Why we invested in Wrangle
We’re excited to announce that Eniac Ventures has backed Wrangle. We led the startup’s recent $2 million pre-seed round alongside our friends at Bloomberg Beta, with funding also coming from Liquid 2 Ventures, Hustle Fund, and more than 20 angels.
This isn’t our first investment in “the future of work” — we’ve backed startups like FortressIQ (a company focused on robotic process automation, or RPA) and Eden Workplace (a marketplace for SaaS products helping to smooth the transition to hybrid labor).
But it’s a broad category, encompassing everything from business process automation and productivity tools to the physical transformation of workspaces and the evolution of the technology stack required to support this transition. Key elements of our future of work thesis include the ongoing digitization of legacy industries, increased software adoption, and a surge in remote labor, which have all fueled growth in the industry already.
The advent of COVID-19 has no doubt accelerated the need for solutions that address changing labor demands, as social distancing mandates have led to a surge in remote work and a renewed sense of urgency around building the products and tools that are necessary to facilitate business continuity. A 2021 study by McKinsey, predicted that 20–25% of workers in advanced economies and 10% in emerging economies could work from home 3–5 days a week moving forward.
As new variants have continued to emerge, and with them uncertainty around the potential for additional lockdowns, fully remote teams and hybrid work models have become more widely accepted for office-based labor. In a survey conducted by FlexJobs’ between July and August of 2021, 58% of respondents reported that they’d like to work remotely while 39% indicated that they would prefer some sort of hybrid. Not surprisingly, employers are also feeling increasing pressure to offer remote work/hybrid options as they navigate supply-constrained talent markets. In another survey by FlexJobs, 58% of respondents said they would seek other employment if they could not continue to work remotely.
With unemployment at 3.9% at the end of December 2021 and new job opportunities being added to the market rapidly, employers are well incentivized to fulfill employee demands.
However, for organizations converting to remote/hybrid or up-leveling their current processes, the transition away from in-person labor faces significant friction, as workflows that traditionally relied on in-person interaction are displaced by alternatives that introduce new communication challenges around processes and management. This is part of the reason we are so excited about the business process automation space and why we see tremendous opportunity for new products there.
The global productivity tools and business process automation (“BPM”) market has grown steadily in recent years due to its potential to increase output and optimize costs for organizations. According to Slack’s S-1, a typical enterprise today uses over 1,000 cloud services as companies increasingly look for software that automates repetitive or error-prone work. It makes sense, then, that 73% of organization’s surveyed in a report by Signavio indicated that they had an increased interest in BPM. Companies that were formerly less open to embracing new technology have now been forced to adopt it in the absence of easy in-person communication and are realizing that when processes work well, they can significantly reduce friction as well as serve as a cleaner system of record for assignments, tasks, projects, and more.
However, and perhaps somewhat ironically, the proliferation of so many disparate tools has also severely complicated execution, resulting in information silos that make transparency and reporting difficult. The friction created from having to toggle across different mediums of communication such as email, chat and CRM systems slows down workflows and negatively impacts efficiency.
This is why the team at Wrangle decided to create a solution that helps organizations to minimize context switching by allowing them to handle requests at the source. Wrangle integrates directly into core communication channels, where users can then utilize the company’s no-code workflow builder to create custom processes that help to automate task and project management. Currently the product is live with Slack where users can type “/workflow” or “/wrangle” to initiate a workflow or generate new ones via a simple intake form.
In addition to minimizing context-switching, the workflow tool also significantly helps to reduce clutter within Slack channels with automation that updates tasks when approved or rejected, without generating new line items. Users can also use the tool as a built-in to-do list to see all the workflows they’re a part of across channels in one place, or as a system of record that can be exported to document workflow history for analytics needs.
Wrangle was founded by Adam Smith and Adam Long. The two UNC alum met over a decade ago and previously worked together at Automated Insights (“Ai”), a natural language generation company. Both have been early hires at startups where they’ve scaled teams and endured growing pains as their organizations got larger.
The Adams were inspired to build a solution that would better serve the needs of both startups and later stage companies that are focused on optimizing processes. When we met Adam and Adam, we were immediately impressed by their thoughtfulness and strategy around the product as well as their long-term vision for expanding the company. We’re thrilled to partner with them and the growing team at Wrangle.