aids in the creation of video tutorials specifically. Documentation tools such as Bit.ai have been helping companies create tutorials for software for years. Still, Babcock said he doesn't feel that Tango has any direct competitors.

"We felt that a step-by-step how-to guide actually would have several advantages over video: cutting through the fluff, the ability to follow at your own pace, and from the creator's perspective, fewer re-dos and awkward pauses," said Babcock. "These capabilities really differentiate Tango from every other technology [available]."

Tango is not expected to officially launch until September, but a few companies have already been using its system as pilot customers, including real estate service Bungalow and recruiting platform Dover. Babcock said the departments that could benefit most from a product like Tango are customer success and sales enablement.

With the new round, Tango plans to hire, execute a product-led growth strategy and build upon their customer support functions. Also on the roadmap is expanding the product to offer more services; what those services will be is currently unclear, but Babcock said the company is far from its limit.

"The initial product is about saving people time and creating documentation," said Babcock. "Once you have organizations using Tango, creating workflows, sharing them internally, you unlock a really rich data set about how people are working, what those best practices are, who might need help. The future state of Tango, the way we think about it, is a coaching platform."

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Is Airbnb’s New Push To Expand Short-Term Rentals Enough for Hosts To Combat LA’s City Policy?

Amrita Khalid
Amrita Khalid is a tech journalist based in Los Angeles, and has written for Quartz, The Daily Dot, Engadget, Inc. Magazine and number of other publications. She got her start in Washington, D.C., covering Congress for CQ-Roll Call. You can send tips or pitches to amrita@dot.la or reach out to her on Twitter at @askhalid.
LA house

L.A.’s lax enforcement of Airbnbs has led to an surge of illegal short-term rentals — even four years after the city passed a regulation to crack down on such practices. But what if hosts lived in a building that welcomed Airbnb guests and short-term rentals?

That’s the idea behind Airbnb’s new push to expand short-term rental offerings. The company is partnering with a number of corporate landlords that agreed to offer “Airbnb-friendly” apartment buildings, reported The Wall Street Journal last week. According to the report, the new service will feature more than 175 buildings managed by Equity Residential, Greystar Real Estate Partners LLC and 10 other companies that have agreed to clear more than 175 properties nationwide for short-term rentals.

But prospective hosts in Los Angeles who decide to rent apartments from Airbnb’s list of more than a dozen “friendly” buildings in the city likely won’t earn enough to break even due to a combination of high rents, taxes and city restrictions on short-term rentals. Rents on one-bedroom apartments in most of the partnered buildings listed soared well over $3,000 a month. Only a few studios were available under the $2,000 price range. If a host were to rent a one bedroom apartment with a monthly rent of $2,635 (which amounts to $31,656 annually), they would have to charge well over the $194 average price per night for Los Angeles (which amounts to $23,280 per year) according to analytics platform AllTheRooms.

Either way, residents who rent one of these Airbnb friendly apartments still have to apply for a permit through the City of Los Angeles in order to host on Airbnb.

“[..Airbnb-friendly buildings] seems like a good initiative. However, from a quick look, it seems that given the rent, Airbnb revenue wouldn’t be enough to cover all expenses if the host follows the city’s policy,” says Davide Proserpio, assistant professor of marketing at the USC Marshall School of Business.

In addition, since L.A.’s 120-day cap on short-term rentals still applies to the buildings on Airbnb’s listing platform, that greatly limits the number of longer-term guests a resident can host. Not to mention, some of the buildings that Airbnb lists have even shorter limits – The Milano Lofts in DTLA for example only allows residents to host 90 nights a year.

Airbnb’s calculations of host earnings may be greatly misleading as well, given that the estimate doesn’t include host expenses, taxes, cleaning fees or individual building restrictions. For example, Airbnb estimates that a resident of a $3,699 one bedroom apartment at the Vinz in Hollywood that hosts 7 nights a month can expect $1,108 a month in revenue if they host year-round. But the Vinz only allows hosts to rent 90 days a year, which greatly limits the potential for subletters and a consistent income stream.

Keep in mind too that since the apartment will have to serve as the host’s “primary residence”, hosts will have to live there six months out of the year. All of which is to say, it’s unclear how renting an apartment in an “Airbnb-friendly” building makes hosting easier — especially in a city where illegal short-term rentals already seem to be the norm.


The Streamy Awards: The War Between Online Creators and Traditional Media Is Just Beginning

Kristin Snyder

Kristin Snyder is dot.LA's 2022/23 Editorial Fellow. She previously interned with Tiger Oak Media and led the arts section for UCLA's Daily Bruin.

tiktok influencers around a trophy ​
Andria Moore /Charli D'Amelio/Addison Rae/JiDion

Every year, the Streamy Awards, which is considered the top award show within the creator economy, reveals which creators are capturing the largest audiences. This past Sunday, the event, held at The Beverly Hilton, highlighted some of the biggest names in the influencer game, chief among them Mr. Beast and Charli D’Amelio. It had all the trappings of a traditional award show—extravagant gowns, quippy acceptance speeches and musical interludes. But, as TikTok creator Adam Rose told The Washington Post, the Streamys still lacks the legitimacy of traditional award shows.

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Slingshot Aerospace Is Expanding Its Network of Telescopes To Make Tracking Data Even More Accurate

Samson Amore

Samson Amore is a reporter for dot.LA. He holds a degree in journalism from Emerson College and previously covered technology and entertainment for TheWrap and reported on the SoCal startup scene for the Los Angeles Business Journal. Send tips or pitches to samsonamore@dot.la and find him on Twitter @Samsonamore.

Slingshot Aerospace Is Expanding Its Network of Telescopes To Make Tracking Data Even More Accurate
Photo: Slingshot Aerospace

Slingshot Aerospace, the El Segundo-based startup developing software for managing objects in space’s orbit, raised $40.9 million to build out its global network of sensors and recruit new customers both private and public.

The round was a follow-on to Slingshot’s $25 million Series A-1 raise in March.

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