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."
- Startups Are Getting Used to Remote Work. Their Funders Are Not ... ›
- How to Build Company Culture In a Work From Home World - dot.LA ›
Subscribe to our newsletter to catch every headline.
Pejman Nozad, a founding managing partner at Pear VC, joins this episode of LA Venture to discuss Pear VC's current initiatives, including its accelerator and fellowships. He's seen as one of the most successful angel investors in the area, and for good reason: he has made more than 300 investments in his lifetime.
"I'm a child of revolution and war and difficult times," said Nozad of his upbringing in Iran during the revolution.
Nozad went to college before dropping out. That's when his brother told him about his dream to go to America. After his brother was denied a visa multiple times, Nozad went himself to the embassy and got lucky; the woman in charge of the process liked him enough to approve him.
"When you're in [your] early twenties, you don't analyze much of the future. And then your risk-takers. I came to America in 1992 with $700 and I didn't speak any word of English," said Nozad.
Nozad went from working at a carwash, then a yogurt shop, to a (now famous) Persian rug store in Palo Alto. Many of his clients happened to be CEOs and venture capitalists; Nozad wanted to be part of that community.
"I was very lucky because I had access to people who normally nobody can see them, but I was hanging out with them at Sunday barbecues while selling carpets," said Nozad.
In his early days as an investor, Nozad bet on companies that included Dropbox and DoorDash. He said he took inspiration as a venture capitalist in lessons he learned from his time playing professional soccer in Iran.
"In soccer, you can score minute one, or you can score at minute 90. Both of them [are] one goal and you can win the game. So, when you go to fundraise, don't get disappointed if you hear a lot of nos, because the yes could be the last meeting after the whole two months," he said.
dot.LA Engagement Intern Joshua Letona contributed to this post.
- LA Venture: How M13's Anna Barber Puts Local Startups First ›
- Here Are Los Angeles' Top Venture Capitalists - dot.LA ›
In this episode of LA Venture, Julie Wroblewski talks about starting Magnify Ventures and helping modern families.
Wroblewski worked with Melinda French Gates to start Pivotal Ventures. For Wroblewski, it was her dream job as she got to lead venture capital investment strategy for five years. One of the focus areas at Pivotal was around caregiving innovation and American family homes.
Wroblewski cites a report from one of Magnify's partners that estimates the care economy at $648 billion in the United States, already larger than the pharmaceutical market. Wroblewski's fund is writing up to $2.5 million checks into companies that will transform life, work and care for modern families.
"I started to see what I thought was a very exciting and still overlooked category of investment in venture capital around the care economy, and family-focused technology and was also seeing a lot of flow and founders," said Wroblewski.
As an investor, she is particularly interested in tools like household optimization that help families be both more efficient and joyful. She also wants to let parents know they don't have to be experts. Technology can help give them access to what they need, when they need it.
"Technology is moving closer into our lives all the time and solving increasingly human, complex, difficult problems, including, how we care for and manage care for children and our loved ones--the things that are most personal to us," said Wroblewski.
"We've seen such a wave of technology innovation in the workplace. You know, we now use so many different tools to help increase our productivity at work, to improve our health and well being in some cases in the workplace," she added. "And I think we haven't yet seen the same sort of investment in innovation move into some areas of family life and household management. And so I think that that's going to change."
dot.LA Audience Engagement Intern Joshua Letona contributed to this post.