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Humanyze raises $4M to help businesses better understand employee productivity

TechCrunch TechCrunch 5/05/2016 Frederic Lardinois

Humanyze, a company that helps businesses better understand how their employees spend their days at work, today announced that it has raised a $4 million Series A round led by Romulus Capital.

The company, which was spun out of the MIT Media Lab in 2010, provides businesses with a high-tech employee badge that includes a microphone, accelerometer and bluetooth connection that then allows them to gather data on their employees.

All of this sounds rather Orwellian, of course. I doubt most people really want the companies they work for to track them this way — even if it’s just during the workday. Humanyze, however, notes that it only provides managers with a dashboard on its “Wyze” online service that provides aggregate views and only the individuals have access to all of their data.

“Our chief product officer Michelle Bradbury, who was previously the head of product at Pentaho when they were acquired by Hitachi, worked very closely with all of our users, from front line employees to executives, to create a product that people would want, and need, to use every day,” Humanyze CEO Ben Waber tolds me and also noted that this “commitment to privacy and just generally doing the right thing with data has been core to our company from the beginning and will continue to be so moving forward.”

It’s worth noting that while the badge is Humanyze’s flagship product, it also offers a digital-only service that tracks other digital data and combines it with a company’s key performance indicators. Waber tells me this digital-only version already has 50,000 users on its platform.

Here is an example for how businesses can use Humanyze: Humanyze tells me that a large Fortune 50 company used its software to redesign its employee workspaces. It used tools like Wyze and the company’s badge to “improve business unit performance and achieve corporate real estate objectives, many of which are being measured for the first time.”

While all of this still make me feel a bit uneasy, it’s clear that businesses are pretty excited about the possibilities here. Waber says the company already has commitments for 10x the number it had last year and while the company is already profitable, all of the profits are reinvested into “enhancing reliability and scalability while still maintaining a runway.”

Indeed, Waber tells me that the company didn’t really have to raise at this point, but that the funding will give the company the ability to quickly hire on the engineering side so its technology can scale as it bring on new customers.

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