Feeling Disconnected from your Remote Team? Stanford Students’ Startup Nooks Raises $5M to Build a More Human Way to Work
PALO ALTO, Calif., July 14, 2021-- Nooks, a better place for distributed teams to work, hang, and collaborate with the real-time human connection of working in the same room, announced the public launch of its virtual office solution. Nooks helps teams move faster by replacing hours of unproductive meetings and overwhelming chat notifications with fluid, spontaneous conversations. In beta for the past year, Nooks has thousands of users including Workato, Embroker, and Stanford University. Their $5 million seed round was led by Tola Capital with Floodgate and investment from other backers including Julia and Kevin Hartz, CEO & chairman of Eventbrite; and Julia Lipton, founder of Awesome People Ventures.
“We’re solving a sociology problem, not just a technology problem. In our hasty transition to remote work, we forgot about the human elements of working together,” said Daniel Lee, the CEO and co-founder of Nooks. “Remember when we could just have normal conversations that weren’t scheduled? You could just turn your head and share an idea or ask a question. Nooks brings that magic online.”
Nooks spurs creative collaboration with customizable rooms for drop-in conversations, coworking spaces, project rooms, hangouts, and more - all under one virtual roof. Nooks users can see where everyone is at any given moment, and talking with a teammate is always one click away. In their Nooks office, teams set up rooms for dedicated projects where individuals gather to work towards a specific goal, such as launching a new feature. They can keep relevant analytics dashboards, project management tools, and other workplace apps in the room to align the team and enable easy collaboration. Nooks has integrations with popular tools such as Slack, Confluence, Jira, Github, Notion, Asana, Google Docs, Figma, Mixpanel, and many more.
“Remote and hybrid work are here to stay, and Nooks provides a virtual place where teams can collaborate and thrive together. We're pleased to partner with the Nooks team to support its vision of bringing back more natural human interaction and fun to everyone's work life. At Tola, we have both a physical and a Nooks office and our team loves having both ways to connect,” said Sheila Gulati, Managing Director of Tola Capital.
Nooks was born from Lee and his co-founders’ experiences working at startups and studying computer science at Stanford University. With the shift to remote, the culture and productivity of these organizations took a hit. Fed up with terrible collaboration software from the 2000s, hours of scheduled video meetings, and a battery of messages, these young entrepreneurs took a new approach, focused on creating real-time human connection. Nooks found rapid early adoption at Stanford and at fast-moving startup teams, where people wanted to feel closely connected and part of a larger community.
“In our department, online learning is a fluid mix of classwork, study groups, office hours, team projects, and other activities,” said John Mitchell, professor of computer science and chair of the department at Stanford University. “Nooks has provided classes and student groups with a virtual place to make learning and working together online more engaging, more productive, and even more human.”
Great things happen in the right place at the right time for both the classroom and the office, which is why Nooks offers informal spaces that encourage colleagues and classmates to naturally come together.
“At Workato, we have an authentic, strong company culture, built on meaningful relationships and a great employee experience," said Vijay Tella, CEO of Workato. "Nooks is an exciting new way for our team members to bond and make real, lasting connections while working remotely, which has been a key factor in our growth and success.”
Nooks users report that fluid communication like ad-hoc conversations and coworking sessions help their teams build trust and move faster.
"Nooks totally changed my calendar. All the back-to-back meetings are gone, because we just sorted things out with a quick, impromptu chat in Nooks," said Chris Neil, Vice President at Embroker. “With a calendar full of structured meetings, it was hard to informally connect with people. Now, I can hop into one of our popular rooms, like the cozy cabin, and people can ask me questions. It’s like running into someone in the kitchen at work.”
Nooks is highly customizable and allows teams to develop their own Nooks offices that promote their culture and boost their productivity. Some favorites include:
• Project Rooms: Teams use a dedicated room to work towards a specific goal, like a product launch. Jira boards, analytics dashboards, and shared docs stay in the room, keeping the team aligned to ship a great product.
• Coworking Spaces: Peers can hang together and stay connected while working. It’s easy to click and get a colleague’s attention, toss around an idea, or see what they’re working on.
• Virtual Sales Floors: Great teams celebrate wins, share learnings, and cheer each other on. Nooks provides leaderboards and fun ways to celebrate to build a high-energy camaraderie.
• Social Hangouts: Teams come together at the beach, the bar, the cozy cabin, or other fun environments to unwind, and build relationships with friends and coworkers. Pick the music playlist to set the mood and connect better with icebreakers and games in smaller dynamic groups.
• Interactive Events: Bring people together for all-hands, offsites, or presentations. During presentations, attendees can talk with their peers without disrupting the presenter. They can even talk 1-on-1 with a “whisper” feature.
Nooks is now available to the public. To get access, visit Nooks https://nooks.in/.
Nooks is a virtual office for distributed teams to work, hang, and collaborate with the real-time, human connection of working in the same room. It strengthens team culture, encourages impromptu collaboration, and provides customizable room environments, perfect for drop-in conversations, coworking spaces, project rooms, and hangouts. Founded in 2020, Nooks is headquartered in Palo Alto and backed by leading investors including Floodgate and Tola Capital. To learn more, visit https://www.nooks.in/.
Linden Kohtz, CommStrat for Nooks
Jessica Cheney, CommStrat for Nooks
Venture Capital Database